What is a legal separation?
A legal separation is a lawsuit against which gives the court the power to decide all issues related to your marriage. A legal separation is just like a divorce, except in the end of the lawsuit, you and your spouse are not divorced, and additional paperwork must be filed in order to become single.
What are the differences between a legal separation and a divorce?
There are several differences between a legal separation and a divorce in California. Most importantly, both spouses must agree to a legal separation and at the end of the lawsuit the parties are not granted a divorce.
Who should consider a legal separation?
A legal separation is appropriate if:
You need to remain married a specified number of years in order to obtain your spouse's Social Security benefits; You or your spouse has a medical issue which prevents one of you from obtaining medical insurance; You have not lived in either the state or the county long enough to file a divorce action; Divorce is against your religion and you never plan to remarry.
If I am not living with my spouse, don't I need to file for legal separation protect my asstets?
No, you need only be separated, you do not need to a formal court action for legal separation. Spouses can be separated and live in the same household, or they can be legally married and live apart. The definition of being separated is that one of the parties has decided that the marriage is over and has no hope of being repaired. If that is the case, any money earned and any debts acquired after that is separate.