At the SLG, we offer our family law clients in California seasoned counsel for assistance with all aspects of legal separation.

A divorce, or “dissolution” in California, is not the only means to end a marriage. There are myriad reasons why couples seek a legal separation, an alternative to marital dissolution that keeps the parties married in name only. For instance, couples may observe a religion that disapproves of divorce. Others might want to keep their spouses on a health insurance plan. Still others might want to retain the tax benefits of marriage.

While a legal separation is an alternative to a marital dissolution, it is nonetheless an adversarial proceeding involving the court. A legal separation requires judicially approved division of marital assets and resolution of issues related to child custody and visitation, child support, and spousal support. Thus, it is important to obtain the assistance of counsel to ensure that your concerns are adequately addressed and your legal rights protected as you progress through a legal separation. We strive to consider the particular needs of each client’s matter and to obtain a fair and equitable outcome for our clients, be it through litigation or negotiation and settlement.

When a final judgment of legal separation is entered by the court, parties no longer have the obligation to comply with marital rights and duties. The community property is divided and there is no accumulation of future community property or joint debt. Unless otherwise agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court, there is no obligation for spousal support. Legally separated spouses cannot remarry. However, certain benefits of marriage may be retained because the parties technically remain married in the eyes of the law.

Unlike dissolution of a marriage, there is no residency requirement to file for legal separation and a waiting period is not a precursor for obtaining a final judgment. Couples who do not meet the residency or jurisdictional requirements for divorce can file for legal separation and, upon satisfying residency requirements, may modify the petition into an action for dissolution.

Should you decide to dissolve your marriage at a future time, be it before or after you have obtained a final judgment, our firm will provide you with counsel and file the appropriate documents necessary to modify your legal separation.

At SLG, we will handle your legal separation matter with diligence and care. We will ensure that jurisdiction over your legal separation is proper, prepare and file the requisite paperwork, obtain a comprehensive picture of your marital estate, and work to either litigate or settle community property division, child support, child custody, and support issues as appropriate to your case. We make sure you understand the advantages and disadvantages associated with a legal separation so you can make decisions that are best for you and your family.