A legal separation is an alternative to divorce and means that a couple’s marriage is not completely over. However, a legal separation does mean that certain steps are taken to wrap up a marriage—steps similar to divorce.
Why Would Someone Opt for a Legal Separation?
A couple may not be sure they want to end their marriage and therefore do not want to rush to divorce. Because legal separation requires some of the same steps as required in a divorce, a separation can be a way to test the waters.
Other couples may not qualify for a divorce at the time because of residency requirements. Still, others may be religiously opposed to divorce or concerned about immigration consequences.
In order to be legally separated, interested couples must file a petition. A court will, if everything is in order, grant the legal separation. Those seeking a legal separation should also come to an agreement on matters related to the marriage. These include the following:
Any property division that will take place;Who will pay the bills and living expenses;Where the children will live;When the children will visit with each parent; andPayment of alimony.
These agreed upon matters will be reduced to writing and given to the judge. If there is a disagreement later as to the terms, the court can decide the dispute.
If the parties cannot agree to any or all of these issues in the first place, a judge will be asked to decide. A hearing will take place and evidence will be produced. This can require a large amount of preparation by the parties and their attorneys.
Contact a San Jose Separation Lawyer
Couples may think they can forgo attorney representation for the legal separation process. However, this can be a costly mistake. A legal separation agreement is a binding document that gives each party rights. Additionally, the agreement could be in place for a considerable period of time and should be taken seriously.
Without attorney representation, you could be giving up rights, access to property, and money to which you would otherwise be entitled. Moreover, a legal separation agreement is often used as a basis for a divorce agreement.
The experienced San Jose, CA separation agreement attorney at Dominion Law Group, LLP can review your situation and goals and advise you on your options. Legal separation may not be suitable for every couple. Call 408-288-5592 to get in touch with our firm today.