Marriage has a massive impact on a person’s life. It alters several important aspects, such as finances, relationships, parenting that involves crucial decision-making. For many, building a family is a great accomplishment. However, it might not be the best thing for couples in some relationships to stick around, especially if it affects their emotional wellbeing.
What does one do if the marriage isn’t becoming a healthy relationship anymore, but spouses just aren’t ready to end it yet?
In many cases, when spouses feel the need to take a break from their marriage, they ask legal advice from their family lawyers. One of the things they can consider is filing for legal separation.
There are certain advantages and limitations in getting legally separated. Read on to find out more about it, what it stipulates, and how couples can benefit from it.
Learn more about the concept of legal separation in California family law. Contact the Law Offices of Leon F. Bennett for a comprehensive and highly personalized approach to family law matters.
What is Legal Separation?
Legal separation is a court procedure through which a legally married couple can formalize a “de facto” separation from their marriage while still staying legally married. It means that the spouses both agree to stop living together with some legal arrangements to benefit both parties. This arrangement is granted and obtained via a court order.
The legal separation must be filed with the civil registry by the authorized officials. Legal separation can only be applied for by any of the spouses legally entitled to it.
When To Apply For Legal Separation
If you are in a marriage that you wish to separate legally, you can file a case as long as it meets legal grounds. Whether you’re also filing for child custody, visitation rights, and other related matters, you can consequently file a legal separation case under the advice of your family lawyer.
Why Couples File For Legal Separation
The spouses wanting to file for legal separation have various reasons that depend on the circumstances of the marriage. Some choose to go through the process to have the option of living a separate life without being tied down by a non-fulfilling marriage. Others do it because they want to avoid a potentially messy divorce, where one partner could contest the divisio
n of assets and liabilities. Many spouses even have a solid professional and financial relationship with their partners, and simply wish to enjoy peace of mind without a personal connection.
Overall, spouses decide to separate because of conflicting goals. Sometimes, staying in a marriage may worsen the status of the relationship and affect the entire family if they continue to neglect their issues together.
The Pros and Cons of Legal Separation
An unhappy marriage that leaves couples feeling stuck can lead them to decide filing for legal separation while considering the pros and cons.
So, if it is in your best interest to separate from your spouse, can you get any legal benefit from it?
As you’ll soon discover, if you have a good reason for wanting a legal separation, then you can certainly use it to your advantage.
If you and your spouse ever decide to remarry, you can simply file for a divorce again. As long as you can prove that you were both trying to keep the marriage alive, and didn’t want to see it end, then you can use your separation as grounds for a divorce. This will give you all of the leverage that you need to get what you want in a divorce.
While there are advantages to a legal separation, there are also several disadvantages to the practice. Among these include having to pay all of the child support and other bills associated with a possible divorce, which can be a strain on already overstressed budgets. A change in the standard of living is also possible after a couple decides to separate.
Legal Separation vs. Divorce
While living in separate residences is the primary advantage of legal separation, it does not provide all the benefits offered by a divorce.
The first thing that you need to ask yourself before undertaking a legal separation case with your spouse is whether or not you want to remarry at all. With a legal separation, you are not legally allowed to remarry. It can only be possible with divorce or annulment.
Once you have your legal separation granted, what happens is the couple can officially stop living together, unless you want a brief separation (which is still considered as separation in some states). In this case, you can still get along with your ex-spouse a little bit better and may even have to try and keep your friendship alive. This isn’t always easy, but it can be done. You can even use legal separation as a way of preventing a divorce altogether, depending on your goals as a couple.
What Are The Benefits of Legal Separation in California?
In California, the court determines the spouses’ rights and responsibilities entailed in a legal separation agreement. Legally, couples will be allowed to live separately with two other primary benefits:
- Separation of finances
- Managing the custody and support of any children
- Possible retainment health and life insurance benefits
Filing a legal separation case in California involves the standard process of a petition and paying for required fees.
For the court to properly assess the couple’s marriage situation, spouses are required to submit several legal documents, including their finances. They need to disclose pertinent information to help them achieve a desirable arrangement in a legal separation agreement.
What Are The Grounds for Legal Separation?
The California law states the following as grounds for legal separation:
- Incurable insanity
- Irreconcilable differences, causing the irremediable breakdown of the marriage
Is Legal Separation a Requirement in Divorce?
In California, the court does not require couples to file for a legal separation to file for a divorce. However, there is a 6-month “cooling off” period before a divorce is processed from the time the petition is served.
Get expert legal advice from the best family lawyers specializing in legal separation in California. Law Offices of Leon F. Bennett provides efficient and effective Family Law services throughout Southern California for over 35 years that satisfy you and your family’s goals. Visit us here today to request a consultation!