When your marriage isn’t what you hoped that it would be, you may find yourself considering your options. Should you file for legal separation? Should you get divorced, or should you try to reconcile your differences? It can be difficult to know which path is the right one, especially with heightened emotions. The Law Office of Olga A. Koplik is here to provide you with legal advice if you choose to file for legal separation or divorce and we understand that you likely have a lot of questions about the process. In today’s post, we’ll review five of the most frequently asked questions about legal separation in California. Let’s take a look at them below.

California Legal Separation FAQs

What Is Legal Separation?

Although the process of filing for legal separation in California is similar to that of filing for divorce, the two are not the same. If you wish to be legally separated from your spouse, your assets and debts will be divided, but your marital status will not change. This means that you and your spouse will still be legally married while living your own separate lives. Similar to the divorce process, you and your spouse will have the opportunity to divide your assets, debts, and joint property while resolving support and custody matters. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on these matters, the Courts will intercede.

Are There Advantages of Legally Separating Versus Getting Divorced?

So, why would a couple choose legal separation over divorce? There are many reasons why separating may prove more beneficial for a couple and their children. First and foremost, legal separation in California allows you and your spouse the legal protection you need while you are taking time to determine whether or not you should remain married. It also allows individuals to preserve their marital status for healthcare benefits and for immigration status. In instances where divorce is prohibited by religious or personal beliefs, legal separation offers a viable means for a couple to effectively end their marriage without violating their beliefs.

What About the Kids and Shared Property?

Although legally separating from your spouse doesn’t have the same legal finality of divorce in terms of the status of your relationship, it affects many other matters as a divorce would. During the divorce process, you and your spouse have several decisions to make in terms of child custody, child support, and how to divide your joint assets. A legal separation accounts for all of these matters, following the same process as divorce for resolving these matters. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that the final judgment takes into account what is best for you and your children emotionally and financially.

What If We Decide to Get Divorced After All?

Often times, legal separation gives a couple the time and space they need to work through their differences. However, after legally separating for some time, there are many couples who decide they want to get divorced. In these cases, the pre-existing court orders related to child support, child custody, spousal support, and joint assets that were put into place during the legal separation can make the divorce process easier and faster. This is one of the biggest reasons why it may be beneficial to work with a family law attorney during your legal separation, as decisions made early on in the legal separation process can have a lasting effect if you and your spouse decide to get divorced in the end.

How Do I File for Legal Separation in California?

The process of filing for legal separation is very similar to filing for divorce in California — the proper documentation must be obtained, filled out, and filed with the Court to begin the process. While it might be tempting to represent yourself for your legal separation, there are a few reasons why it could be beneficial to hire an attorney for the job. Most importantly, you’ll have access to legal advice that can help you make the best decisions for yourself and your children. Additionally, a skilled family law attorney will have the experience and support staff to make sure that all of the legal paperwork related to your legal separation is filed properly and on time, streamlining the process and making it less stressful for you.

Seeking Legal Advice in Sacramento County?

Pursuing legal separation or divorce is not something that you should take lightly. There are many factors to consider that could affect your financial well-being and your children, if you have any. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help you navigate the process to make sure that all of your bases are covered. The Law Office of Olga A. Koplik is here to answer your questions about divorce and legal separation in California and we are here to provide you with sound legal advice when you need it most. Contact our Sacramento County law firm today.