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How is a legal separation in California different from divorce?

Sometimes a married couple in California needs to take a break from one another, but for a variety of reasons do not want to divorce. Legal separation may be the solution they are looking for, at least for a while. The following is some information on legal separation that couples in a rocky marriage may find useful.

How does legal separation differ from divorce?

Legal separation and divorce have one major difference. A legal separation does not legally end a marriage, meaning that the parties are not free to remarry while separated. A divorce does legally end a marriage, meaning that the parties are free to remarry upon the conclusion of their divorce. It is important to note that under certain circumstances you may be able to change a legal separation to a divorce later on. And, many legal issues that must be resolved in a divorce can become temporary orders in the legal separation.

Why might a couple choose separation over divorce?

There are a variety of reasons why a couple might choose legal separation over divorce. They may not be ready to divorce, but they still want to obtain a court order regarding financial issues, property division and parenting issues. Some people may follow a religion that does not permit divorce or they may have personal beliefs or financial issues that make a legal separation a better option than divorce. To get divorced in California you must meet residency requirements, but some couples will want to get the process of separating started.

What can be included in a separation order?

A separation order can address many of the same issues that will need to be resolved in a divorce. For example, a separation order can include provisions on child custody and visitation, how much will be paid in child support and spousal support, property division and who will pay which debts.

Learn more about legal separation in California

Legal separation may be an option for some California couples, but others will choose to simply divorce without first obtaining a legal separation. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on legal separation may be a useful resource for those interested in learning more about this important topic.