Bay Area, CA- Sometimes couples face difficulties that warrant a separation. They may not be ready to go as far as divorce, but they need to take a break from their spouse and think about the future of their marriage. A legal separation may be a good option for a couple when they aren’t ready for divorce. USAttorneys will discuss some of the differences of between legal separation and divorce in California and explain how each arrangement can impact a final divorce settlement.
A legal separation in California is a temporary arrangement that gives a couple the personal space to work through their problems. Under such an arrangement, a couple decides to live apart for an unspecified time, leaving the court to rule on how property, assets, and debts will be divided between each spouse. Courts also determine child custody and child support. A legal separation might be appropriate for a couple if they object to divorce for personal or religious reasons.
But some couples are confused about separation and their legal rights, so we wanted to explain the different arrangements. California divorce law does not require a couple to separate legally before they divorce, but they often do because it offers them legal protections until they reunite or file for divorce.
Some couples decide on a trail separation. This arrangement is not legally recognized which means during a couple’s trial separation any assets, debts or properties they accumulate are considered marital property in a divorce.
If a married couple separates and are “living apart,” they remain married, but there is the assumption that “living apart” is the precursor to divorce, and marital assets are treated differently. Assets accumulated during their separation are not considered community property and are considered separate from marital assets and debts.
A couple can separate long-term if they have reasons to delay or avoid divorce. Permanent separation often comes after a trial separation, but that is not always the case. If a couple permanently separates, assets and debts obtain during that time remain theirs and not subject to division during the divorce process. Assets considered necessary for the care of a couple’s child, or children or family home may be considered marital property.
If you and your estranged spouse would like to file for legal separation, we recommend you speak with a divorce lawyer in Bay Area to help with the filing the right documents and protecting your financial interests. With their advice, you will avoid the pitfalls of choosing the wrong type of separation. Let USAttorneys connect you with an experienced divorce attorney who is well-versed in California’s divorce laws.