Filing For Legal Separation In California
A proceeding for legal separation has the same general purpose as that for marital dissolution, except that a judgment of legal separation does not terminate the parties’ legal status. In California, legal separation does not have a residency requirement. This means that, unlike divorce, you do not have to establish six months of residency in the state. Nor do you have to establish three months of residency in the county where you file. There is no waiting period either, making the process much faster than filing for divorce.
Issues Addressed In A Legal Separation
Legal separation is essentially a device to determine and settle the spouses’ financial responsibilities to one another and to their minor children, as well as to determine child custody. A judgment of legal separation might be sought for religious reasons or other personal reasons, such as for the purpose of retaining certain spousal health or survivor benefits.
Spouses may seek a legal separation rather than dissolution in order to retain eligibility for medical insurance that a termination of the marriage would otherwise lose. Spouses may also file for legal separation and later amend the petition and response to request dissolution. This is done when the parties wish to divorce in California but have not yet satisfied the residence requirement.
After The Separation Process Is Completed
After a judgment of legal separation, the parties remain “married” in name only, without the rights and responsibilities that attach to marital status. They cannot remarry unless one spouse dies or they obtain a judgment of dissolution. The spouses can later obtain a dissolution.
A court cannot enter a judgment of legal separation unless both parties consent to it, except in default cases.