Articles Posted in Legal Separation

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legal separationIf your marriage just is not working, perhaps it has crossed your mind for your and your spouse to take a break from one another. Many couples feel unease about the finality of a complete split and opt for a legal separation in lieu of a divorce. Knowledge about the process and legalities of legal separation can help couples to make informed, well-reasoned decisions.

What is a Legal Separation?

The truth is, a legal separation gives couples the chance to divide their assets and debts and live separate lives if they choose, without completely terminating the marriage. The process is similar to that of divorce, with one person filing for the separation, and the other responding. Assets must be declared, custody arrangements must be made if minor children are involved, and support payments must be agreed upon. Ultimately, the couple becomes two separate entities, while retaining their legal marital status.

Some Legal Terminology to Know

Those entering such an agreement may be unfamiliar with some key terminology that will be applicable to their circumstances:

  • Date of Separation: This is the date that reflects the intent of the couple to separate, and is the date around which community property determinations are made. Any assets and debts accrued before this date will be split evenly between the parties, whereas anything attained after this day will belong to the individual who acquired it.
  • Judgment of Legal Separation: This is a document addressing the agreements upon the attainment of legal separation. It includes financial matters, custody issues, and support arrangements.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Legal Separation?

There is no waiting period for a legal separation to go into effect, assuming both parties agree to the stipulations in the Judgment of Legal Separation, nor are there residency requirements associated with legal separation in California. Once that document is signed, the final Judgment may be entered and the separation is legit. So, as soon as the paperwork is complete, couples can become legally separated.

Benefits

Couples have many reasons to consider legal separation rather than severing the marriage altogether. Some common factors include:

  • Indecision as to the desired outcomes;
  • Health insurance issues;
  • Immigration concerns;
  • Religious beliefs forbidding divorce.

Tax Implications

Your marital status is important to consider as you file with the IRS. You are allowed to file as Single, and may claim Head of Household if you keep a household for a minor child. Likewise, you could choose to file as Married, or as Married filing separately. Continue reading →

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Divorce, Annulment or Legal SeparationMarried couples who have chosen to part ways may wonder about their options. Most people are not aware of the differences between divorce, annulment, and legal separation.

Annulment

An annulment is when a court says your marriage is not legally valid. Annulments are rare, and can only be granted by a judge. Unlike a divorce, an annulment treats the marriage as if it never occurred. A marriage is always considered invalid if it is incestuous or bigamous (marriage to more than one person). Marriages may also be annulled if the marriage occurred due to force or fraud, if one of the spouses is too young to marry or already married, or if there is physical or mental incapacity. Similar to a divorce, the judge presiding over the annulment may determine issues of child custody, child support, alimony, and division of assets.

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