What is a Legal Separation
For some, divorce is not the best option for ending the marital relationship. An alternative to divorce is petitioning the Court and obtaining a judgment for legal separation. Spouses may seek a legal separation for a variety of reasons including: religious beliefs, residency requirements, financial concerns or benefits such as health insurance. Note that a Petition for Legal Separation may be amended at a later time to a Petition for a Divorce, so long as certain criteria are met.
A legal separation does not legally terminate a marriage or a domestic partnership and one cannot remarry someone else. However, a legal separation does provide the parties with an opportunity to define their marital rights, debts, assets and so on. As with a divorce, when seeking a legal separation, you can ask the judge to make orders about custody and visitation, child support, spousal or partner support (alimony), division of debts, the division of your property and attorney fees and costs.
The same basic process used for a divorce is used for a legal separation.
Legal Separation Residency Requirements In California
For married couples to get a legal separation:
- Residency requirements to obtain a legal separation in California are less strict than those for divorce. For a legal separation, at least one party must be living in California at the time the petition is filed.
- Once enough time has passed to satisfy the residency requirement for a divorce, you can file an “amended petition” and ask the court for a divorce if you desire to do so.
For domestic partners to get a legal separation:
- For domestic partnerships registered in California, either partner may file for legal separation in California, even if neither of partner lives in California.
- For domestic partnerships not registered in California, either partner may file for legal separation in California if at least 1 partner is living in California.
Note that if you and your domestic partner do not live in California, the court may not be able to make orders about other issues like property and debt, partner support, or your children during a legal separation.
Let us help you
Retaining an experienced Los Angeles Family Law Attorney with experience in legal separation of marriages or domestic partnerships critical to ensure your interests are protected and all of the procedures required by the Court are adequately met.
To discuss your case, and learn more about protecting your rights and interests, contact the attorneys at The Law Offices of Atousa Saei A.P.L.C. by dialing (310) 855-3386.