Nobody ever enters a marriage with the mentality that it will someday come to an end. Unfortunately, married couples can sometimes grow so far apart in their values and desires that dissolving the marriage becomes necessary to foster each spouse’s long-term happiness. With that being said, a divorce may not be right for everyone. Depending on the circumstances, a legal separation may be the more appropriate option. But what exactly is the difference, and how can you know which option is best for you?
Legal Separation in California
A legal separation is a court action which declares that you and your spouse no longer live together and are financially independent from one another. It is an alternative to divorce that requires you and your spouse to go through the same process and sort out the same issues as a divorcing couple, including property division, child custody, spousal support, and more. A legal separation does everything but terminate your marital status.
A Legal Separation can provide Several Benefits
- It allows you and your spouse to separate without being subjected to the religious or moral stigma of a traditional divorce.
- It allows you and your spouse to maintain benefits such as health insurance coverage.
- It allows you to separate if neither you, nor your spouse, have fulfilled the residency requirements of divorce.
- It has a positive psychological effect, i.e. people who cannot accept the idea of divorce are typically more comfortable with a legal separation.
While the benefits may be many, there are also certain drawbacks to legal separation. Since you and your spouse will still be married to one another at its conclusion, you may not remarry anyone else. Along the same lines, inheritance rights will remain intact, meaning that if you or your spouse passes away, the other spouse will still have a right to all or part of the deceased spouse’s estate.