Oxnard Legal Separation Lawyer
Sometimes, divorce is not an immediate option. Many couples go through hard times and may use legal separation as a trial-run for divorce to see if they truly want to get divorced. Others may use separation as an ongoing solution if they or their families are against divorce. In any case, you may be able to seek legal separation whether or not you want it eventually finalized as a full divorce.
There are multiple legal issues that come up in separation cases, similar to what happens in a divorce case. The Oxnard legal separation attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth can help with your legal separation case and work to ensure that you have ongoing spousal support to cover your needs, that any children you share have proper support orders in place, and that your assets and money are protected during the separation. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.
How Does Legal Separation Work in California?
Separation can be effectively treated as divorce, but there are certain factors that make it different. During a legal separation, the spouses usually live apart, stop associating as spouses, and typically keep separate finances. However, the parties are still married, which may have effects on their ability to buy or dispose of some property and, of course, prevents them from remarrying.
You can informally separate whenever you want by simply splitting up. The government has no control over how spouses have to act, and a married couple can break-up like any non-married couple if they decide to. However, to get a legal separation, you need to file in court. This filing is very similar to divorce, and it can actually be amended into a divorce petition later if you decide to transform the separation into a divorce.
While you are separated, you may be able to reap some continuing benefits of marriage, but you may also reap benefits you would normally only receive after divorce. Since you are still legally married, you may still qualify for certain benefits through your spouse, like Social Security or health insurance. However, you may also begin to divide your property rights and income as if you were already divorced, seek spousal support, get child support and custody orders in place, and take care of other divorce issues.
Property Division in CA Separation Cases
If you are separated, the typical rules of property division in a California marriage may affect you differently. Typically, all property either spouse gains during the life of the marriage is considered community property, and both spouses get rights to this property. When the party is divorced, they divide all community property 50/50. Any property they brought to the marriage is their “individual” or “separate” property, and they get to keep it (though any increase in its value may be community property).
When you get separated, any new acquisitions may be considered individual property not shared by marriage. This means that the date of legal separation is the last day you can gain new marital property, and anything you gain between the date of separation and the date you file for divorce no longer needs to be split.
This is important for each spouse’s financial independence. It is important to work out who gets which assets and who has which property rights at the time of separation. This prevents issues where one spouse might not be able to sell property, like their home, without their estranged spouse’s permission. It also ensures that property issues are already decided if you later seek a finalized divorce.
Child Custody and Support During Separation
Any time the parents of shared children live in different households, it is important to seek a child custody and child support order. If both parents live under one roof, they both have legal and physical custody of the children and participate in all decisions, both big and small, about their care. They also share all care and support costs. However, if the children split their time between two households or live primarily with one of the parents, courts typically step in to make formal orders dictating each parent’s custodial rights and support obligations.
When you begin living separately, the court makes decisions about how custody is divided, which parents have the children live with them, how their time is divided, and what decisions they have the power to make. As long as both parents are willing to continue being involved in their children’s lives, courts typically award joint custody and divide time as evenly as practicable.
If the parents have the children for different periods of time and each have different incomes, courts decide who should pay what amounts toward the child support. Courts split the burden fairly across both parents, compensating the parent who has the children for more time with additional funds to supplement their out of pocket support expenses.
Oxnard Legal Separation Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
If you and your spouse are considering legal separation as a final decision or as a step toward a later or possible divorce, talk to an attorney about your case today. Legal separation cases are often as complex and comprehensive as full divorce cases but do not sever ties entirely. For help with your case, contact the Oxnard separation attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today at (805) 643-5555.