The decision to file for divorce or legal separation depends on your needs and what's comfortable for you. However, there are a few differences between these options that you should be aware of first.
Dissolved Marriage vs. Still Married
The main difference between a divorce and a legal separation is that the legal separation will not dissolve your marriage. You will still be bound to your spouse and cannot move on to marry someone else. If you receive a court order for a divorce, you can remarry, and you can file as a single person on your taxes the following year.
Entitlements and Assets
You will still be entitled to certain benefits of a married person if you legally separate from your spouse. For example, you can still receive social security benefits and any insurance payments that you're entitled to as that person's spouse. You and your spouse can work out the rest of the matters before you file the petition and paperwork to request a legal separation from the judge.
You can also work out a temporary plan for the distribution of your assets and financial support. Now would be the time to work out spousal support requests and bill payment guidelines.
Custody and Visitation
A California legal separation will require you to complete at least two forms. In one of those forms, you can request that the court make the decisions about custody and visitation. Alternatively, you can work out those issues with your spouse.
A legal separation is more or less a temporary arrangement to see if you and your spouse should divorce or get back together in the end. It's always better to seek assistance from a professional than to try to do the paperwork yourself. At Embry Family Law P.C. can help you and your spouse to make the right decision and transition into your divorce or legal separation smoothly.
Call our San Diego divorce lawyers today at (619) 485-6476 to discuss your case.