Know the Differences between Legal Separation and Divorce

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top Orange County divorce mediators; California Divorce MediatorsAre you contemplating a divorce? However, are you worried about the financial implications that come along with it? If the answer to these two questions are yes, then you might as well consider a legal separation. However, you might not be aware about what a legal separation is all about. So, here are a few broad guidelines based on which you would not only be able to decipher the differences between the two, you would also be able to take the best decision for yourself.

Whereas a divorce ends the arrangement of marriage between parties, the parties still remain married under the provisions of a legal separation. In clear and concise terms, a legal separation is orchestrated under a definite order of the court under which the responsibilities and rights of the couple are dictated while they are still legally married but living separately.

While, the parties can remarry following a divorce, remarriage is not an option when the parties are legally separated. Legal separations haven’t become too common yet. The provision could be substantially helpful if the couple decide to take a hiatus before they formally decide to annul their marriage. It is important to understand that legal separation also necessitates court proceedings and the court, akin to divorce proceedings, makes a decision on the following factors:

  1. The maintenance for separation: The court decides on the support required for the spouse and children, if applicable. However, the terminology might at times be different in order to differentiate it from that of a divorce. The requisite documents for getting separation maintenance are filed in the court by a legal practitioner through a process known as ‘motion pending litigation’. This decision affects the outcome of any divorce petition that might follow the legal separation.
  2. The decision for awarding the custody of the child.
  3. The provisions for visitation of the child.
  4. The provisions for dividing the property.

The decision to divide the property is taken by the court based on the financial situation of the partners and how the partners are related to the property.

The agreement to get a separation could play an instrumental role in safeguarding your interests till the point a decision is taken to file for a formal divorce. An increasing number of couples are resorting to legal separation as a viable option against a divorce.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”