What Is The Difference Between Divorce And Legal Separation in California?

Divorce Is Final

Divorce is final and a way for a couple to put closure on a relationship that has weathered too many storms to continue. After mediation, arbitration, or litigation, couples will no longer be married. Their property will be separated, support will be decided, and if there are children, custody orders will start to take effect. Since a lot of time and thought goes into the final decision to divorce, couples should be absolutely certain that divorce is the right option for them.

If you’re unsure as to whether or not divorce is the right decision or if you want to make sure that there is nothing else that can be done, you might try filing for a legal separation. A legal separation is similar to a divorce in that you and your spouse will be apart; on your own you will be able to test out different visitation scenarios and divide your assets, but one big exception is that a legal separation is not considered final.

Legal separation is also different than a California divorce because:

• A legal separation will not change your marital status
• You will not be able to remarry while you are legally separated
• There is not a regional requirement, meaning that you can file for a legal separation no matter how long you have resided in California (Divorces in California require that you live in the state for a minimum of six months)
• Legal separations take effect immediately, whereas a divorce will take six months or longer

Reasons For Choosing Legal Separation Instead Of Divorce

While legal separation and divorce are similar and may eventually lead to the same outcome of dissolution of marriage, there are many reasons that couples opt for separation. The most common reason couples choose legal separation over divorce are:
• To allow the couple some time to see if a divorce is really what they want. It could be that after some time apart, reconciliation is possible. In this case, a legal separation will be more beneficial than a divorce. If this decision is made after the divorce has been finalized a good amount of money would have been unnecessarily spent on court and attorney fees
• To uphold religious beliefs
• To retain tax or military benefits
• To wait until they meet the residency requirement of living in the county for three months and the state of California for at least six months

Make Sure You Are Certain

While legal separation is not entirely final, it is a fact that most legal separations eventually result in divorce. If you are at all uncertain that divorce is the right decision, consider contacting one of the caring and knowledgeable attorneys from Bohm Wildish to help with all of your family law needs. Call 1-877-615-6620 to start getting the advice and assistance you need.