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Divorce & Legal Separation in 2014: Advantages and Disadvantages for Spouses in San Diego

Divorce Versus Legal Separation: One Of The Most Important Decisions Spouses Make In San Diego Regarding Their Family Law Case

In San Diego Superior Court, when a spouse files their initial pleadings when married in a family law case, there are three options: nullity; legal separation and divorce. California is a community property state and disfavors nullity and favors divorce and legal separation in regards to the termination of the marital status. Whether you are filing for legal separation or divorce, the Petition is the same form and only the check in the box is different. The response to a divorce or legal separation is also the same form. The issues in a legal separation and a divorce are identical with some limited exceptions such as termination of marital status: division of debt; division of asset; child visitation; child custody; child support; spousal support and attorney fees for the major ones.

Why Would You Choose A Legal Separation Over A Divorce?

There are many reasons and all are individual and personal however there are some main reasons. First, some spouses and parents have such strong religious convictions that they will never divorce. The United States [and San Diego Superior Court] recognizes the validity of all marriages from all countries and also divorces from all countries as long as the formality of law in that country is followed with two notable exceptions as divorce is still not permitted in two countries in the world: Vatican City & Philippines. Second, some parents and spouses need medical coverage and the member spouse is able to continue to provide medical coverage for the non member spouse [in many employment health insurance plans] if a legal separation but not a divorce. There are other reasons as well.

Why Would You Choose A Divorce Over A Legal Separation?

For many spouses, they would like to remarry either immediately after their family law case concludes or sometime in the future. Once a legal separation judgment is entered, if a spouse wants to remarry, then they need to file a divorce and complete the mandatory requirements for a divorce. Most spouses do not want to do this once much less twice so a divorce is preferable for them in this situation. In addition, many spouses want to completely terminate their relationship and do not want to remain married and this keeps a tie to their former spouse that they do not want. As above with the legal separation, there are other reasons as well.

If One Wants Legal Separation And One Wants Divorce, What Happens?

This is not an uncommon situation. One spouse files for legal separation and the response filed is for a divorce and not a legal separation. In this factual scenario, the Judge will grant a divorce and not a legal separation unless agreed to by both parties. The divorce is the “default setting” when a dispute occurs. Many times, spouses ask if it is possible to oppose a divorce entirely and prevent the divorce decree from being entered and that they do not want to be divorced. In San Diego Superior Court, once the requirements of Family Law Code Section 2337 are complied with, many Judges will grant the termination of legal status over the objection of the other spouse since bifurcation [separation] of legal status is favored once the rights of the objecting spouse are protected.

How Can A Local San Diego Law Firm Help With Your Family Law Case?

The law firm of Doppelt and Forney, APLC is located in San Diego. Their experienced attorneys can assist with explaining all your options whether a divorce or legal separation. Please feel free to contact their office for a free in-person or virtual consultation which is also confidential.

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