Legal Separation

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

A judgment for Legal Separation will not dissolve the marriage.  It provides immediate, limited relief and only recommended in unique situations.  People seek Legal Separation for before divorce for various reasons.  They may have a religious objection to divorce; they may need to continue to be carried on their spouse’s insurance program.  It can be a trial separation to see if while living apart a marriage can be put together again.  A Legal Separation will not allow you to remarry.  You will need to get a divorce to do that.  It also can help with the tax situation.

A Legal Separation can also take care of child support and custody questions as well as spousal support.  Couples can be separated without the legal paper but it’s a good idea to get specifics in writing so there will be no misunderstandings.  Divorce settlements often are based on what a Legal Separation paper states.  If there are different marital assets that are going to one spouse or another, they should be specified that way in case of divorce.  Family heirlooms may need to be listed so it goes to the right person.

Don’t forget to separate your finances.  Get your own bank accounts and don’t use the joint account.  Either spouse does have the ability to withdraw all of the money even if you contributed part of the balance.  If your name is on a mortgage where your spouse is still residing, you may be liable for the payments.  It goes for credit cards as well as utility bills.  Spouse’s have been known to ring up large credit card and utility bills before they can be taken out of both names and leaving the other spouse with the bills to pay.

If the separation doesn’t work out and you end up going to divorce court, the procedure may vary depending on where you live.  It’s best to consult with an attorney.  Some states allow an amendment to a Legal Separation to change it to a divorce request.

In California, you don’t need to meet residency requirements for Legal Separation.  An amended request to change the petition to a divorce can be filed after residency requirements are met.

Legal Separation means that you aren’t sleeping together and you are eating and entertaining separately.  It also means chores are done independently in the event both parties are still residing in the same house.

Before leaving, make copies of all-important papers and account numbers as well as copies of tax records for at least the past six years.  If you have a safety deposit box, make a list or take a picture of what is in the box.  Take everything with you that you think you will want or need.  Once you leave the family home, it’s not always possible for you to get back in to retrieve something you forgot.  If you think you might need it, take it.  You may not get it later.

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