Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation, it’s best to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.
Even though most married couples plan on spending the rest of their lives together, separations are very common. There may come a point in your own marriage where splitting up becomes a real possibility, and you should spend some time researching all your options before you make any important decisions. Many people are surprised to hear there are three different types of separation, and each one of those options has its own pros and cons. It’s important to keep in mind that even informal separations have legal consequences in California. For example, community property doesn’t accumulate. Here’s a brief description of each type of separation, brought to you by the experienced professionals from Divorce Options San Diego, divorce mediators San Diego couples trust to develop creative solutions that leave both parties satisfied and ready to move on with their lives.
1. Trial Separation
As the name implies, a trial separation takes place for a finite period of time. Most couples who choose trial separation do so because they need to spend some time apart but would like to reconcile at some point in the future. During this type of separation, the couple is still legally married, and all of the same laws apply.
Before a trial separation, it’s always a good idea to sit down with your partner and write down an informal agreement. The agreement can include common issues that might pop up, such as who will stay in the current residence and which parties are going to have access to the various financial accounts. If kids are involved, the couple must decide where the kids are going to live and which parent will be responsible for them.
2. Permanent Separation
It’s an unfortunate fact that some couples can’t reconcile, which could result in a permanent separation. When a couple is permanently separated, their marital status isn’t going to change. Even if they live in different homes and create new lives for themselves, they’ll continue to be married. That being said, almost every other aspect of their lives is going to change. Most couples will evaluate and separate all their assets and mutual debts.
There are many different reasons people remain married even though they’re living separate lives. For some people, staying legally married can help with insurance coverage. Others stay legally married simply because it seems like an easier option than getting divorced. Religious factors can play a major role as well, and a legal separation could go against one’s beliefs.
3. Legal Separation
Even if a couple hasn’t been living together or speaking to one another for many years, they aren’t legally separated unless they go through a family court. A legal separation is very similar to a divorce, but the couple’s marital status doesn’t change. Much like a permanent separation, some people choose this option because divorcing is frowned upon in certain cultures and religions. Health insurance and other financial issues can make legal separations appealing as well.
During a legal separation, the judge will essentially treat the couple as if they’re going through a divorce. All their mutual assets and debts will be evaluated and split up. Once the legal separation has gone through, the couple is essentially divorced in everything but name.
For couples who aren’t quite ready for divorce, Divorce Options San Diego can mediate their legal separations. We help couples divide assets and debts and make legally binding agreements about child custody, child support, spousal support, and health care. If couples do choose to divorce and want the opportunity to make the process as smooth, respectful, and amicable as possible, there is an alternative to the animosity and high costs of traditional divorce: divorce mediation. San Diego couples can rely on Divorce Options San Diego’s expert divorce mediators to handle every aspect of their divorces, and there will be no need to spend a small fortune on litigation. To learn more about how we can help with legal separation and divorce mediation, call the experienced mediators from Divorce Options San Diego today at (858) 281-2628.