Some couples in California might struggle in their marriage and decide that staying together might not be the best thing at that moment. For some, divorce is the next step, but others might not be ready to sever ties permanently. Couples in this situation might opt for a legal separation agreement.
Reasons why couples legally separate
There are many reasons couples might choose to create a legal separation agreement instead of pursuing a divorce. These reasons include:
- A desire for both parties to still work towards a reconciliation
- Religious beliefs from one or both spouses
- Financial reasons, including being able to maintain only one home between the two spouses
- Benefits available to spouses, including health and tax benefits
Benefits provided by legal separation
Choosing to create a legal separation agreement also provides certain benefits. For one, a legal agreement addresses things such as the division of marital assets and the responsibilities of certain debts and liabilities. It can protect the non-liable spouse for unpaid debts that were the responsibility of the other spouse. If the couple does decide to seek a divorce, the legal separation agreement can also become the basis for the divorce settlement agreement and even prevent the spouses from going into costly and lengthy court battles.
Challenges related to legal separation
Deciding to legally separate can be challenging if you do not know the rules and legislation surrounding it. Each state, for example, has different rules, going from requiring a legal separation agreement before the divorce to not recognizing this type of agreement. Additionally, when it comes to things like tax and health benefits, there are additional conditions that the parties must meet to enjoy these benefits.
If your state recognizes legal separation agreements, this might be the route you choose. It can protect you beyond a verbal separation agreement and it can then become the base to work from in a divorce.