For some couples, a legal separation may be preferable to a divorce. A couple may opt to legally separate for religious reasons or tax reasons, or in situations in which they may not be ready to make a final decision regarding a divorce. If you are contemplating taking this step, you should reach out to a skilled San Diego legal separation lawyer who can help you understand your rights and options. Family law attorney Roseline D. Feral understands that each marriage is unique and is committed to making sure that your individual needs are met.Pursuing a Legal Separation in California
A divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or another body. It is a final way to end a marriage. A legal separation, on the other hand, does not change one’s marital status. A legal separation is an alternative to a divorce that allows the couple to bring some closure to a relationship without completely ending the marriage. However, a legal separation should not be taken lightly because you still will need to deal with all of the formalities of a divorce.
Under California law, a legal separation may be filed on the same grounds as a divorce. Therefore, the most common basis for a legal separation is “irreconcilable differences,” which simply means that both parties agree that the marriage has broken down beyond repair. The other basis for a legal separation is “incurable insanity,” which requires professional medical or psychiatric testimony and evidence. Once the couple has decided on the ground on which they will separate, they should complete the FL-100 form and file it at the local county court. This form allows couples to indicate the reason why they are requesting a legal separation. A legal separation attorney can assist San Diego residents with completing the required paperwork.
Both spouses must agree to a legal separation. If one spouse does not agree, the process may end up as a divorce. Unlike a divorce, which has a mandatory six-month minimum waiting period in California, a legal separation may take place immediately. Additionally, there are no residency requirements as there are for divorce cases, meaning that you may file for legal separation no matter how long you have lived in the state. The process begins with both spouses filing a petition for legal separation.
A legal separation does not end the marriage but allows the parties to separate their finances, debts, and property. It also permits couples to make important decisions regarding custody, child support, and property division. A couple is free to make any agreement that they want as long as they both agree. The parties’ wishes may be documented in a separation agreement, which is a legally binding contract that deals with all of the aspects of their separation and is signed by both spouses. The separation agreement may be quite general, or it may be extremely detailed, depending on the circumstances of the marriage. In the event that the spouses cannot agree on important terms, the court has the power to decide and issue orders just as in a divorce proceeding.
It is important to note that since a legal separation does not end a marriage, you may not marry someone else while you are legally separated. In order to marry someone else, you would need to seek a formal divorce first.Consult a San Diego Lawyer When Contemplating a Legal Separation
A decision to pursue a legal separation is not always easy. If you and your spouse have decided to legally separate or are considering this option, you should take the time to discuss your situation with a San Diego legal separation attorney. Our firm understands that this is an emotional and uncertain time, and we will handle your case with diligence and care. We also represent people who need a divorce lawyer in Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista, among other cities. For more information about your legal rights and options, call our office at 619-232-1010 or reach Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191. You may also contact us online for a consultation.