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When to Consider the Option to Legally Separate Before Your Divorce

On Behalf of | May 13, 2021 | Legal Separation

Should you legally separate before your divorce?  When should you consider a legal separation prior to or instead of a divorce in San Diego? The answer may simply be “health” or “money” and the mitigation of risk. It may also be as simple as “I am not ready to divorce, and we need some time apart to work through some issues and figure out what’s best.”

A legal separation in California leaves the marital status of the couple intact, preserving important health care and immigration options.

Many issues must be addressed in the same manner as a divorce including the division of community property, child custody and parenting time and a financial plan outlining which party will be responsible for paying each specific debt or obligation of the couple.

While legal separations are usually not permanent, many of the agreements associated with these issues become permanently memorialized in the divorce orders which may follow.

Under what types of circumstances would you consider the option to legally separate before your divorce?  The most common reasons are to allow for the filing of joint tax returns and to provide time apart to make sure the marriage is unreconcilable.  Another common reason is substantial health challenges and the need to maintain existing health insurance coverage.  Immigration issues may also be a reason to consider a legal separation.

A legal separation means the parties have not terminated the marriage or domestic partnership through a divorce, and therefore are not legally able to remarry. However, it preserves many rights and eligibilities relating to healthcare and immigration. It may provide necessary space during issues of domestic violence or alcohol & drug abuse.

The decision to legally separate before your divorce may also provide the time to meet California’s residency requirements. You are not able to get a divorce in California unless at least one of the spouses has lived in California for six months and resided in the county where the divorce will be filed for 3 months.

These issues can be legally quite complex and it is important to seek the sound advice and counsel of the Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq. Our partners have represented clients before Carlsbad Family Law Courts for decades.

Protect your own interests and contact us or call 760-389-3927 to schedule an appointment for a remote or socially distanced consultation with one of our experienced Certified Family Law Specialists.