The Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce [California Family Code Section 2300 et. Seq.]

By: Wallin & Klarich

In some cases, a husband and wife want to be legally separated instead of divorced. Generally, the spouses are not looking to be divorced for religious or other personal reasons. In such cases, you need a qualified Orange County family lawyer who knows how a legal separation differs from a divorce.

Legal separation proceedings can be brought on the same grounds as divorce actions. However, unlike in a divorce, a judgment of legal separation does not terminate the marital status of the parties. In effect, the parties remain married in name only without the related rights and responsibilities that attach to marital status. Legal separation is an alternative to a divorce.

Sometimes spouses who have come to parting of the ways often seek a legal separation instead of a divorce because their religious faith prohibits from getting divorced. Other times, the spouses seek a legal separation instead of a divorce in order to retain eligibility for medical insurance that would otherwise be lost by a termination of the marriage.

Aside from terminating the marital status of the parties, a legal separation is very similar to a divorce. Like a divorce, in a legal separation the court makes final orders on support, child custody and visitation as well on the division of property and debts. Following a judgment of legal separation, the parties acquire no further community property and owe each other no spousal duties of care and support except as ordered by the court in the legal separation judgment.

It is important to note that following a judgment of legal separation, the court may grant a divorce judgment, terminating the parties marital status. A new petition for a divorce will have to be filed with the court.

If you want to file for legal separation or are seeking legal advice as to whether it is in your best interest to file for legal separation, Wallin & Klarich has experienced Orange County family lawyers who can help you. Call toll free at 888-749-7428 to speak with an attorney today.

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