If you and your spouse are experiencing a hard time and are considering ending your marriage, you may want to consider a legal separation instead of a divorce. A legal separation can help to create the space you and your spouse need. It can help you evaluate your relationship and help you both decide whether you want to stay together or separate for good.
Contact the Sachdev Legal Group, APC to speak with our skilled San Diego family law attorneys about your case.
We offer a free consultation and would be happy to explain the separation works and answer any questions that you might have. If you decide that separation is right for you, our legal team can help you navigate the process.
We’ll do everything we can to make everything as easy as possible for you and your family.
Your first consultation is free, so please give us a call to schedule yours today.
How Will a San Diego Family Law Attorney Help With My Separation?
Most people obtain a legal separation instead of a divorce because one or both partners are not sure if they want a divorce. They want time apart to figure things out but they’re not sure they want to take that final step. Another reason why couples choose a legal separation is that it shares many characteristics with a divorce.
For instance, a legal separation is court-approved and an official legal “pause” in a marriage or domestic partnership.
To become legally separated, a hearing is required and, once approved, it is made official by an official court judgment. With this in mind, a San Diego legal separation attorney can help guide you and your spouse through the entire legal separation process.
At the Sachdev Law Group, APC, our San Diego legal separation attorneys will work hard to achieve the best possible results for your family. Among other things, we can help you and your spouse:
- Understand the legal separation process in California.
- Understand the difference between a judgment of legal separation (date the separation is granted), and a date of separation (where one party requests that the couple be legally separated).
- Divide community property and debts and if you can’t decide how the marital estate shall be separated, they can offer advice.
- File a petition for legal separation if you’re the petitioner. Or, help you file a response if you’re the respondent.
- Exchange mandatory disclosures and resolve child custody and support issues.
Deciding to separate from your spouse or partner can be emotionally challenging and stressful. You might not know if you’re making the right decision. Our compassionate attorneys are here to help you in any way that we can. We’ll guide you through the process and make sure that you understand the implications of a separation. Give our San Diego law offices a call to schedule a free initial consultation today.
What is Legal Separation?
With a legal separation, you and your spouse make the decision to begin to move in different directions. Generally speaking, you decide to move into different homes. However, you can continue to live together, if that’s what’s best for your particular situation.
When you begin the separation process, you’ll be required to divide your finances and distribute your marital debts and assets. You may also be required to administer (or you may receive) spousal support.
Separation is Not Divorce
A legal separation is similar to a trial divorce and is mandated by court order. Although you are separated, you are still legally married. A legal separation enables couples who are having a difficult time figuring out what they want to do with their relationship.
Keep in mind that a legal separation creates space but it is not identical to a divorce. A legal separation means that you’re staying apart from your partner, but you are still legally married to them. Yes, you’re still legally married until you file for divorce and get an official divorce decree from a judge.
Implications of a Legal Separation
A legal separation allows you to separate your finances and attempt to live on your own. When you are legally separated, that can impact your life moving forward.
You will still have to state that you are married but legally separated on tax forms and other documents. It’s important to consider that Married Filing Separately is often much less advantageous than if you and your spouse filed a joint tax return. Certain state and federal tax benefits are only extended to couples who file joint returns. Filing separate returns could have some negative financial consequences for you and your family.
Since separation is not a formal divorce, there are no adverse consequences when it comes to California’s inheritance laws. If you die intestate – or without a will – your spouse can still inherit from you.
When a man and woman are married, those two individuals are presumed to be the parents to any children born during the course of that marriage. When you separate, it’s reasonable to believe that you might start dating and having relationships with someone new. If you’re a woman and have a child with this new partner, paternity can get tricky. Since you’re still married, the child is legally the child of your husband unless it can be proven otherwise.
When and Why You Might Want a Legal Separation
If you’re like many couples, you may wonder if you need a legal separation or a divorce. Honestly, it depends on you and your spouse and whether the relationship can be salvaged. Many couples have religious or moral values that do not authorize divorce, while others generally love each other and simply want time apart. So, for them, a legal separation enables them to keep their married status although they are living entirely separate lifestyles.
In some ways, a legal separation buys you time so you and your spouse can figure out what you both want. A legal separation enables a pair to figure out what they really want before they finalize their relationship. After all, it is a lot harder to undo a divorce (you’d have to get remarried) than it is to get a legal separation.
Legal separations can also be better for your kids when you stay married and not as painful and definitive as a divorce. In many cases, legal separation is needed to secure one or both parties’ rights or concerns, such as:
- Health Insurance – in cases where a divorce could lead to terminate the insurance benefits received by one partner
- Military Benefits – to avail USFSA benefits, or
- Visa/Permanent residency cases – to maintain visa status.
If you have questions about legal separation in California, please do not hesitate to call our San Diego family law attorneys. We’d be happy to discuss your case in greater detail and explain your rights and options.
Separation Often a Precursor to Divorce in San Diego
If you’ve decided that a divorce is right for you, you’ll have to go through a legal process to make it official. However, divorces in California aren’t granted right away. Instead, there’s a six month waiting period. Plus, one or both spouses has to satisfy certain residency requirements before the divorce can be filed with the court.
Many couples decide to do a trial separation during this six-month waiting period. That way they can get started on the process and see what a divorce might look and feel like.
Some states even require couples to separate and live apart before filing for a divorce. California, though, is not one of those states. Separation isn’t necessary – but can be helpful – before a divorce.
Benefits of Hiring a San Diego County Legal Separation Attorney
When you separate from your spouse, it’s not as simple as just moving into separate homes. You’ll have to divide your assets, property, and liabilities. That can be challenging, especially if things are heated and you don’t have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
A San Diego legal separation can help you figure out what may be the best course of action for your particular situation. A family law attorney can:
- Address the possible benefits and disadvantages of legal separation and divorce
- Counsel parties on their best options
- Clarify the processes and procedures needed to pursue the course of action selected.
- Evaluate the client’s relationship to see if legal separation is the best option
- Assist the couple with family law mediation services
- Help the couple understand California family law and legal proceedings
- Figure out visitation and child custody issues
- Device a property division strategy
- Request or challenge child support orders
- Assist with drafting of petitions, other legal documentation, and a separation agreement
- Help you file for divorce, if needed.
If you aren’t certain you’re going to get a divorce, legal separation is an option. Hiring a San Diego legal separation attorney will guide you through the process and help you understand the pros and cons of a legal separation.
Call Our San Diego Legal Separation Lawyers Today
If you and your spouse find yourself at a crossroads and you’re not sure what to do, a legal separation may be a viable option for you. The San Diego legal separation attorneys at the Sachdev Law Group, APC can offer advice and help you navigate this challenging time in your life.
We can assist with the division of assets, file for legal separation, or, when appropriate, help dissolve your marriage with a marriage termination petition. Give our San Diego law firm a call or reach out to us online to set up a free consultation and learn more.