Not all marriages have happy fairy tale endings. Some married couples may not be able to make their marriage work. They may need to end it and move on. In California, a married couple can end their marital relationship in one of two ways: divorce or legal separation.
A legal separation is a legal action filed by a married person or domestic partner who wants to stay married or in the domestic partnership while being able to resolve all other issues, such as child custody, spousal support and complex property division. Filing for legal separation allows you to separate your property and debts to avoid being legally responsible for your spouse. In other words, if you file for legal separation, you will remain married while deciding important issues, without terminating any life or health insurance.
Legal Separation Requirements
In order for you to legally separate from your spouse, you need to get a judicially approved division of marital assets and resolution of issues related to:
– Child custody
– Child visitation rights
– Child support
– Spousal support
Just like getting a divorce, legal separation can get complicated. As such, it is best to hire an experienced Central Valley legal separation attorney to help you and make sure that your concerns are properly addressed and your legal rights are protected.
Filing Requirements for Legal Separation in California
The procedure for legal separation in California is very similar to that of divorce. Where appropriate, the court will decide on the important issues involved. Below are the basic six steps involved in filing for legal separation:
1. Decide on the grounds for your legal separation. Under California Family Code Section 2310, legal separation must be based on either incurable insanity or irreconcilable differences causing the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.
2. Obtain Form FL-100 Petition-Marriage. This form allows you to either file a for a divorce or legal separation.
3. Complete and file Form FL-100 with your local county court. You will need to choose the option for legal separation and provide information about your minor children and property. The form allows you to ask the court to make orders relating to child custody.
4. Complete Form FL-105/GC-120 if you have minor children under age 18. This form constitutes a Declaration under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. It provides the court with the necessary information to establish whether it has jurisdiction over your children.
5. Pay the filing fee.
6. Serve your spouse with a copy of the court papers, either by hand or by mail.
In order to make sure that your filing for legal separation is successful, it is best to hire an experienced Central Valley family law attorney to help you throughout this process.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Divorce Attorney
If you are going through a divorce or planning to file for divorce, it is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney fighting for your rights. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Central Valley divorce attorney, please call Gurjit Srai (209) 323-5558 or (559) 314-2796, or complete our online form.