Orange County Family Lawyer
What is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce? Many people don’t even know that a legal separation is an option. Before you file either a legal separation or a divorce case, you should always consult with an Orange County family lawyer to make sure that you are making the best decision for your family.
Basically, if you file a legal separation with the Court, the Court treats the case nearly the same as a divorce matter. The difference in a legal separation is that you are still considered legally married to your spouse and cannot remarry. All the other issues in a legal separation are equivalent to a divorce proceeding. If you live in Orange County, California, the community assets and debts are divided equally. Any property, real or personal is considered community property if the asset was acquired during the marriage. The same goes for community debts. All debts acquired during the marriage also will be divided equally between the parties. Child custody, child visitation and child support and spousal support are all issues to be resolved.
If you ask any Orange County family lawyer, he or she will ask you why you wish to file a legal separation rather than a divorce. The answers vary. The couple is not quite sure that they want a divorce. They want some time to be separated to think things through and in the mean time divide everything and separate their lives. Other answers that an Orange County family lawyer might hear is that the couple just want to legally separate all their assets and debts and still be married. Yet some couples just aren’t sure what to do when they start having problems in the marriage. One party will file legal documents right away, sometimes just to show their spouse that they are serious. They will use a legal separation as a threat to get their spouse to do what they want. It is sad, but true.
The first thing that an Orange County family lawyer will warn against is that if there are children in the marriage. A legal separation will probably be harder on the children emotionally and physically than a divorce proceeding. The custody and visitation of the children should be immediately resolved. Hopefully, the separating couple will be able to come to an amicable agreement for the best interest of the children. However, if there are issues that cannot be resolved, the Court will still have to make orders regarding the children. But in reality, the order of the Court is just “temporary” in nature until the couple decides to either get back together or file for a divorce. In which case, the children will be in limbo until the Court makes final custody orders in a divorce proceeding. Be aware that not all temporary orders will be made permanent orders. It will depend on the circumstances at the time the final judgment for dissolution is signed by the Judge. So, the point is, ask for the advice of an Orange County family lawyer before filing any legal documents. Get information on all your options before making any decisions.