Legal Separation

Divorce Lawyer Legal Separation attorney San Jose Ane Murphy

Legally Separating From Partner

Being legally separated in California is something that few people understand. Some people believe that a legal separation is an interim stage, prior to a complete divorce. Others will ask for a legal separation assuming that it is cheaper or involves less paperwork than a divorce. However, neither of these assumptions is true. In fact, there is very little practical difference between divorce and a judgement of legal separation.

San Jose Legal Separation Lawyer

At the Law Office of Ane Murphy, we are experienced divorce and legal separation lawyers. We can explain all of the issues surrounding these legal proceedings and your options. Our attorneys provide customized and unique solutions in family law to each client, given his or her particular circumstances.

The Legal Separation Process

Obtaining a judgement of legal separation involves filing all the same paperwork you would file for a divorce. The only difference is that you check a different box on one of the forms. You must still file your petition for legal separation, complete the disclosures, serve the other party, and divide your assets and debts, and, if you have children, negotiate child custody and child support. If you and your spouse cannot agree on these issues, you will have to go through a trial.

At the end of the trial, if you checked the box asking for a legal separation, you will receive a judgment of legal separation instead of a divorce. However, your assets will have been divided, and child custody and support payments will be determined. In the future should you or your spouse wish to marry someone else, you will have to petition the court for divorce.

Given these disadvantages, there are only a few circumstances in which a legal separation is appropriate:

  • When you have not satisfied the residency requirements to obtain a divorce (but intend to amend your petition to seek a divorce once you have satisfied these requirements).
  • When your religious beliefs preclude divorce.
  • In order to maintain health insurance, retirement or other benefits for a spouse, if the provider allows such coverage for spouses legally separated pursuant to a judgment of legal separation.

Contact us at our Santa Clara, California, office to schedule an initial consultation with Ane Murphy, a legal separation attorney expert.