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Can I Get Legally Separated in California?


Legal separation is not available in all states, but it IS an option in California. What is a legal separation and how is it different than divorce? A legal separation is a lot like a divorce. It addresses important issues, such as child custody, child support, spousal support, debt, and property division.

There is a key difference between a legal separation and a divorce: A couple that legally separates is not free to remarry. If a couple separated and someone wanted to remarry, their legal separation would have to be converted to a divorce.

Why Choose a Legal Separation?

As we mentioned above, there are many similarities between a legal separation and a divorce and legally, the effects are virtually the same. While legally-separated couples are free to date and move in with new significant others without any negative consequences, remarriage is impossible until a divorce is obtained.

“Why do couples decide to get a legal separation over a divorce?” is a question some people ask. The most common reasons for legal separations over divorces include:

  • The spouses have religious objections to divorcing.
  • The spouses aren’t sure if they want to divorce so they opt for a legal separation. This way, they can have time apart and decide which route they want to take.
  • One spouse is in poor health and they remain married so they can utilize their spouse’s health insurance.
  • The spouses want to wait until their children are older to officially divorce.

“When you get divorced or legally separated, the court makes decisions about how to divide the property that the spouses or domestic partners bought during the marriage. Even if you do not want to deal with these issues or if you divided your property informally when you separated, the court still needs to make a formal order about these issues.

“This does not mean that you have to go in front of a judge to decide these issues. Often, couples are able to divide their property (and their debts) by agreement. But when you get divorced, the judge has to sign off on that agreement,” according to the California Courts.

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If you’re interested in comparing legal separation to traditional divorce, contact Arnold Law Group, APC at (559) 900-1263 today.

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