What Is Legal Separation?

Legal separation won't dissolve your marriage in the eyes of the California courts, but there are still many advantages for filing a separation agreement. As a legal matter, a separation allows your attorneys to begin the process of marital and community property division during the mandatory six-month waiting period prior to the final divorce decree.

A legal separation also allows spouses to continue to take advantage of health care and tax benefits enjoyed by married couples. For long-term marriages where neither party expects to remarry, a separation may be an excellent option.

If divorce is not your ultimate objective, legal separation protects your rights throughout the marriage dissolution process.

Benefits of a Well-Drafted Legal Separation Agreement

The benefits of a separation agreement include:

  • You may retain certain benefits of a married couple, generally including health insurance benefits.
  • You can protect your rights in all matters relating to alimony, child custody and child support.
  • You may include provisions restricting access to joint checking, savings and credit card accounts.
  • You may protect yourself from any debt incurred by your spouse during the waiting period prior to your divorce becoming final.
  • Spousal support payments may be deducted from taxes only if the obligation is part of your separation agreement (or court order).
  • Your separation agreement may include specific items relating to mortgage payments, home maintenance and use.

What if my spouse is cheating? Does that have any impact?

(click below to play)


If you are separating from your spouse and are considering a divorce, contact us to learn more about the benefits of a legal separation and find out how we can help you draft a separation agreement that is right for you.