Frank J. Prainito

Legal Separation in California

When we meet with a new client, they’re not always sure that they want to file for divorce. In many cases, they just want to know what their options are and what each choice means under California law. One of the options available to married couples is a legal separation.

Legal separation in California is a lot like divorce. There’s formal court paperwork to file. The court makes divisions of property and awards alimony if it’s appropriate. However, in a divorce, the court ends the bonds of matrimony and the legal relationship between the parties. This isn’t the case in a legal separation. In a legal separation in California, the couple remains married.

How it works

You can get a legal separation in California because of irreconcilable differences. There are forms to file and extra forms if there are minor children involved. The court then makes determinations about property divisions and child custody. The court hears all of the evidence and decides how California law applies to the case. Although it’s very similar to divorce, the case ends with separation. Neither party may enter into a new marriage because they’re still married.

Why pursue a legal separation?

There are a few different reasons that a person might want to pursue a legal separation. They might be frustrated with the situation at home but not completely convinced that it’s beyond repair. They may have left the marital home but need alimony for their support or for their children. It also might be an option where the parties believe they may be headed to divorce, and they don’t want to incur a second set of legal fees if they later decide to divorce. In cases where either spouse has a religious problem with an absolute divorce, a legal separation might be an appropriate alternative.

Work with a Family Law Attorney

If you’re considering a divorce or legal separation, we invite you to contact the family law attorneys at Hoover Krepelka. We’re happy to get to know you and your case and discuss all of your legal options. We hope to give each client the information that empowers them to make confident decisions about their case.

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