Category: Law

Divorce, Annulment and Legal Separation and their Differences

No matter what the public says, going separate ways with your partner is not the end of the world. If anything, it’s one of the healthiest ways for both of you (and your children) to grow and find happiness elsewhere. We grow together, and we grow apart, and being rational and strong enough to understand when the time has come to call it quits is one of the most mature decisions you can make.

If you are in the life stage where staying together is no longer an option, there are three common ways to end the relationship: divorce, marriage annulment and legal separation. Read below to find out the difference between the three:

Divorce

A divorce is an official way to end your marriage or domestic partnership. Once you are divorced, you are free to enter new relationships, become a domestic partner or marry again as you are no longer tied to your (ex) partner in any legal way. After both parties sign divorce papers, each of the partners is considered single.  

During the divorce process, you are allowed to ask the judge for orders like spousal support, child support, custody and visitation, a division of property, domestic violence restraining orders, and other orders.

Divorce is also known as “dissolution of marriage” or “dissolution of domestic partnership.”

Legal Separation

Unlike divorce, a legal separation is not an official end to marriage or domestic partnership. If you are legally separated, you can’t marry anyone else. Legally, you are also not to enter partnerships with someone else other than your legal spouse; however, this rule is often broken as partners separate and start seeing other people.

A legal separation is the best option for couples who don’t want to get divorced but want to live apart. A legal separation gives equal rights to both parties to decide on property, money, and parenting issues. Couples who file for legal separation often still love each other but are going through a phase in their lives where they feel it’s important they figure their issues individually.

If you file for a legal separation, you may later ask the court to either withdraw your request or move onto a divorce.

Just as the case with divorce, a legal separation case allows you to ask the judge for orders like child support, partner support, spousal support, custody and visitation, domestic violence restraining orders, or any other requests.

Annulment

Annulments aren’t that common when it comes to partner separation. If you do ask for an annulment, you will have to go to hearing with a judge, anyhow. An annulment means that a partnership is NOT legally valid.

What is good cause for a marriage to be annulled? Usually, factors like incestuous or bigamous partnerships, relationships declared “void” because of fraud, force, physical or mental incapacity, one of the spouses was already married or in a registered domestic partnership, one of the spouses age (i.e. if they were too young to marry or enter into a domestic partnership legally,) and similar. Annulment is also called “nullity of marriage” or “nullity of domestic partnership.”

What about the children?

For spouses who have children in common, they both have the right to ask the judge for custody. The best way to establish this relationship is to consult with a lawyer and find the best option.

   Any form of separation is hard, mainly if you’ve spent a good part of your life with your partner. To make things run as smoothly as possible and avoid unpleasant situations, hire a lawyer or an advisor with years of experience in family law to help. Contact Platinum Paralegals for more information.

Quick Guide: Choosing The Correct Divorce Process

Wondering how to file a divorce and where to begin? Choosing the right divorce process is very important if you want to go through the experience as painless as possible. In this article, we will talk about the necessary steps you need to take to finish the divorce process correctly.

Preparing the Forms

If you want to start the divorce process without a lawyer, you will need to find and complete all the necessary forms by yourself. The good news is you can obtain these forms online on the California Courts website, and here you can also find instructions for each form in video and PDF format.

All California courts use the same primary forms, but there may be some additional forms required depending on where you live. You can find out whether there are any required additional forms in your particular courthouse on the website, too.

The Los Angeles Superior Court Website is an excellent place to learn what to expect. It provides links for all the local forms required by Los Angeles County judges.

When completing the forms, make sure you give detailed answers to all the questions asked. If you can, fill out the forms on a computer.

Filing the Forms

Once you feel you are ready, visit your local courthouse and ask to submit the divorce documents. The minimum of materials needed to file for divorce is the summons, petition, and in case you have children, the Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

Unless you complete a Request to Waive Court Fees, you will need to pay the necessary fee. If the court decides to grant your request and that you are unable to pay the fee, you won’t have to pay to file the documents.

Once you give the documents to the clerk, they will stamp them, and you will receive copies.

Serving the Forms

You should serve your spouse with the documents immediately after you’ve prepared and filed them. It is imperative that everyone knows what’s going on, and the service of process is critical in the legal system. Your spouse has to have their opportunity to “appear” or, in some cases, argue their point of view.

The service of the process makes sure that no one, not even your spouse, is ever ambushed in the courtroom.

If your spouse hasn’t hired a lawyer, then you should serve the forms to them directly. If your spouse has retained a lawyer, you will need to serve the lawyer at the lawyer’s office.

Financial Disclosures

Once the divorce process begins, you will have to provide information about your financial status to the court and your spouse. You will need to complete the Declaration of Disclosure and either the Financial Statement or the Income and Expense Declaration.  You will also need to complete forms regarding assets and debts, and a proof of service.

The documents in question detail each spouse’s financial situation, from employment status to liabilities and assets to monthly expenses.

Obtaining a lawyer or an advisor with years of experience in family law will make the whole divorce process more pleasant for you. Divorce isn’t easy, but with professionals at your side, it will be bearable. Contact Platinum Paralegals for more information.

Dogs Getting Married

US Divorce Rate Compared to Other Countries

Divorce may well be one of the most stressful events of a person’s life. Even with the right legal help, divorce is often exhausting mentally, emotionally, and financially. It’s not uncommon to hear pundits discuss the fall of the American family and rise of divorce rates. But how does the United States compare to the rest of the world in terms of divorce rates?

What Is the Divorce Rate in Mexico?

According to this useful map found on Business Insider, as of 2014, the divorce rate in Mexico was between 10 and 19 percent as of 2014. This is substantially lower than many countries across the globe, including the divorce rate in the United States.

On the same map, the United States divorce rate is estimated at between 50 percent and 59 percent. And in 2017, the divorce rate in US vs other countries was perhaps surprisingly low. The United States ranked 12th in terms of divorce rates, with 46 percent of marriages ending in divorce.

Have the Us Divorce Rates Gone Up Over the Past 20 Years?

Man drawing line from ladder

It’s commonly said that divorce is happening with increasing frequency, but is this true? In order find out, it may be helpful to look at the US divorce rate over time for the past 20 years in the United States. As this analysis shows, divorce rates have actually gone slightly down in the past 20 years. In fact, in 2016, divorce rates in the United States reached an almost 40-year low. While divorce rates for the past 20 years have gone down, marriage rates have also gone up.

Which Country Has the Highest Rate of Divorce?

While the US divorce rate over time has been dropping, some other countries have seen an increase in divorce rates for the past 20 years. For those interested in the divorce rate in US vs other countries, in 2017, the United States ranked 12th in the world in terms of percentages of marriages that end in divorce. Despite this, it’s often said that the U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the developed world.

The country with the highest percentage of divorce may surprise you–it is Luxembourg, one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Luxembourg’s divorce rate was 67 percent. Because the wealthy tend to have the financial resources necessary to pursue divorce, it’s possible that divorce cost in other countries (as well as in the United States) may work as a deterrent to poorer citizens who are considering divorce.

Luxembourg’s divorce rate was 67 percent. Because the wealthy tend to have the financial resources necessary to pursue divorce, it’s possible that divorce cost in other countries (as well as in the United States) may work as a deterrent to poorer citizens who are considering divorce.

Which Country Has the Highest Cost for a Divorce?

This leads us to our next topic–what is the divorce cost in other countries? Because of the cost of divorce varies dramatically by state and region, as well as they type of divorce pursued, it is very difficult to determine which nation has the most expensive divorce. For instance, while the United States has had some of the most expensive divorces in history, it is also possible, in the case of a summary divorce, to have a divorce that costs virtually nothing.

If you find yourself in need of a divorce, or if you just want to explore your options, Platinum Paralegals can help. With us, you get excellent legal advice for a fraction of the cost of an attorney’s fee. In addition, because paralegals don’t spend as much time in the courtroom as an attorney does, you don’t need to worry about waiting long hours for your legal representative to call you back. If you are seeking general advice about divorce, or if you’re ready for a case evaluation, get in touch with us via phone or web form today!

Parental Leave

Paternity, Maternity, and Parental Leave Differences and Similarities in California

When you think of family law, you may think primarily of divorce and legal separation. However, part of family law includes the issue of maternity vs paternity leave and other concerns regarding parental leave California 2017. Below, we’ll examine current policy definitions of maternity and paternity leave California.

What Is the Policy of a Paternity Leave?

While not all states offer paternity leave, California offers a maximum of six weeks of paid family leave for new fathers. New fathers do not need to take all six weeks of leave at once–they are legally allowed to break it up and take portions of their leave gradually.

  1. In order to be eligible for paternity leave California, a new father must meet the following requirements:
  2. Have become a father biologically, through adoption, or through foster care in the past 12 months
  3. Have paid into the state’s disability insurance program within the past five to 18 months
  4. Not have used the maximum six weeks of paid leave in the past 12 months

Depending on where you live in California, your employer may also legally be obligated to offer supplemental benefits to you while you take parental leave California 2017. If you are unsure whether this is an option for you, it’s a good idea to check with your employer.

What Is the Policy of a Maternity Leave?

You are entitled to paid time off when you take paternity or maternity leave in the state of California, but as far as the issue of maternity vs paternity leave, new mothers may be eligible for additional benefits. Even before filing for paid family leave, pregnant women may be eligible for up to four weeks of disability insurance prior to the pregnancy due date.

After the child is born (or if you become a mother through adoption, a partner’s pregnancy, or foster care), you may be eligible for the maximum of six weeks of paid family leave. The eligibility requirements for maternity leave California 2018 are the same as those listed above for paternity leave.

The eligibility requirements for maternity leave California 2018 are the same as those listed above for paternity leave.

How Is a Parental Leave Different or the Same as a Paternity or Maternity Leave?

You may think at first that parental leaver, paternity leave, and maternity leave California 2018 are all essentially the same. However, legally, “parental leave” may be offered in addition to maternity or paternity leave. In January 2018, a new law took effect in which employees of eligible employers were offered the benefit of 12 weeks of job-protected leave. This new law was designed to improve the health of both new parents and their children.

Is There a Price Difference Between Any One of the Three Types of Leaves?

businessman with piggy bank and coins at office

Because the three types of leave are funded by disability insurance programs (in which workers have a small amount of each paycheck deducted), there is not necessarily a price difference between the three. But the new parental leave act, which allows extended time off for those employed by larger corporations, comes at an additional cost to taxpayers.

If you are a new parent or planning on becoming one, understanding your rights when it comes to paid family leave can be confusing. If you find yourself in need of legal counsel or assistance, don’t hesitate to contact Platinum Paralegals. Our knowledgeable team can offer you quality legal advice at a fraction of the cost of a traditional attorney’s fee. If you are looking for general information or if you have a specific concern about family leave, get in touch with Platinum Paralegals today!

Divorce Decree Document

What Is a Summary Dissolution in California?

To the uninitiated, divorce may sound like a one-size-fits-all process. However, depending on the length of time a couple has been married and the complexity of their assets, there may be simpler ways to handle a split. In the state of California, a couple who meets certain requirements may qualify for a summary dissolution, which is a less expensive and less time-consuming process than traditional divorce.

Advantages of a Summary Dissolution Vs a Divorce?

For those asking, “what is a summary dissolution in California?” the main advantage of a summary dissolution is the dramatic reduction in time spent in court, paperwork filed, and court fees. In fact, in some cases, a couple in California who cannot afford filing fees for a dissolution may be eligible for a fee waiver.

Because there are so few shared assets and no child custody decisions to be made in a summary dissolution, the time between filing and a final, legal end to a marriage is shorter. This is because, in more complex divorce situations, time must be spent in and out of court deciding on child custody and the splitting of assets. The time needed to do so may be even greater in the event of a contested divorce, or when the parties have different ideas of who should receive what.

For those asking, “what is a summary dissolution in California?” the main advantage of a summary dissolution is the dramatic reduction in time spent in court, paperwork filed, and court fees. In fact, in some cases, a couple in California who cannot afford filing fees for a dissolution may be eligible for a fee waiver.

What Are the Requirements for a Summary Dissolution?

If you find yourself asking “What is a summary dissolution in California?” the first step is looking at what is required to qualify for this option. While the requirements are somewhat stringent, they are likely to apply to young, relatively poor, or recently married couples. Requirements for a summary dissolution California include the following:

1.The marriage has lasted five or fewer years
2.Neither member of the couple has any children
3.Neither member is pregnant
4.Neither member owns land or buildings
5.The couple’s community property (excluding vehicles) is worth under $43,000
6.Neither member has separate property (excluding vehicles) worth over $43,000
7.The couple’s total community obligations (excluding vehicles) is $6,000 or less

What Are the Requirements for a Divorce?

If you’re asking, “What are the requirements for a divorce?” you may be relieved to know that, unlike the requirements for a summary dissolution, the requirements for a divorce in California are much less stringent than those for a summary dissolution.

Generally speaking, the only requirements to initiate divorce proceedings are that the couple legally resides in California and is married. In order to establish legal residency in the state, the couple must have lived in California for at least six months.

How Much Is the Cost of a Summary Dissolution in California?

How much concept.

Because the process is much less arduous than that of divorce, the cost of summary dissolution in California is much less than the cost of divorce. The exact cost may depend on a few factors, including the county in which the couple is located and whether or not they seek legal counsel. However, as noted above, if the couple is unable to pay, the cost of summary dissolution in California may be waived entirely.

If you are considering ending your marriage and believe you may qualify for a summary dissolution, Platinum Paralegals can help. For a fraction of the cost of consulting with an attorney, you can receive expert legal guidance that will expedite the process. Ending a marriage is rarely easy, but the right legal guidance can at least help make it more simple. Get in touch with Platinum Paralegals today!

Last Will And Testament

What Is a Pour Over Will?

Although thinking about death is often difficult, the fact is that making provisions for the distribution of your assets and the care of your loved ones is a vital part of estate planning. And the more complex your assets are, the more important it is to have a well-thought-out estate plan. Deciding what type of will you need can be a challenge, but for those with a large estate or living trust, a pour over will can save significant time in probate (as well as save your loved ones emotional distress).

What is a Pour Over Will?

In short, this type of will is one that creates a “safety net.” Essentially, this type of will states that if you have any property that has not been placed in a living trust, it must be sent to that trust when you die. This is a safety net because it ensures that, if you forget to direct any of your property to your living trust before your death, that property will be directed there.

Essentially, this type of will states that if you have any property that has not been placed in a living trust, it must be sent to that trust when you die.

Does a Pour Over Will Need to Be Notarized?

While notarization is an option, not all of these wills need to be notarized. If you are asking “Does a pour over will need to be notarized?” you may be surprised to know that, generally speaking, wills must be witnessed, but not necessarily notarized.

However, one of these wills that has been notarized may be considered to be self-proving, meaning that witnesses do not need to be found later by the court.

How Is a Pour Over Will Different Than a Trust?

This type of will is different than a trust in the sense that it needs to work with a trust. If you’re asking “What is a pour over will?” you may not realize that this type of will essentially works to make sure that everything you intended to go into the trust goes there.

With this type of will, it is ensured that your estate’s executor will determine who receives the assets that are “poured” into the trust in the event of your death. By contrast, if your assets are not put into your trust, state law will be used to determine which of your beneficiaries receives them.

Does a Pour Over Will Avoid Probate?

Estate planning diagram

Asking “Does a pour over will avoid probate?” is a logical question, since it would seem that anything that is poured back to the trust would not need to be probated. However, while assets passed into your living trust during your lifetime avoid probate, assets that are poured in will still need to pass through probate.

However, while this may delay the distribution of your assets, it still may be preferable to the alternative, which is using state law (and not your estate’s executor) to determine what goes to whom. If you want to ensure that your assets go to certain people, then taking the time to create this type of will along with your trust is well worth it.

Whether or not you need this type of will is a personal decision, although, generally speaking, having one if you have a trust is a good idea. If you are getting together a will or estate plan and find yourself in need of assistance, give Platinum Paralegals a call.

We are able to offer you quality legal guidance at a fraction of the cost of an attorney. Additionally, our paralegals can be reached 24/7, so you don’t have to worry about waiting long hours for an attorney to contact you after you call.

Divorce word blob

Differences Between an Anulment Vs a Divorce?

To those unfamiliar with the law and how it relates to marriage, it may seem as though a divorce and an annulment are similar things. However, there are important differences between the two, and each couple’s situation will help determine whether they should pursue divorce or annulment. But first, an understanding of these different terms is necessary.

What Is an Annulment?

Legally speaking, an annulment means that a marriage has been declared null and void by the court. Unlike a divorce, which is the legal dissolution of a marriage, an annulment means that, in the eyes of the law, a marriage never even happened. Not all marriages are eligible for this, however. Those asking “What is an annulment?” may be surprised to find that there are a few annulment requirements, which are detailed below.

What Is a Divorce?

In an uncontested divorce, the couple works together to determine divorce terms. This means that the proceedings are generally faster than they would be if the couple needs to spend more time in court. Additionally, uncontested divorce offers considerable savings on attorney fees. While attorneys aren’t required for divorce, legal representation is recommended.

Couples may want to opt for paralegal help in the event of uncontested divorce. This means that they still can receive legal guidance, but for a fraction of the cost of an attorney’s help. By contrast, a contested divorce involves more money and time, as couples who choose this option often disagree over the division of assets, child custody, etc.

Couples may want to opt for paralegal help in the event of uncontested divorce. This means that they still can receive legal guidance, but for a fraction of the cost of an attorney’s help. By contrast, a contested divorce involves more money and time, as couples who choose this option often disagree over the division of assets, child custody, etc.

Requirements for an Annulment

Compared to the requirements for a divorce, requirements for annulment are somewhat stringent. When considering an annulment vs divorce, a couple may want to consider whether their marriage meets annulment requirements.

For a marriage to be declared null and void, the party initiating the divorce needs to prove that one member of the couple was already married to another person during the marriage in question.

The marriage was forced or prohibited by law, or that one member of the couple was emotionally disturbed or mentally ill at the time of the marriage and therefore could not consent to it.

Additionally, if the marriage involves someone who is underage or otherwise unable to legally consent, the marriage can be annulled. If fraud was involved or if there was an inability to consummate the marriage, it may also be declared null. Each state may also have additional requirements for determining whether a marriage can be nullified as well.

Requirements for a Divorce

Sad divorced wife

In trying to determine whether an annulment vs divorce is most appropriate, it may be helpful to remember that, in many cases, divorce is the option chosen for the dissolution of a marriage. While the requirements for pursuing this option may vary depending on where you are.

In California, in order to legally file for divorce, the couple must meet residency requirements, meaning that they must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing. After that, the couple and/or their legal counsel can work on determining the best filing option.

Divorce and annulment are often challenging topics to navigate, but the right legal guidance can help those facing the dissolution of marriage to make the right choices and lead happier lives. If you are in need of legal assistance, contact Platinum Paralegals today!

 

Expensive Divorce

Inexpensive Vs Expensive States for Getting a Divorce

Most people, when they say “I do,” envision being happily married forever. And while that may well be the case for some, many marriages ultimately end in divorce. We all know that divorce is usually rife with emotional turmoil, but it can also be the catalyst for financial turmoil as well. Divorcing your spouse can be incredibly expensive, with some estimates placing the cost of divorce at $15,000 or more.

Those who are just beginning to explore the possibility of divorce may find themselves asking “What is the cost of a divorce?” before anything. However, adding to the complexity of divorce is the fact that some states are significantly more expensive than others when it comes to divorce. And while it may seem unilaterally better to be in an inexpensive state, there are pros and cons to each.

Pros of Inexpensive States

One of the pros of living in a state where divorce prices are inexpensive is the fact that your divorce, regardless of complexity, will likely be less expensive than it would be in a more expensive state. Particularly if you’re short on funds, you should have less of a difficult time finding a lawyer who provides the services you need for a price you can afford. Because the baseline cost of divorce in these states is lower, even some of the most affordable lawyers will likely be able to provide excellent service for even the most inexpensive divorce.

Cons of Inexpensive States

Cheap Divorce

If you live in a state where the base cost of divorce is low, you’re likely in luck – an inexpensive divorce may well be in your future. However, in these states, you may soon realize that, if you want to hire an excellent lawyer or one who provides additional services, you will still need to pay more. It’s important to realize that analyses of cost of divorce per state look at averages, so many of the most acclaimed lawyers (or those who go above and beyond the minimum

Pros of Expensive States

You may wonder how a state with some of the highest divorce prices has any pros when it comes to pursuing a divorce. However, a possibly surprising upside to divorcing in a state with a high average cost of divorce is the fact that many of these states have legal or paralegal firms who are more than happy to work with you for a much lower cost.

For instance, Platinum Paralegals will beat any competitor’s advertised price when it comes to divorce proceedings. We understand that divorce is stressful enough. And with California being one of the most expensive states to divorce, we realize that sometimes, those seeking a divorce need an economical alternative to popular divorce lawyers.

Cons of Expensive States

If your funds are limited and you live in a state where divorce is expensive, chances may be good that you can’t afford divorce. While there generally are options available for those who need to divorce but can’t afford it, even pursuing these options can cause significant stress on top of the realization that you and your spouse need a divorce. Making any divorce an expensive divorce is enough to make anyone panic.

While there generally are options available for those who need to divorce but can’t afford it, even pursuing these options can cause significant stress on top of the realization that you and your spouse need a divorce. Making any divorce an expensive divorce is enough to make anyone panic.

Even if you can afford an expensive divorce, pursuing one in a state where divorce is more expensive may still cause some financial hardship. If you are concerned about cost, investigating lower-cost divorce options may be helpful.

No matter where you live, divorce can be a headache. And if you’ve just begun asking “what is the cost of a divorce?” it is likely a good idea to start thoroughly evaluating your options. If you are unsure of where to begin, give Platinum Paralegals a call!

What Is a Holographic Will?

What Is a Holographic Will?

For many people, the thought of passing away and leaving loved ones to manage their estate is a somewhat scary thought. In order to alleviate anxiety around this possibility, many people opt to create a will. While there are several types of wills to choose from, some people opt for a holographic will, or a will that is entirely handwritten and signed by the testator, or creator of the will.

Is a Holographic Will Needed?

Generally speaking, a holographic will is more likely to end up argued over in court when compared to other will types. If you are someone with significant assets or someone whose estate is especially complex, it may be best to choose a different will type to ensure that your assets are distributed as you intended. If you find yourself asking “what is a holographic will?” it may be helpful to briefly familiarize yourself with different will types

If you are someone with significant assets or someone whose estate is especially complex, it may be best to choose a different will type to ensure that your assets are distributed as you intended.

However, if your will is fairly simple, or if you have no means to pay for an attorney or other legal assistance, a holographic will may be your best choice. Now that you’ve answered the question “what is a holographic will?”, it may be best to enlist legal help in order to determine whether this is the best will type for you.

Does a Holographic Will Need to Be Witnessed?

What Is a Good Holographic Will?

Whether or not your holographic will needs to be notarized depends on a few things. And while you may be asking “does a holographic will need to be witnessed?” there isn’t always a simple answer.Some states may require that two disinterested individuals (people who don’t stand to benefit from the will) witness the signing.

However, for states that don’t require the signing of a holographic will to be witnessed, it is often necessary to have two people testify in court that the handwriting and signature is that of the testator. Generally speaking, it may be less complicated to have the signing of the will witnessed, since proving the will is yours may not always be possible in court. Having witnesses may be able to speed up the distribution of your assets as well.

How to Notarize a Holographic Will

In general, a holographic will does not need witness signatures. However, in order to reduce the likelihood of your will being disputed in court, it may be helpful to have witnesses when you sign. Choosing two disinterested people to watch you sign is best, and it also is a good idea to have these people sign the will with you. This will generally speed up the probate process, which can make things easier on a deceased person’s loved ones.

Why You Need a Holographic Will

A holographic will is often the easiest type of will to create, and some states do not require a will of this type to be notarized. In some cases, simply creating a holographic will that is legible and organized is enough. However, state laws vary when it comes to the acceptability of holographic wills. They are legally recognized in California, but if you live in a different state, it is vital to check and see whether a holographic will is legally acceptable where you live.

One thing you can do to reduce the risk of a holographic will failing in probate is to create a self-proving affidavit, or form that verifies that you are the testator of the will. While these forms aren’t required in California, those in other states may find the creation of a self-proving affidavit to be useful.

Whether you are planning on creating a holographic will and just need guidance, or you aren’t sure what type of will to create, Platinum Paralegals can help. Our paralegals can help you plan and draft a will at a fraction of the cost of hiring an attorney. With paralegal assistance, you can be assured that your last will is clear and legally acceptable so your loved ones will be taken care of after your death. Give us a call today!

What Is the Difference Between a Legal Separation and Divorce?

Most couples enter into marriage under the assumption that it will be forever. Unfortunately, any number of circumstances can arise that make it impossible for the parties to remain together. When this occurs, the couple typically files for a legal separation or a divorce. Common questions from couples considering either of these options include:

What Is the Difference Between a Legal Separation and a Divorce in California?

Couples typically file for legal separation when they no longer want to live together in the marital home but they are not yet ready to officially dissolve the marriage. A legal separation decree outlines the rights and duties of both parties while living apart; however, they do remain married.

Couples may also consider legal separation if they do not meet California’s six-month residency requirement for filing divorce. Since there is no residency requirement for filing for legal separation, a couple can file as soon as they move to California, which allows them to be considered separate for tax and other financial purposes, and then convert the separation to a divorce after six months.

Divorce Papers

What Are the Requirements for a Legal Seperation?

California is a “no-fault” state, which means that you do not have to prove that your spouse did anything wrong in order to file for a legal separation. The responding spouse must either agree to the separation or default by failing to respond to the petition. The actual process for filing is very similar to a divorce. A petition is filed, the parties disclose their finances and other assets to the court, and the parties either reach a settlement agreement or the court decides financial, property, and custody issues during a trial. The court then enters a decree of separation specifying each spouse’s rights and obligations during the separation.

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Is a Legal Separation Reversible?

A couple can reverse a legal separation by filing a Motion to Vacate Order of Legal Separation. The parties will need to explain that they have never filed or received a divorce and that they have reconciled.

How Does a Legal Separation Protect You?

A decree of legal separation addresses many of the same issues as a divorce decree, including spousal and child support, child custody and visitation arrangements, and the division of any property.

A decree of legal separation addresses many of the same issues as a divorce decree, including spousal and child support, child custody and visitation arrangements, and the division of any property.

How Does a Legal Separation Protect You Financially?

A legal separation may offer financial protection to both spouses. If spousal support is included in the agreement, the spouse who is paying may be able to claim the payments as a tax deduction. The agreement can specify that a spouse who is covered under the other spouse’s health insurance is to remain covered during the separation. The agreement can also outline who is responsible for certain debts and set limits on spending from joint accounts. If you have not been married for 10 years, you can separate and delay divorcing until you reach the 10-year mark in order to draw from your spouse’s social security benefits when you reach 62.

What Is the Cost of a Legal Separation in California?

The actual cost of a legal separation can vary depending on the complexity of the issues to be resolved. Contact Platinum Paralegals today to arrange a consultation.