Divorce and Legal Separation
Divorce Procedural Basics – What You Need to Know
- Effect of a Divorce: A Divorce makes you a single person again. It returns to you an independent life. The income you earn will only belong to you. Divorce terminates the financial partnership you had with your spouse. Only you decide how to raise your children and spend your.
- Property: What is the date you were married? In general, Divorce divides all property you and your spouse accumulated, from the date of marriage. Usually, it does not matter in whose name some property was acquired. If your spouse has bank accounts only in their name, then, it is likely you own at least half of all they have in those accounts.
- Permission: You do not need the permission of your spouse to file for a Divorce in California.
- State Residency: You must have lived in California for the last six months.
- County Residency: What county do you live in? You must have lived in that county for the last three months.
- Spouse Moved Out: If you are not currently living with your spouse, then please get legal advice soon, as your property, support, and/or custody rights, may be negatively affected.
- Still Living with Spouse: You can go through a Divorce and still live with your spouse. That can be difficult, but it is done often. If you want a Divorce, but do not want to live with your spouse while you go through the Divorce, then get legal advice before you take any Divorce action. If you want to move out from your spouse, then get legal advice before you move out, as your property, support, and/or custodial rights may be negatively affected.
- Your Home: You may be able to keep your home after you Divorce. If this is very important to you, then you should get legal advice before you take any steps to obtain a Divorce.
- Child Support and Spousal Support: You may have to pay child and/or spousal support. You may be entitled to receive child and/or spousal support. These are issues you need to discuss with your attorney before filing for Divorce.
Legal Separation Procedural Basics – What You Need to Know
Effect of Legal Separation: A Legal Separation does most everything a Divorce does but, you still stay married. You cannot re-marry if you have a Legal Separation.
So Why Get a Legal Separation: For religious reasons – some do not want a Divorce because it conflicts with the tenants of their Faith. To protect income – some just want to divide their wealth equally, but then still want to be married. For health insurance – some can continue on their spouses’ employment provided health insurances if they have a Legal Separation and not a Divorce.
Permission: To get a Legal Separation, your spouse has to agree. That is dramatically different than Divorce. To get a Divorce, you do not need your spouse’s permission.
Risk: After you get a Legal Separation, your spouse can change it to a Divorce, anytime.
State Residency: There is no residency requirement you have to fulfill before filing for a Legal Separation. You can file for Legal Separation even if you have only lived in California for one day.
County Residency: There is no county residency requirement you have to fulfill before filing for a Legal Separation. You can file for Legal Separation even if you have only lived in your California city or town, for one day.
Issues: All the issues you have in a Divorce – separation of property, spousal support, child support, custody, etc. are issues you have in a Legal Separation action, with all the same concerns.
Divorce or a Legal Separation – The Next Steps
Financial Information: Locate the last 1-2 years of your tax returns. Look for any recent paystubs. Print out the last month of bank and financial account statements.
Talk to a Family Attorney: A meeting with an attorney is strictly confidential, even if you do not hire that attorney. That includes an initial consultation. Since you may end up hiring them, you should not have to pay to consult with an attorney.