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Riverside Lawyer Guides You Through the Legal Process of Separation

California family law attorney helps draft separation agreements

Divorce and separation in Riverside, California are more similar than you might think. When considering a time-out with his or her spouse, a person may believe separation is the answer. However, a legal separation under California law is not intended as a cooling-off period to sort out problems. Important permanent decisions are made during a legal separation. The Law Offices of Julie M. Hill offers legal separation and related family law services to Riverside and Inland Empire clients.

Understanding the purpose of legal separation in California

Divorce and legal separation are similar except that separation does not dissolve a marriage, meaning that the parties are not free to remarry. Unlike some states, California does not consider legal separation a remedy for uncertainty about divorce. If reconciliation is still a possibility in your marriage, you are better advised to consider marriage counseling or mediation services. The reasons to file a separation in California may include:

  • Religious, moral and/or ethical issues
  • Insufficient residency for divorce
  • Social Security eligibility or eligibility for other benefits
  • Continued health insurance coverage needs

Most frequently, legal separation is a temporary solution and is filed with the intention of eventually divorcing. If you ultimately decide to divorce during the separation, additional paperwork is filed to formally end your marriage.

How does a legal separation work?

Legal separation is only an option when both parties agree to it. Unlike divorce, which requires residency and a waiting period of six months to be finalized, legal separation can be granted immediately and carries no residency requirement. In a Riverside separation, our family law attorney works with you and a court to decide on all issues related to your marriage, including:

  • Property/debt division
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Child visitation

These issues can be litigated in court or decided through a marital separation agreement (MSA). A California separation agreement may cover all disputed issues including the financial responsibility for debt accrual during separation. You will also be able to decide which property is shared (marital property), and therefore split, and which property is separately owned. An MSA is not required before separating, but creating one can be considerably less stressful and less expensive than litigating your separation.

Trust an experienced Riverside divorce attorney to help you with your separation

A separation can be as emotionally stressful and overwhelming as a divorce, so it makes sense to seek skilled legal representation to successfully resolve every issue in your separation. As a Certified Family Law Specialist, attorney Julie M. Hill at the Law Offices of Julie M. Hill can provide valuable and compassionate legal advice. Call our office today at 888-860-6519 or contact us online to discuss your California legal separation.