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Legal Separation

If you hope to reconcile with your spouse or are philosophically opposed to divorce, legal separation may be an option for you. Legal separation also may offer financial advantages over divorce. If you live in San Diego County or the surrounding communities, the attorneys of Shaffer & Associates are available to help you understand the advantages and disadvantages associated with a legal separation, so you can make decisions that are best for you and your family.

Why Legal Separation Instead of Divorce?

An order of legal separation does not terminate the marriage and the parties are not free to remarry. Couples choose legal separation instead of divorce for many reasons. You may hope to reconcile with your spouse after a period of separation. Or you may be opposed to divorce for philosophical or religious reasons. In many cases, legal separation is also preferable to divorce for financial reasons. Legally separated couples are allowed to claim each other as dependents on their taxes. Additionally, certain employment, retirement, and medical benefits are retained, though the specifics involved in deductibles and how catastrophic health care issues are covered may be affected by a legal separation. 

Our family law and divorce lawyers will explain and discuss the legal and financial consequences of a legal separation. We have represented hundreds of clients in legal separation and other family law actions throughout San Diego County and we understand what is at stake, both emotionally and financially.

Legal Separation in California

In California, there is no waiting period or residency requirement to file for legal separation. However, to file for divorce, you must be a resident of California for six months and a resident of your county for three months. Couples who do not meet the residency or jurisdictional requirements for divorce can file for legal separation and then have the petition modified into a divorce action.

Before you and your spouse can be legally separated in California, you must resolve child custody, parenting time, and spousal support issues. You may also resolve other issues, like property division. Although you retain some financial and tax benefits, for all intents and purposes, it will be as if you were divorced with regard to other financial matters. As a result, you will not be responsible for any debt incurred by the other party after the separation.

The attorneys of Shaffer & Associates sort through each issue with you so that you understand your options and the legal and financial consequences of your separation. We work closely with you, whether in court or through out-of-court negotiations with your spouse, to create a legal separation agreement that meets your needs.

Serving San Diego and the Surrounding Communities

The San Diego attorneys of Shaffer & Associates serve San Diego County and the surrounding communities, including Orange County, Riverside County and Los Angeles County. Contact Shaffer & Associates online or call (619) 595-3167 today to consult with us about your circumstances and whether legal separation is a good option for you.

San Diego Bar AssociationSection of Family LawCalifornia State Bar Family Law American Bar Association Avvo Clients' Choice 2014