Law Offices of Richard K. Isles
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What are your options when divorce is not an option?

The end of a marriage is difficult. There are both financial and emotional challenges associated with ending an important relationship and extricating two lives, especially when it does not seem like divorce is an option. If divorce is not a possibility for you right now for any reason, there are still ways to formally separate and move on with your life.

Legal separation is an option for couples who either cannot or do not want to divorce at the time. This is a legal way to recognize the end of your relationship without walking through the formal process of a divorce. If you do decide to move forward with a divorce in the future, your separation agreement can serve as the foundation for your divorce order.

Still married, but legally separated

Legal separation involves much more than just one partner moving out. It is a formal process of addressing many important issues, just like you would in a divorce. Some of the issues you will need to address in your legal separation agreement include the following:

  • Child custody and visitation
  • Property division
  • Division of debt accumulated over the course of the marriage
  • Separation maintenance, which includes child support and spousal support

While you will remain legally married, you will be able to live separate lives. This means that you have security from your agreement, leaving both parties with clear expectations of their rights and responsibilities. Legal separation must include an agreement between parties or else it is just an informal and unenforceable period of living apart.

There are many reasons why a couple would want to remain married yet legally separate. It may be for financial reasons, religious beliefs or other reasons, and while it is not especially common, it remains an option for married California couples who do not wish to live together. In many cases, a separation is a trial period before a couple decides to move forward with divorce.

Protecting your rights, even while still married

A legal separation agreement can have a significant impact on your life. You would be prudent to take this agreement seriously, working to include terms that allow you a strong and prosperous future, no matter how long your separation period lasts.

If you are considering divorce or separation, it could be beneficial to seek a complete evaluation of your case or an explanation of your legal options before moving forward with your decision.

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