How to File for Legal Separation in California
At the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, we understand the difficulties and the stress that comes with a legal separation. That is why we handle every case with sensibility, respect, and commitment. You do not have to go through your separation alone. Let our more than two decades of experience, skill, and knowledge help you through the process of filing for legal separation.
To learn more about your case in a free, confidential consultation with one of our experienced lawyers, call our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.
What is a Legal Separation?
Legal separation is a process through which couples separate but remain married. During this period, the couple can live apart but cannot remarry. Additionally, neither spouse is allowed to remarry while legally separated. Only through a divorce can a couple can enter into another marriage. Many couples resort to this legal recourse to end a relationship without losing specific benefits of marriage, such as healthcare plan coverage.
Do I Need a Separation Agreement?
Through the formal separation process, much like in divorce cases, the couples will need to make important decisions regarding custody, child support, property division, and other legal matters. While dealing with these issues can happen as part of the separation process, entering into a separation agreement can help you save time and money by agreeing ahead of time.
A separation agreement is a legally binding contract where the couple agrees to address all the essential aspects of the separation which include:
- Deciding child support and visitation
- Dividing living expenses
- Managing assets during separation
- Property division
Unlike the formal separation process, a separation agreement can be done without the intervention of the court. However, if the separating couple cannot reach an agreement, then the court may step in. Our skilled lawyers have extensive experience handling family law cases in California. This type of legal process requires extreme attention to detail and caution. An experienced family law attorney can guide you through the process.
Filing for Legal Separation in California
The first step in your legal separation process is establishing the grounds for the separation. In the State of California, you can separate from your spouse in two instances: you can legally separate or divorce your spouse based on incurable insanity or irreconcilable differences. Most legal separation cases happen because of the latter.
Irreconcilable differences refer to circumstances within the marriage that have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marital relationship. Common examples of irreconcilable differences include lack of communication, lack of sexual intimacy, debt problems, and other issues affecting the marriage.
Once the couple has decided the grounds for their legal separation, they have to fill Form FL-100. This legal Form used to star an uncontested divorce process. An uncontested divorce is one where both parties have agreed on all terms established on their separation agreement. As a requisite, at least one of the spouses must have been a legal resident of the state at least six months prior to filing their FL-100.
Once you have completed your FL-100, you should also fill out Form FL-110. An FL-110 is also called a summons. You will need to provide some general information about the petitioner and the respondent. This Form also contains the restrictions both the petitioner and the respondents must abide by. These restrictions stop you from moving any minor from their state, applying for a new passport for any minor without the express consent of the other parent, and disposing of property without the express permission of the other spouse.
Once you have completed the forms, it is essential to review all the documents before filing them with the court. Filing an inaccurate and incomplete FL-100 can hurt your case. While most of these errors can be fixed, they can cost you money, time, and unnecessary stress down the road.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for My Legal Separation Case?
Retaining the services of an experienced family law attorney can help you understand and file your legal separation documents on time. Additionally, if you are considering a separation agreement, a skilled lawyer can help you draft a sound legal document that complies with California’s family law statutes.
Family Law Attorney Offering Free Consultations in California
If you or someone you know is considering a legal separation in California, the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth can help. For more than a decade, we have been providing individualized legal services. We always go the extra mile in all of our cases and fight aggressively and strategically for our clients. Let us take some of the stress off your shoulders during such difficult times. To learn more about filing for legal separation or divorce in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.