For many couples considering separation in Upland, CA, divorce is not the right option. Legal separation is one alternative route to ending a relationship while remaining legally married. It may be the precursor to a divorce. However, it could also be a temporary solution if a married couple is uncertain about their relationship. A legal separation still requires terms for property division, child custody, and support. Being legally separated is not the same as getting divorced. Nevertheless, it is in your interest to work with a skilled legal separation attorney during the process.
At All American Law, we understand how complex and unique every relationship is. You may be unsure if you and your partner need an Upland divorce, legal separation, or another option. The attorneys at All American Law have more than 30 years of combined experience. We work in many aspects of family law. This allows us to guide you through your options and help you determine what is ideal for your relationship. If legal separation is the right choice, we can represent your interests during property division, the determination of spousal support, and other difficult aspects of separation.
Legal separation is an alternate divorce process. In it, you remain legally married in the eyes of the government. However, couples can lead separate lives. You and your spouse can make separate decisions regarding your children, property, assets, and debts. You are still married, but you can live fully independent lives while you determine the future of your relationship and family.
There is one main difference between legal separation and divorce. Divorce is the complete end of a marriage, while legal separation is not. Divorces have more requirements, take longer, and are more expensive than legal separation. Some couples who want a quick divorce will begin with legal separation until they are able to get a divorce.
Both legal separation and divorce require the complicated process of separating assets, property, and debts. Separating couples must also determine child custody, child support, visitation, and spousal support.
Although legal separation is not as final as divorce, it can still be emotionally overwhelming. Even if you and your spouse agree about the specifics of separation, it can be a lengthy and difficult process. An attorney can work as a mediator during the process of legal separation. You and your spouse could also be represented by different attorneys. An experienced separation attorney can help you by:
There are several reasons why couples may prefer legal separation as an alternative to divorce. This includes:
In some circumstances, annulment is an alternative to divorce. Unlike legal separation, an annulment will mean you and your spouse are no longer legally married. Annulment means that your marriage is found invalid, meaning it legally never happened. Reasons for annulment include:
An attorney can help you determine if you could have your marriage annulled and if it is the right option.
Getting a divorce in California has both a mandatory waiting period and a residency requirement. One spouse must have lived in the state of California for six months prior to filing. They must also have lived for three months in the county where the couple is filing for divorce. There is also a six-month waiting period to finalize a divorce.
Legal separation requires that you live in California and the county you are filing in. However, there is no minimum amount of time you need to have lived there. There is also no waiting period for legal separation.
If you and your spouse have children, they must meet the residency requirement in California. This allows the state to order custody and visitation. In emergency situations, this can be waived. However, you may either need to file a custody order with the place where the child lived previously or find an alternate solution.
First, you will file a petition for legal separation with the court. This will outline your wishes for property separation, child custody, and other important aspects of separation. If you and your spouse worked together through mediation to determine these aspects of separation, you will present that agreement.
You and your spouse will attend a hearing. This will either finalize the separation agreement you and your spouse made, or you both can argue your own wishes for separation. Then, the judge will reach a decision on a separation agreement. If you want to mediate an agreement with your spouse, or you need to argue against them in a court hearing, a legal separation attorney is invaluable to protecting your marital rights and interests.
You and your spouse remain legally married in the eyes of the law, meaning that you cannot remarry. You will have to get divorced before remarrying. Some people choose to get a legal separation rather than a divorce so that they do not lose shared retirement benefits. This can be a disadvantage if you do not want your spouse to receive property rights and benefits in the future.
If you and your spouse are eligible for legal separation in California, an attorney can help you file a petition with the court. If you and your spouse disagree about aspects of separation, you will have to attend a court hearing to argue your needs in front of a judge. The judge then has the final say on the terms of your separation agreement. If you and your spouse can compromise on separation terms, you can work with a mediation attorney to draft a legal separation agreement.
The process for a legal separation can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year. There is no waiting period for legal separation like there is for divorce, so the process is faster than divorce. However, the length of time it takes to finalize a legal separation depends on your unique relationship. If you and your spouse cannot agree on many aspects, it will take longer. If you and your spouse have many assets to separate, that will also prolong the process.
Legal separation has no time requirement. Therefore, if you want to file for legal separation, you can. If you and your spouse want a divorce, but do not meet residency requirements, you can file for a legal separation. You can later amend it to a divorce petition if you so choose.
If you need help filing for legal separation, the attorneys at All American Law can help. It is important to us that your separation go as smoothly as possible. Contact us today.