If you are considering a legal separation in California, you should know what to expect to prepare for the process. Here are some tips that can put you in a better position to minimize emotional turmoil and also protect your rights.
Understand the process
A legal separation is not the same as a divorce, and there are important differences that you need to be aware of. For instance, in a legal separation, you and your spouse are still married, but you live separately. You will still share responsibilities such as child custody and financial decisions, but you will no longer file joint taxes or receive benefits like spousal support.
Gather all the necessary financial documents
The judge will use all the relevant information that you or your spouse will give them to make decisions regarding child custody, support and asset division. So, you must equip yourself efficiently before heading to court. For instance, making the mistake of walking away from the family home before signing the separation agreement could impact the judge’s child custody decision. Remember, even though a legal separation may not be final, you still deserve to get your full rights as a spouse and a parent.
Have a support group
Legal separation is not an easy process. It’s normal to go through emotions like sadness or anger; sometimes, stress and depression might kick in. Therefore, you need support from your loved ones to be there for you during this process. You could also seek out counseling services if you feel overwhelmed.
Legal separation is less expensive and easier than divorce. Many people choose it mainly for religious or cultural reasons, to “cool-off” from a troubled marriage and to get a better handle on their finances. With good preparation, the process could be a great success for you and your spouse.