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?

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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.