Living apart from your spouse is not an easy decision to make, but sometimes you might feel it is necessary, particularly when you are considering divorce. No matter the reason you choose to separate, legal involvement can be significant. Seeking the help of a Santa Rosa separation lawyer can make a big difference in how your separation plays out.
Any kind of legal process can be overwhelming if you are not familiar with the laws. When it comes to family law, there are so many other aspects that make the process more complex. It may not seem as though a separation is a case where you may need a lawyer because it’s not a divorce. The truth of the matter is in order to be legally separated from your spouse, you must go through a court process and be granted the separation.
In Santa Rosa, CA, the process of a legal separation is similar to that of a divorce involving assets, property, children, and possibly spousal support. Having a lawyer who is well-versed in family law and separations can be a great benefit to you. They can make sure you have knowledge of the laws and procedures of legal separation, give you advice on what decisions to make, and assist with any paperwork and negotiations with your spouse.
A separation lawyer can alleviate some of the stress that comes with a legal separation and be a great support system throughout the process.
When considering separation, you and your spouse may want a temporary separation that does not require a complicated process and can be undone by simply moving back in with one another. However, if you are looking to become legally separated, there is a process you must go through in California.
First, you or your spouse must live in California to file the separation petition, it doesn’t matter how long you have been a resident. The petition is where you will list out the terms of the separation. This can include division of property, child custody and support, and spousal support. Once your spouse is served with the petition, you can move forward with negotiating and finalizing a separation agreement to submit to the court.
The court has to approve the terms of your separation agreement and enter a final judgment for your legal separation. With all of the laws and rules of separation in California, hiring a lawyer can ensure the process is done correctly, and there are little to no mistakes made.
Although legal separation and divorce follow the same legal process, they have a few important differences. The most important difference is that a legal separation is not a termination of a marriage, so neither spouse is free to marry another person legally. There are many cases where legal separation may be a better option for a couple than divorce in Santa Rosa, CA. These cases include:
Regarding legal separation in California, the laws are clear. California does not require you to establish fault for a separation; therefore, you can file based on irreconcilable differences or incurable insanity. In order to file for separation in California, one spouse must live in the state for any amount of time. Then, after going through the legal proceedings, the court must issue a judgment before the separation is legal.
The three types of separation are trial, permanent, and legal separation. Unlike legal separation, trial and permanent separation do not typically involve a legal process. They are meant to be more of an immediate step taken before a possible divorce.
The biggest difference between trial and permanent is the effect it has on your assets. During a trial separation, assets are still marital property. When the trial becomes permanent, then any assets, debts, or property acquired during that time belongs only to the person who acquired them.
Legal separation in California can protect you financially to an extent. After the date that the legal separation begins, any assets, property, or debt acquired by either spouse solely belongs to them and is their responsibility. When it comes to spousal support, however, it is possible that you may have to continue providing for your spouse financially if you have been throughout the marriage. A judge can order spousal support for a legal separation in California.
No matter what type of separation you choose, a good first step is coming up with a separation agreement with your spouse. This agreement may include decisions made regarding property and asset division, child custody and support, spousal support, and anything else that is necessary to address. A spousal agreement is especially a good idea when going through a legal separation so that a judge does not make those decisions for you.
Separating from your spouse can be a difficult legal process, especially if there are many other factors involved. The entire thing can be stressful, and you may not know exactly what to do or what you can do. Being aware of your legal rights and responsibilities as a spouse is crucial. An experienced Santa Rosa separation lawyer can assist you throughout the separation process. Contact Carroll Law Office for a consultation to get started.
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