Should we consider a legal separation prior to divorce in San Diego? What is the primary difference between a legal separation and a divorce?
Did you know there is an important legal alternative during the process of ending a marriage in San Diego and across the State of California? It is known as a “legal separation” and provides many of the important legal services and decisions one would achieve in a divorce while preserving the underlying marriage for up to one calendar year. Both spouses in California must agree to the legal separation. If either disagrees, the case must be filed as a divorce action.
We are often asked: Why in the world should we consider a legal separation prior to a divorce in San Diego? Let’s just finish this and move on.
There are actually many important reasons to implement a legal separation prior to completing a divorce. One important example is an immediate health issue for one of the parties. In many cases the spouses share health care coverage (usually through the job of one of the spouses). If the spouse who is ill is not the primary patient on the health insurance plan coverage can and usually will immediately cease upon completion of the divorce. In these cases it is possible to separate the parties and resolve all of the details associated with the pending divorce without ending the marriage.
In other cases, you may wish to consider a legal separation prior to a divorce in San Diego in order to save a substantial amount of taxes and file jointly one more time prior to the divorce. You may have strong religious or moral beliefs about divorce, or believe a reconciliation is possible in your case. There are also important legal time frames such as the length of the underlying marriage (which affects spousal support) or qualification for specific benefits such as Social Security. It may be in your best interest to ensure the divorce is not completed until the health of a party is improved, you have reached the appropriate point in time or you are certain a reconciliation is not possible.
The process of a legal separation can resolve all issues associated with your divorce, including but not limited to:
- Division of property and assets
- Child custody and parenting time
- Disposition of a business interest
- Establishment of the need for, amount and duration of child and/or spousal support
- Division of retirement assets
However, you may not wish to consider a legal separation prior to a divorce in San Diego if you wish to remarry, or if you wish to sever all financial ties and obligations to and with your spouse.