Generally, a legal separation action in California is filed by a person who wishes to stay married to his/her spouse but wants to resolve all other issues of the marriage such as characterization of properties as community or separate, division of properties and debts, child support , child custody, child visitations, spousal support, and etc. The main difference between a legal separation action and a divorce action (dissolution of marriage) in California is that unlike a divorce action when a legal separation action is complete, the spouses do not become single again. The spouses stay married to each other unless one of them does not agree with a legal separation and asks the Court for a divorce. Than at that point the Court will grant the dissolution of marriage and not a legal separation.
Another difference between the two actions is that the six months/three months Forum state/County residency requirement for filing a divorce action does not apply to an action for a legal separation. Thus the parties who do not satisfy the prerequisite minimum residency requirement of California Fam. C. 2320 can file for a legal separation and then when they meet the residency minimum requirement, they may amend the legal separation petition to petition for dissolution of marriage.
Different people have different reasons for choosing an action for legal separation rather than an action for divorce. For example, if one spouse is employed and the other is not and the unemployed spouse is covered by the employed spouses health insurance, then a divorce decree would terminate the non employee spouses insurance coverage while a legal separation order would not have such an effect. Another example is where the spouses do not want to obtain a divorce because of their religious beliefs.
Nezam & Associates is a boutique Los Angeles divorce and family law firm serving Los Angeles and Orange counties. If you have any questions regarding your divorce, please contact the Law Offices of Nezam & Associate, your Los Angeles divorce attorneys and let us help you and guide you through the difficult process of divorce.