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Upland Legal Separation Attorney

Difference Between LEgal Separation and Divorce in California

The primary difference between legal separation and divorce is that marital status remains intact even after a legal separation is made official.

Similar to dissolution of marriage, however, in a legal separation the court assesses such issues as child custody or visitation, child support, spousal support, division of the estate, and division of debts and attorney fees.

If a legal separation is obtained, neither spouse can remarry or enter into another partnership because their marital status will remain the same. Some couples choose to seek a legal separation in order to try time living on their own and dividing their assets as a way to ascertain if divorce is what they really want. Others choose legal separation rather than divorce for religious reasons, to keep tax or military benefits, or to reach the 10-year requirement for certain Social Security benefits.

Why choose separation?

Couples who have not lived in the country for three months and in the state of California for at least six months may also choose to pursue a legal separation until that time is reached because the law requires these thresholds as residency minimums before a divorce. There is no residency requirement for legal separation, and unlike divorce - which can take six months or more - legal separation can take place right away.

Statistics suggest that approximately 79% of all legal separations eventually end in divorce. For whatever reason you and your spouse have determined to become legally separated, the Upland divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Heidi H. Romeo, APLC is prepared to help guide you through the process.

Their goals are to strive for the simplest route possible while always being prepared to pursue further litigation if it is in the client's best interest; to let the client know that the personal details surrounding the case will remain confidential; and to ensure that the client is in the best possible position to move on with his or her life once the case is resolved.

How Do I File For A Legal Separation In California?

To file for a legal separation in California, you'll need to follow a specific legal process. Legal separation is a legal status that allows you and your spouse to live separately while still remaining legally married. It involves many of the same procedures as filing for divorce.

Here's a general overview of the steps to file for a legal separation in California:

  1. Meeting Residency Requirements: At least one spouse must have been a resident of California for at least six months prior to filing.
  2. Complete the Required Forms: Start by filling out the necessary legal forms to initiate the legal separation process. These forms can typically be obtained from your local courthouse or the California Courts website. The main form to complete is the Petition for Legal Separation (Form FL-100).
  3. File the Forms: File the completed forms with the clerk of the superior court in the county where you or your spouse currently reside. You will need to pay a filing fee, which can vary depending on the county.
  4. Serve the Documents: After filing, you must serve copies of the filed documents on your spouse. This process is known as "service of process." Service can be accomplished by personal delivery, certified mail, or through a process server. You must also provide your spouse with a blank Response to Petition for Legal Separation (Form FL-120).
  5. Response from Your Spouse: Your spouse has 30 days (if served in California) or 60 days (if served outside California) to respond to the Petition for Legal Separation by filing a Response to Petition for Legal Separation (Form FL-120).
  6. Financial Disclosures: Both you and your spouse are required to exchange financial information using the Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure (Form FL-140) and the Declaration of Disclosure (Form FL-141). This helps ensure that both parties have a clear understanding of each other's financial situation.
  7. Court Hearing: If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of your legal separation, you can request a court hearing to present your agreement for approval. If there are unresolved issues, such as property division or support, the court will address these during the hearing.
  8. Court Orders: If the court approves the legal separation, it will issue a judgment that outlines the terms of your legal separation, including property division, child custody and support, spousal support, and other relevant issues.
  9. Complete the Process: The legal separation is complete once the court issues the judgment. You will remain legally married but will be living separately.

It's important to consult with an attorney or seek legal advice to ensure that you complete the necessary paperwork correctly and meet all the legal requirements. Legal separation can be a complex legal process, and it's essential to understand its implications, especially regarding property and financial matters.

Are you considering legal separation in Upland, California?

A trusted attorney can help lead you through the legal challenges of separation and give you the support and advice you need to make the process as smooth as possible. With over 27 years of experience, Ms. Romeo at the Law Offices of Heidi H. Romeo, APLC has become adept at fostering strong relationships with many family law clients throughout the Inland Empire.

Call the firm today at (888) 880-8803 for a free case evaluation.

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