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Campbell Family Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > The Pros And Cons Of Legal Separation

The Pros And Cons Of Legal Separation


People are sometimes unhappy in their marriage, but they do not want to divorce just yet. In these cases, a legal separation is often a good option. When obtaining a legal separation, an agreement is drafted that addresses the same terms that would have to be resolved in divorce. The spouses then live separate and apart and while they are still technically married, they can live their own lives separately. However, legal separation does have its own pros and cons. Below, our Santa Clara County divorce lawyer outlines what these are.

The Pros of Legal Separation

A legal separation will not dissolve a marriage, but people who are separated can still date as though they are single. The main benefits of legal separation that have people considering it over divorce are as follows:

  • You can still live separately from your spouse without the need to get a divorce. This is often beneficial for couples who do not want to divorce due to religious, personal, or financial reasons.
  • If you do not meet the residency requirements to get a divorce in California, you can legally separate until you have lived in the state for six months and your current county for three months.
  • Both spouses can continue to enjoy certain benefits connected to the marriage, such as health insurance, military benefits, and Social Security.
  • If you and your spouse reconcile, you can reverse a legal separation. If you get a divorce and reconcile, you may have to remarry to make the relationship legally official.
  • Any assets or income you acquire after the date of separation are considered separate and so, are not subject to division if you decide to get a divorce.
  • The divorce process is easier after a legal separation. You do not need to complete any other paperwork if the legal separation has not been finalized. You must only ask the court to convert or amend the separation into a divorce.

In addition to the above benefits, obtaining a legal separation is usually faster and quicker than getting a divorce.

The Cons of Legal Separation

Legal separation brings many benefits to couples who choose it as an option. There are, however, some drawbacks. These include:

  • Legal separation does not dissolve your marriage and so, if you wish to remarry someone else, you will have to obtain a divorce first.
  • If you pass away while you are legally separated, your spouse may still have rights to portions of your estate, including your retirement savings. A divorce will terminate spousal property rights.
  • Even after a separation, you may still be connected to your spouse’s financial matters, such as their credit cards and bank accounts. This can hurt you and your credit score.

Our Divorce Lawyers in Santa Clara County Can Advise You of Your Options

Making the choice to divorce or obtain a legal separation is deeply personal. At Hepner & Pagan, LLP, our Santa Clara County divorce lawyers can advise you of your legal options and help you decide which one is best for you. Call us now at 408-429-8336 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.




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