The Pros and Cons of Legal Separation

Divorce is not the only option if you wish to separate from your spouse. In California, legal separation can be an enticing alternative to divorce for many couples. Legal separation can have several advantages over a dissolution of marriage. Explore the pros and cons of legal separation with assistance from an attorney who specializes in divorce in Irvine before making your decision.

What Are the Benefits of Legal Separation?

Legal separation can come with various advantages over traditional divorce. One is the retention of benefits that are only available when a couple is legally married. Several financial benefits, including health insurance, military benefits, employment benefits, tax breaks and life estate trusts may only be available while you and your spouse are married. If you get a divorce, it may mean the end of these benefits for one or both of you. 

For many couples, legal separation is a better option for personal or religious purposes. If your religion objects to divorce, you and your spouse can live apart and lead separate lives without violating your beliefs or suffering the social stigma of divorce.

Legal separation gives you and your spouse time apart without actually ending your marriage. This is a benefit if you end up reconciling with your spouse. If you go through with a divorce, on the other hand, your family will deal with a lengthy and costly legal process just to have to undo it all and remarry should you choose to get back together. With legal separation, you are still married in the eyes of the law, making it easy to undo.  

Finally, legal separation allows you to legally break from your spouse without having to wait through California’s six-month waiting period, which is mandatory in a divorce case. You can immediately start living your own life when you become legally separated.

Potential Drawbacks or Disadvantages of Legal Separation

One of the potential disadvantages of legal separation is that you cannot remarry unless you get divorced. You are still technically married, no matter how long you have been separated from your ex-spouse. To marry someone else, you will have to go through the divorce process first. However, since you have already had to separate your property and figure out child custody, this can make getting a divorce easier.

Getting legally separated can be a good thing if you and your partner reconcile; however, if you end up choosing to divorce, you may end up spending more money overall. Getting a legal separation prior to divorce means you will be subject to various legal and court fees more than once. You may have to secure legal representation for both cases, for example, and pay multiple filing fees.

Is Legal Separation Right For You?

Is Legal Separation Right for You?

A legal separation is not a fast-track divorce. Legal separation will not necessarily be easier, faster or cheaper than a divorce. It is a legal process that can involve numerous meetings, court forms, filing procedures, and difficult decisions for you and your family. If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree to the terms of a legal separation, your case will have to go to court just like it would for a contested divorce. Do not choose legal separation under the illusion that it will be easier; do so only if it is the right choice for your family’s needs and goals.

To discuss the pros and cons of legal separation vs. divorce in your specific case, contact an Orange County divorce attorney from Boyd Law to request a free consultation.