Is Legal Separation In California Right For You?

Even after a relationship has run its course, it’s not uncommon for people to hold on at all costs to avoid divorce. One reason is that many religions and cultures strongly disapprove of divorce, which weighs heavily on those who no longer wish to be husband and wife, yet feel pressured to remain together. Divorce can also mean the loss of many of the financial incentives for marriage, like tax and insurance benefits. Many couples may be out of love, yet stay together just to preserve their financial benefits. Additionally, many people may not feel emotionally prepared to be titled a “divorcee” and will delay the change until “the time is right”.

Divorce can be a complicated and nuanced life decision. When looking for alternatives to divorce, many couples turn to the three types of separation: trial separation, permanent separation, and legal separation.

Trial separations are an option for couples who are deciding whether or not they want to live apart long-term. Trial separations do not require formal proceedings and couples remain legally married, meaning they continue to share financial responsibilities and assets.

Permanent separation is when either spouse has decided against reconciliation. While not divorced, financial responsibilities are severed, which can make the exact date of permanent separation a highly contested topic during divorce proceedings.

Trial separation and permanent separation may not involve the courts, so long as both parties are in mutual agreement and awareness of the separation. If the couple chooses to legally separate, the exact starting date of the separation or the division of assets during that time may become formalized, with a judge overseeing the documentation and arrangement of the separation. Legal separation also helps to preserve some of the financial benefits that previously married couples may be accustomed to. 

If a couple decides that legal separation is best for them, it is highly recommended to seek out a family law mediator. A family law mediator facilitates discussions to help spouses transition through trial or permanent separation before deciding if they wish to proceed with legal separation or divorce.

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Couples who are legally separated are neither divorced nor married. This may be ideal for couples who do not want to label themselves divorcees for religious, cultural, or personal reasons. It is not uncommon for some couples to remain in legal separation for years before either proceeding to divorce or reconciliation. Legal separation offers a structured environment for addressing issues while living separately.

Whether couples choose to proceed with trial separation, permanent separation, legal separation, or even divorce, mediators like Colleen McNamee help the dissolution of a partnership be as peaceful and amicable as possible for all parties involved.

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Legal separation is an alternative worth considering for those who do not wish to continue their relationship as it was, but are not ready to divorce. Whether motivated by financial considerations, religious beliefs, or a desire for a trial period, legal separation provides a structured path forward, with an informed understanding of the best options for their needs and goals. 

If you think legal separation may be the right choice for you or are seeking a mediator in Orange County, California, you can call Colleen McNamee of McNamee Mediations today. 

McNamee Mediations
4590 MacArthur Blvd Suite 500, Newport Beach, CA 92660