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Using legal separation en route to divorce or as an alternative

Marriages can sometimes be difficult and complex. The decision to divorce may be motivated by a variety of reasons that may be quite complicated. For California residents who find themselves unsure about divorce, it can be helpful to seek information on another option -- legal separation.

While it does not do to enter hastily into divorce, there are times when it is preferable for spouses to create some distance between themselves in order to allow them the space necessary to assess the status of their relationship. A separation may occasionally become the basis of a reconciliation; however, when that is not possible, it can also become the foundation upon which to build a solid divorce case. There are many steps in the divorce process, and legal separation can sometimes be the first step.

While California has a no-fault divorce policy, there is a state residency requirement of six months before one can legally file for divorce. There is no such requirement in order to file for legal separation. In addition, legal separation takes effect almost immediately, while divorce takes some time to become final. 

As with divorce, legal separation requires the appropriate advice and guidance to establish that it is the best course of action to take. It may help one to put agreements in place that formalize important details, such as child custody, while more complex details, such as property division, are discussed at greater length. Keeping communication lines open will assist greatly at any stage of separation or divorce.

Source: newswire.net, "Divorce vs Legal Separation in California", John James, Nov. 6, 2015

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