Santa Barbara Legal Separation Lawyer
If you or a loved one is going through a legal separation process, our Santa Barbara legal separation attorneys can help. At the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth, PLC, we understand the intricacies of family law in California. Thanks to our many years of experience, we can help you understand the process and guide you from beginning to end.
To learn more about your case in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.
The Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation in California
While legal separation and divorce often relate to similar situations, they actually tend to differ significantly. The main difference between a divorce and a legal separation is the status of the marriage once either of the court-issued resources has been granted. For instance, a divorce is a court-issued order granting the dissolution of marriage. Once given, each spouse can carry on with their lives following nothing but what is ordered by the court, such as an alimony order, child support order, custody arrangement, and other issues.
In terms of legal separation, the situation couples are in is different from its more final counterpart. A legal separation is a court-ordered mandate granting the spouses the right to live away from each other but keep the same legal rights as a married couple. However, in most cases, a legal separation happens as a prelude to divorce.
The reason why most couples request a legal separation is to work out problems that may affect their marriage. Additionally, a legal separation allows couples to retain certain benefits they would otherwise lose in a divorce. Common examples of benefits couples keep include healthcare benefits, property rights, and power in decision-making, among other benefits. This is beneficial to couples because it gives them the opportunity to solve their problems without court involvement.
Filing for a Legal Separation in Santa Barbara, CA
Filing for a legal separation in Santa Barbara, California requires you to meet specific requirements of the state of California. For instance, you will need to submit Form FL-100, which is the official request form for a legal separation. In the form, you will need to provide essential information, such as your property or properties and any children you may have. Additionally, you will need to comply with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) if you have children under the age of 18.
Once you have filed the required paperwork, you will then need to pay the court fees for your request. Once everything is presented correctly to the court, you will need to serve a copy of the application to your spouse through a person who is at least 18 years of age.
You should keep in mind that, to request a legal separation in California, you will need to request it based on the same basis as a divorce. This means you will need to base your lawful separation request either on irreconcilable differences or a permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. A person can only request a legal separation based on these two requirements because California is a “no-fault” state which only leaves a petitioner with these two choices.
Legal Issues Related to Legal Separation in California
A legal separation, while different from divorce, touches many things related to the latter. Some aspects involved in many legal separation cases include:
This is one of the most heated issues in every divorce case. Property division is a very contentious process where most of the legal battle often occurs. In a property division process, both spouses must divide their properties into equal parts following the rules and regulations set forth by the state. However, in a legal separation, most couples try to divide their property without court involvement, which can help later in a divorce process, if it goes that far.
Child support is a process where the court grants custody to one of the child’s parents, while the non-custodial parent has to make a court-ordered monthly payment for support. These arrangements can be discussed and addressed while on a legal separation. During this time, both spouses have the opportunity to reach an accord, without court intervention, that may work for both parties and their children.
During a legal separation, the spouses can decide how they will share the custody of their children and who will have the decision-making power over the child. This is an excellent moment to reach an accord and make the process less contentious if they go for a divorce in the future. It is always recommended to have a knowledgeable, skilled family law attorney by your side. Our lawyers can help you understand how the whole process works.
Legal Separation Attorneys Serving Santa Barbara, CA
If you or a loved one is going through a separation process, our Santa Barbara legal separation lawyers can help. Armed with decades of hands-on experience in family law cases, the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth, PLC, can help you through a legal separation process. To learn more about your particular case in a free, confidential consultation, call our offices today at (805) 643-5555.