Santa Clarita Valley Divorce Lawyer
The decision to get a divorce is never an easy one and it is seldom one that is made quickly. Many couples who have been married for at least a few years will make the decision to end their marriage gradually. Sometimes, a couple may be sure that they need to spend time apart but do not want to obtain a divorce for religious or financial reasons or simply because they are not ready for that kind of permanency.
Most people wonder why such couples do not simple split up and live separately. The answer is because there are legal ramifications that can possibly ensue if the couple disregards the proper steps. If a couple truly wishes to spend time apart and "test drive" divorce, they can become legally separated, which is an alternative to divorce.
Legal separation allows two people to split up and lead separate lives without terminating the legal marital status and still avoiding legal ramifications of desertion charges. The process of being legally separated involves factors similar to a divorce, including child custody, child support and even spousal support. The fundamental difference between legal separation and divorce is that legal separation does not legally remove marital status, meaning neither partner may remarry until an actual divorce is obtained.
Reasons for Legal Separation
Many couples choose to opt for a legal separation, at least temporarily, for a number of reasons. First of all, divorce in California takes at least six months to obtain while a legal separation can be issued immediately upon submitting the petition. This allows the couple to move and live apart while they contemplate the future of their relationship. Given that the marriage is not legally terminated, many couples choose to opt for legal separation because their chosen religion does not allow for an actual divorce or because of tax reasons. Lastly, some couples are simply not sure if divorce is what they want. With legal separation, they have time to think about what they really want and if they wish, reconcile their marriage or proceed with a divorce.
If you are not sure about divorce, legal separation may be a favorable alternative for your situation. With legal separation, you will have virtually the same freedom of a divorcee with the exception of the ability to remarry. If you and your spouse eventually choose to obtain a divorce, you simply submit the paper work and begin that process when you are ready. To learn more about legal separation, call the Santa Clarita Valley divorce attorneys at Cutter & Lax today.