Nobody ever enters into their marriage with the expectation that it will one day come to an end. Unfortunately, as we all know, divorce is a very real possibility for many modern couples with roughly half of all marriages ending in divorce. If you and your spouse have decided to part ways, you may be wondering whether a divorce or a legal separation is right for you. But what exactly is the difference between these options?
Divorce vs. Legal Separation in CA
In simple terms, a legal separation is a court action which declares that you and your spouse are independent from one another and no longer live together. The process of obtaining a legal separation is in many ways identical to that of a divorce, involving the determination of issues such as child custody, spousal support, property division, and more. While a divorce will result in your marriage being officially dissolved, with a legal separation, you will still be legally married to your spouse. As such, you will still be able to enjoy many of the benefits associated with being a married couple, including:
- Insurance or retirement benefits
- Qualification for certain social security rules
- Filing joint tax returns
In addition to the financial benefits, a legal separation can allow couples the opportunity to attempt to salvage their marriage without the pressure of cohabitation. Likewise, spouses may also use legal separation as almost a divorce “trial period” to determine if a divorce is what they truly want. Spouses may also use a legal separation as a means of avoiding the religious or moral scrutiny associated with a traditional divorce.
Drawbacks of Legal Separation
Since legally separated couples are still technically married, separated spouses may not enter into a new marriage or domestic partnership until they officially dissolve their marriage through divorce. A legal separation also does not nullify a spouse’s inheritance rights. If a legally separated spouse passes away, their spouse will still have a right to inherit all or part of their estate.
Unsure Which Is Right for You? Call (949) 681-9952
Ultimately, determining whether a divorce or legal separation is appropriate for your situation will vary based on the specific circumstances you face. At Gill Law Group, PC, our compassionate and knowledgeable Irvine divorce lawyers can help you understand your legal options and guide you towards a solution that best fits your needs.
Contact our firm online today to find out more about how we can assist you.