While nobody enters into a relationship expecting it to end, couples still break up for different reasons. Every year, thousands of couples end their marriages through various legal procedures such as a divorce, annulment, or legal separation. However, all these legal options for marriage dissolution have costs called “court fees.” This means that if you are requesting a legal separation in California, you will need to pay a court fee for your case to be heard. The Ventura legal separation lawyers at the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, invite you to keep reading as we further discuss the costs associated with legal separation and explain how it differs from other marriage dissolution options.

How Much Will Filing for Legal Separation Cost Me in California?

Legal separation is a standard process involving the termination of a couple. Different from a divorce, legal separation allows a married couple to live separately while maintaining their “married” status. During a legal separation, couples retain the same responsibilities and obligations even though they no longer live together. Moreover, the now-separated spouses keep the same rights. This process can be overwhelming for couples who are filing for legal separation for the first time.

If you are filing for legal separation in California, you may wonder how much it will cost you. California has what is known as the Statewide Civil Fee Schedule. Within this listing, you can find the costs associated with court fees. Generally, the fee for filing a legal separation petition with the court will be $435. This fee applies not only to the filing but also to any response you might submit. Contact a Ventura divorce attorney for more information about navigating these fees.

Understanding the Legal Separation Process in California

A legal separation is one of three ways a person can legally end a marriage in California. The other two ways a couple can end their marriage is through a divorce or annulment. There are key differences between these three options, which we explain below.


An annulment is a legal process through which the court will dissolve a marriage. All annulment cases involve situations where the court determines that the marriage is invalid due to specific circumstances. For instance, the court can grant an annulment if they find that the relationship was incestuous, was a result of coercion, or was otherwise forced. When the court annuls a marriage, it ends all privileges and obligations between the couple.


A divorce is a legal process through which the court ends a marriage. Divorced couples end their relationship, which allows them to find another partner and remarry. After a divorce is granted, the court will divide property and determine the parties’ responsibilities, such as paying child support or alimony, among other things.

Legal Separation

Couples can also end their relationship through a legal separation. However, this legal process is very different from the rest. For instance, the main difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that in a legal separation, the couple is still married, even though they are legally separated – not living under the same roof.  Unlike a divorce, couples in legal separation are not allowed to remarry or enter into a new domestic relationship legally. They are only allowed to separate their property and responsibilities such as child custody, child support, alimony, and other obligations.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Legal Separation?

If you are going through a legal separation, you should consider having reliable, experienced legal support by your side. There are several issues involving legal rights that may affect you that a family law attorney in Ventura can help you with. For instance, one of the most common problems arising in a legal separation process is child support. The state of California takes child support extremely seriously. One of the spouses will eventually have the responsibility of making child support payments to the non-custodial parent. Not having legal representation by your side can put you at a disadvantage if your spouse has legal guidance.

Having experienced legal assistance can help you make informed decisions, have a better chance at negotiating terms with your spouse, and get you the most favorable outcome possible. Many legal separations end in divorce. Negotiating your conditions before the divorce can make that process less contentious and more straightforward. Additionally, retaining the services of a skilled, dedicated, and experienced family law attorney can help you understand how the whole process works.

Family Law Attorneys Handling Legal Separation Cases in California

The Ventura family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, understand how overwhelming and confusing a legal separation can be. That is why we dedicate ourselves to working tirelessly to fight for your rights throughout this process. Thanks to decades of hands-on experience, we are able to inform you about every step in the legal separation process. Do not attempt to negotiate terms before talking to a skilled and dedicated lawyer who can defend your rights. To discuss your case in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.