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What Does Legal Separation in California Mean?

If you no longer wish to live as a married couple in California, there are three ways to end your partnership. Annulment is one option, but it is available under only very limited circumstances such as if one spouse was already married when the wedding took place or if one spouse entered into the marriage under conditions of fraud.  Dissolution of marriage or divorce is another option and it will permanently end your marriage.  Legal separation is a third option.

Legal separation in California is not a final end to your marriage. You are still legally wed in the eyes of the law, and you are not free to get married to anyone else. Legal separation is not required before a divorce, but you can choose this option if you want to live independently from your spouse while not dissolving your marriage forever. An experienced Irvine, CA divorce lawyer can help with the process of legal separation in California and help you to determine if this option is right for you. Contact Brown & Charbonneau, LLP to learn more about separating or dissolving your marriage.

Seeking a Legal Separation in California

Legal separation in California is often an intermittent step before a couple divorces. While you do not have to go through a formal legal separation process, you may want to try out living independently before you commit to ending your marriage forever. Some people also opt for legal separation and never get divorced for religious or financial reasons.

A legal separation means that you live in different households. Property may be divided up, and one spouse may have to pay custody or support to the other during the time period when the separation is in effect.  A custody arrangement can also be part of the separation agreement. Parents can agree on a parenting plan and visitation time or a judge can make a decision on how custody should be shared while the parents are raising the child separately.

If you are confident you want to dissolve your marriage, then you have the option to proceed right to getting a divorce instead of seeking a legal separation in California. However, for some couples, legal separation is a better solution. If you legally separate and then you decide that you want to get back together, you do not need to be remarried. If you have divorced and you decide you want to get back together, you will need to get a new marriage license and go through the process of remarrying.

Some people will seek a legal separation while they wait for divorce because they need financial assistance or need to resolve issues related to custody and property. For example, if you and your spouse are living separately and your spouse is withholding the kids from you, a legal separation in California can protect your interests by putting a custody arrangement into place.

An experienced Irvine, CA divorce and family law attorney can assist you with deciding if you need a legal separation and can help you to take steps to live separately or permanently end your marriage. Call Brown & Charbonneau, LLP today to speak with a lawyer about your legal options.