Separation or Legal Separation

A married couple is determined to be “separated” when they are living apart where one party has the intent not to reconcile. This date of separation is important when determining the length of spousal support, the extent of property rights, and pension rights. The length of your marriage is the time between your marriage date and the date of separation.

No Court papers need to be filed to establish the date of separation. Many people confuse their date of separation with Legal Separation. Legal Separation is one of the choices, along with Dissolution (Divorce) and Nullity, when filing the case with the Court.

A legal Separation is requested when the parties want to avoid a conflict with their religious beliefs, want to preserve insurance benefits for a spouse who needs continuing care, or to acquire military or social security benefits. With Legal Separation you are still legally married.

Another advantage to filing a Legal Separation in lieu of a divorce is to avoid jurisdictional requirements. For example, to file for divorce, you must be a resident of the State of California for 6 months, and a resident of the County in which you are filing for 3 months , prior to filing your case. When you file and request a Legal Separation you do not have to meet the jurisdictional requirement and can later amend your Petition to request Dissolution (Divorce).

For help, Call David C. Winslow at 949-262-3434 or email directly at

©2011 David C. Winslow - Family Law Attorney
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Irvine, California 92612