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Fontana Legal Separation Lawyer

Fontana Legal Separation Lawyer

Fontana Legal Separation Attorney

Fontana Legal Separation Lawyer
Fontana Legal Separation Lawyer

Family law matters can be complex in Fontana, CA. At All American Law, we provide personalized attention to each of our clients as we guide them through sensitive family matters. Our commitment to respect and privacy has made us a community leader in handling Fontana divorce and legal separation cases.

If you are considering whether to get a legal separation, need guidance on the process or on evaluating your options, or have been served separation papers, speak with a member of our team to discuss your case and your options. We can use our knowledge of California family law and our experience in court while working to ensure that your rights are represented and upheld.

What Is a Legal Separation?

California allows couples the option to pursue a legal separation in place of a divorce. This arrangement allows couples to live independently, with a separation of finances and living arrangements, while remaining legally married. Many, though not all, of the same processes will take place for a legal separation as a divorce, including property division and settlements for spousal support, child custody, and child support.

Why Legal Separation Rather Than Divorce?

There are several personal reasons why a couple might want to legally separate instead of divorce. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • Maintaining shared benefits. When a couple divorces, they lose access to health care plans, joint tax filing benefits, Social Security benefits, and other legal protections that are afforded to married couples. Since a legal separation does not end the marriage, couples who legally separate will maintain these benefits.
  • Adhering to personal or religious beliefs. Many religions forbid divorce or see it as immoral. Those with deeply held personal convictions may wish to live apart without going through with a divorce, thereby violating a religious or strongly held belief.
  • Meeting benefit requirements. While married couples automatically qualify for certain benefits, other benefits require that couples are married for a certain duration to qualify for long-term benefits. For example, a divorced spouse is entitled to additional Social Security benefits if they were married for more than 10 years. A couple may opt to separate until that requirement has been met. Some military benefits work the same way.

What Is Involved in a Legal Separation?

Legal separation shares a lot of legal processes with divorce. After you file a petition for a legal separation, you will need to serve your spouse with papers of intent to separate. Once they have responded, you will both enter into the negotiation and settlement phase. During this time, you will come to agreements on: 

  • Property division. All property, assets, and debts that were acquired during the marriage are considered community property and are subject to a 50/50 division. Once a couple is separated, their property and liabilities will no longer be shared.
  • Spousal support. In some cases, the court may require a higher-earning spouse to provide financial support to the other.
  • Child custody and support. When a couple has decided to legally separate and subsequently live apart, those with children will have to arrange for custody of the children, which may also include the non-custodial parent paying child support.

Settlements for legal separation closely mirror those for divorce. As a result, it is just as necessary to partner with a qualified attorney who can represent you and your interests in the negotiation and settlement portions of your separation proceedings.

FAQs About Fontana, CA Legal Separation Laws

How Long Does It Take to Get a Legal Separation in California?

In California, married couples have the option for legal separation. Whereas the process to get divorced takes at least six months, due to the mandatory waiting period, legal separation will take immediate effect. Additionally, there is no need to wait for a minimum residency to be reached before you can file. How long it takes to reach a final judgment of legal separation will depend on how quickly both parties are able to reach an agreement during property division.

Does Legal Separation Protect Me Financially in California?

Legal separation is identical to divorce in its division of property, which can offer certain financial protections in California. However, legally separating will not protect your assets from property division. When you and your spouse legally separate, all assets and liabilities will be divided according to standard California divorce law, which generally splits community property 50/50. Subsequently, even though you and your spouse will remain legally married, all acquired property will remain separate rather than community property.

What Should You Do Legally When Your Wife Leaves You?

If your wife has left you or abandoned you, you can seek a legal separation. While this will not end your marriage, it will sever financial ties to your wife and will hold her financially responsible for certain provisions, such as alimony and child support. The law cannot force an abandoning spouse to return, however. When a spouse has abandoned you, it is wise to legally separate to protect against future shared financial liability.

How Do I Convert a Legal Separation Into a Divorce in California?

In California, you are able to convert your legal separation into a divorce at any time during the process. Provided that the residency requirement is met, either spouse can request that the legal separation be converted. If your spouse has not yet responded to the original file, you can file an amended petition and check the “Dissolution of Marriage” box. They will get the updated papers. If the separation has been finalized, you will need to start from the beginning.

Contact Your Fontana Legal Separation Lawyer

If you are experiencing issues in your marriage that lead you to question your options, or if your spouse has served you with separation papers, it is important that you speak with a qualified and skilled attorney. The attorneys at All American Law are ready to help guide you through this difficult and sensitive time. Contact our office today to set up a consultation to discuss your situation and begin moving forward.

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