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Ask a Divorce Lawyer – Legal Separation Issues

How is a Legal Separation Different than a Divorce in California?

A legal separation is the separation of a “community relationship” as recognized by the law in California. The main difference between a dissolution and a legal separation in California is that with a legal separation the status of the marriage is not terminated. While division of assets and debts, financial support, and child custody orders may be made, the parties remain a married couple. There are a few reasons why filing for legal separation as opposed to for a dissolution may be right for you:

1. You want a divorce in California but do not yet meet the residency requirements to file in California.

California law requires that a party filing for divorce must be a resident of California for six months preceding the date of filing and a resident of the County in which they choose to file for the preceding three months. A Petition for Legal Separation does not have the same jurisdictional limitations. If you want a divorce but do not meet the time requirements you can file for legal separation, wait until you meet the requirements, and then amend your Petition to a dissolution.

2. You are considering a divorce and want to live separate lives while determining whether or not a divorce is right for you.

By filing for legal separation you are separating yourself financially from your spouse. Perhaps your spouse has a gambling or spending problem and you want for him/her to work on it before you decide on divorce. By filing for legal separation you can insulate your personal liability associated with the financial waste of your spouse. If you physically separate you can also obtain orders for the co-parenting schedule for minor children as well as financial support orders.

3. You cannot afford to lose your spouse’s employer sponsored health insurance coverage.

Depending on the sponsoring health insurance plan, so long as you are not actually divorced from your spouse, you are entitled to remain on his/her employer sponsored health insurance plan. Often you will see parties seeking a divorce purposefully delay the termination of marital status date in order to provide a longer financial transition period for the supported spouse.

If you are considering divorce or legal separation and would like to discuss how a legal separation may or may not be right to meet your particular needs give us a call for a free case analysis over the phone.

Meet Your Dedicated San Diego Family Attorneys
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS
Family Attorney John N. Griffith, CFLS

Family Attorney, John N. Griffith, CFLS

John Griffith has practiced exclusively in the area of family law since 2009. John is a Certified Family Law Specialist certified as an expert in the area of family law by the California Board of Legal Specialization.

858-345-1720
john@gylfamilylaw.com

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.
Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

Family Attorney, Catie E. Young, ESQ.

San Diego family lawyer Catie Young has a wide range of litigation experience. She has worked in civil litigation. She has successfully represented clients in many areas of family law including child support, child custody, divorce and domestic violence. She has a unique approach to each child custody case, so clients of Griffith, Young & Lass tend to gravitate toward her in these cases.

858-345-1720
catie@gylfamilylaw.com

Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.
Family Attorney Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Family Attorney, Amy J. Lass, Esq.

Amy Lass was born in New York and raised in San Diego, California. Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Enterprise Accounting and went on to earn her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and graduated cum laude in 2006. Amy takes a practical and cost considerate approach to the process while striving to balance the emotional needs and objectives of her clients.

858-345-1720
amy@gylfamilylaw.com

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The Typical Divorce Process in California
Discovery of Assets & Obligations (1-3 months)
1 Complaint for Divorce Filed Start of litigation
2 Complaint is Served Varies, but usually shortly after the complaint is filed
3 Answer to Complaint Due 30 days from the date of service
4 Mediation Anytime, but usually after initial discovery
5 Temporary Hearing Usually early in the process
6 Late Case Evaluation / Judicial Hosted Settlement Conference Usually near the end of the case
7 Trial (If Needed) The goal is to settle, but if your case goes to trial, it could take months after the start of litigation.
We deliver results
I am beyond grateful for the entire staff at Griffith, Young, and Lass. I don't even call myself a client anymore, they are my friends that protected my family and fought with me, side by side.-Erik H., San Diego