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Legal Separation V. Divorce



There are several reasons why people choose to file for a legal separation instead of filing for a divorce:

1. You are not eligible to file for a divorce because of residency requirements. You or your spouse must be a resident of California for six months and of the county where the petition is filed for three months before you file for a divorce;
2. You or your spouse would like to remain eligible for the other spouse’s medical insurance that would otherwise be lost by a termination of the marriage;
3. You or your spouse oppose divorce for religious reasons;
4. You think there is a chance of reconciliation;
5. You or your spouse will soon become eligible for the other spouse’s social security benefits. If you are married for 10 years or longer you become eligible for social security retirement.
6. Tax benefits for you or your spouse; and
7. You and/or your spouse are not ready to file for a divorce.

If the aforementioned reasons don’t apply to your situation you may consider filing for a divorce.

A legal separation proceeding is similar to any marriage termination proceedings; spousal support, child support, custody and visitation, property division and other issues are adjudicated under the same standard and in the same manner.

Unlike divorce, legal separation doesn’t end your marriage. You will not be able to enter into a new marriage unless and until your marriage is dissolved. If you later decide to get divorced, you’ll have to go through the legal steps necessary to terminate your marriage.

California is a “no-fault” state; meaning one spouse doesn’t need a specific reason to file for a legal separation and/or for a divorce. Fault is simply not a relevant consideration in the legal process.

There is a small nuance concerning entering a judgment of legal separation. If you petition for a legal separation, but your spouse responds with a request for dissolution of marriage, and vice versa, legal separation may not be granted.

DISCLAIMER: This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer/law firm publisher for educational purposes ONLY as well as to give you general information, not to provide specific legal advice. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

Please contact me at 619-737-3919 to schedule a 30-minute initial complimentary consultation to discuss your personal situation.

NOTICE: This Blog/Web Site constitutes advertisement materials and is meant for the residents of the State of California only. By using this Blog/Web Site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The materials presented in the Blog/Web Site may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. These materials may be changed, improved, or updated without notice. The Law Office of Maria Rogova is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the content of this Blog/Web Site or for damages arising from the use or performance of this Blog/Web Site under any circumstances.


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Ms. Rogova, who is bilingual English-Russian, earned her law degrees from American and Russian universities. She earned her Russian law degree in 2003 and practiced law in Russia for over 7 years. Ms. Rogova has a broad range of legal experience in Russia such as contract litigation, corporate law, arbitration, real estate, and labor law. In addition to her law degree, in 2007 Ms. Rogova earned a Master of Finance degree.

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