Family Practice: Legal Seperation
Some couples choose legal separation as an alternative to divorce or domestic partnership dissolution. A San Francisco matrimonial lawyer at the Lvovich & Szucsko P.C. can help clients weigh the pros and cons of legal separation.
San Francisco family law – what is legal separation?
Legal separation under the California Family Code permits a married couple or domestic partners to live separately, and to make arrangements for child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division.
No residence requirements are necessary for legal separation. The partner or spouse may request court orders, such as domestic restraining orders for protection against an abusive spouse or partner. Couples who are legally separated may not remarry.
Filing for legal separation does not require matrimonial lawyers in San Francisco to represent spouses, and either party may file. However, couples face many of the same complexities that they would face in divorce because child custody, child support, property division and in some cases spousal support need to be determined. If the couple contests any of these issues, legal help is usually necessary to resolve the matters in dispute.
Divorce requires a six-month waiting period before the court issues the final judgment. However, legal separation has no waiting period and takes effect as soon as the court grants the separation. Couples typically obtain legal separations much more quickly than a divorce.
Reasons to choose a legal separation
Marriage provides certain advantages, and couples may choose a legal separation over divorce for these reasons:
- Religious reasons. Adherence to religious practices to maintain a married status.
- Tax advantages. Joint tax returns, spousal support deductions, gift tax exemptions, estate tax avoidance, mortgage credits for first-time home buyers, and home sale tax breaks.
- Insurance advantages. Continued family rates for auto, home, health, and other insurance coverage.
- Social Security retirement benefits. Spouses married ten years qualify for Social Security retirement benefits.
- Veterans or military pension benefits. Spouses married ten years qualify for military pension benefits.
- Public assistance benefits. Greater public assistance benefits for food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), subsidized housing, MediCal, subsidized child care, and the Supplemental Feeding Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)