When your marriage is not working and you want to separate, you have two options: Legal Separation or Divorce. Legally separated vs divorced, what’s the difference? The main difference is that a divorce is permanent whereas a legal separation is temporary and can be reversed. Let’s go into more detail about each.
In California, a legal separation is an official court order. Once legally separated, you and your spouse can live in separate homes and live separate lives. However, because you are not divorced, you cannot remarry. Benefits of a legal separation include
- it allows you to live apart without formally ending your marriage
- if your religion or beliefs forbid divorce, then a legal separation will give you the freedom you want without going through with a divorce
- it allows you to retain some of the benefits of being married such as being on your spouse’s health insurance plan, getting tax benefits, getting government benefits like social security
- In California, you can file for divorce if at least one of you has lived in California for 6 months or more. If you do not meet this condition then a legal separation will allow you to live separately until you are eligible to get a divorce.
A divorce is the dissolution of a marriage; it is the permanent end of your marriage. Once divorced, you are legally single and you can remarry. You can no longer be on your spouse’s health insurance and you cannot claim tax benefits.
In terms of process, legal separated & divorced go through very similar processes, namely:
- you will need to file for legal separation (or divorce) with the court.
- you will need to exchange mandatory disclosures of assets and liabilities
- you will need to agree on how the assets and debts will be divided
- you will need to agree on spousal support and custody of children
- if you cannot agree to any of the above, a judge will hear your case and make the decisions for you.
Need more information on the difference between legally separated vs divorced? Please contact Scott Levin by Email or telephone: (858) 255-1321 for help in filing documents for a legal separtion or a divorce.