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How Is Legal Separation Different from a Divorce?

Monday, June 01, 2015
How Is Legal Separation Different from a Divorce?

A legal separation is separate and different from a divorce in California. A legal separation allows individuals to live separately from each other, like in a divorce, but individuals are not free to marry other persons. A legal separation will not legally terminate the marriage like a divorce will.

Sometimes, couples prefer to use the legal separation route rather than divorce. There may be a number of reasons for this, and most of these tend to be personal. For instance, they may have religious beliefs that do not allow them to get divorce. There may also be health insurance concerns, and one person may be at risk of losing health insurance coverage in the event of a divorce. In such cases, the couple may choose to file for legal separation that will allow them some of the benefits of divorce, without attracting many of the disadvantages of a divorce.

Sometimes, couples file for legal separation, and follow that up with a divorce. That often happens in cases in which the couple has not lived in a certain California county for sufficient time to actually fight for divorce there. Under California law, you must have resided in the county in which you intend to file for divorce for at least three months. If you have not lived in that county for three months, then you can file for legal separation. You can then follow that up with a divorce filing, once you have actually met the domicile requirements.

For help filing for legal separation, and understanding how this will affect child custody, alimony, division of assets and other aspects related to a divorce if you choose to file for divorce later, speak to a Los Angeles family lawyer.


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