No relationship is perfect. While some marital problems can be resolved, others result in conversations about ending their union. Because there can be stigma surrounding getting a divorce and it can be a messy and complex process, spouses in California and elsewhere often wonder what options they have and if they truly need to dissolve their marriage through divorce.
Not all couples are ready to call it quits entirely. Divorce to them sounds official, severing the relationship forever. While this is true in the legal sense, if married spouses have some hope of the relationship being repaired in the future, it might be more appropriate to file for a legal separation.
While separation could occur informally, meaning that the couple lives in two residences or in the same household in separate areas, this will not change their marital status. However, a legal separation requires a legal proceeding that is similar to a divorce. It results in a settlement submitted by the couple or decided on by a judge. In essence, the couple still needs to address the division of assets, debts, child custody and alimony like a divorce.
Differences from divorce
In simple terms, the main difference between a divorce and a legal separation is the fact that a legal separation leaves the marriage still intact. In contrast, a divorce ends the marriage. If the couple does work through things and the marriage is repaired, the couple would need to get remarried if they decided to divorce. With a legal separation, the couple would need to ask the court to revoke the separation. This in turn ends the separation and reestablishes the marriage.
Marital problems are overwhelming, emotional and challenging. It can be hard to call it quits no matter the length of the marriage. As such, it is important to consider all of your options to address this and other family law matters.