Practice Areas
Family Law
Legal Separation

Legal Separation

Legal Separation

Deciding to get married is one of the biggest decisions that adult individuals make. However, it is not unusual for a couple’s circumstances to change over time and for one or both parties to want a ‘time-out’ – without necessarily ending their marriage altogether. In these circumstances, a period of legal separation may be called for. A legal separation can last for a short time before reconciliation, an indefinite period of time, while in other circumstances, the separation may simply occur before transforming to a final divorce. If you are contemplating a legal separation from your spouse, the experienced California legal separation lawyers at Miranda, Magden & Miranda, LLP may be able to help. Our legal team can review your marital circumstances with you and help you determine if legal separation is right for you, given those circumstances.

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What is a Legal Separation in California?

In the State of California, a legal separation, in and of itself, does not end a domestic partnership or marriage between spouses. Rather, a legal separation leads to a family court stepping in and deciding the responsibilities and rights that are applicable to spouses who wish to live separately and apart. The involvement of the family court, and decisions the judge actually needs to make in your case, will depend on the level of cooperation and agreement that exists between you and your spouse.

During the time that spouses are legally separated, they remain married. However, the separate spouses have access to court orders that can be used to assign child/family support and custody of minor children, as well as separate finances for each of the spouses. Spouses who are separated may also be in a position to keep some types of marital benefits. Those retained benefits often include life insurance and health insurance benefits.

How to File for Legal Separation in California

The steps that spouses must take in the State of California to file for legal separation are very similar to the steps they must take when filing for divorce. The steps to file for a legal separation include all of the following:

  • Filing a petition for separation and including the required filing fee
  • Making sure that the petition is duly served on the respondent spouse
  • Being sure to file proof that the necessary financial disclosures have been served.

Unlike divorce cases that dissolve your marriage, there are lesser residency requirements for a separation petition.

Potential Legal Grounds for Separation in California

There are several potential legal grounds for separation in California. Most commonly, the petitioner spouse may allege that the couple has irreconcilable differences that have led to the marriage breaking down. In general, California is a “no-fault” dissolution/separation state, so either spouse may request a divorce or separation, even if the other spouse is not in agreement.

Speak with a California Legal Separation Lawyer about Your Family Law Matter Today

If you are considering a legal separation in the State of California, a knowledgeable attorney at Miranda, Magden & Miranda, LLP, can help to streamline the process for you and ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible. For a legal consultation or case evaluation with an experienced California legal separation lawyer, please contact us online today for more information.


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