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Bay Area Family Attorneys > San Francisco Legal Separation Attorney

San Francisco Legal Separation Attorney

Not every married couple having problems is willing (or able) to rush into a divorce. Fortunately, California does offer legal separation as an option. Under a legal separation, a couple can divide their property and debts and make certain arrangements regarding financial support without ending the marriage itself.

An experienced San Francisco legal separation attorney can advise you on this process and represent you in negotiating an agreement with your spouse. Cardwell Steigerwald Young LLP is a California family law practice that has helped many people in the Bay Area who are looking to separate in a manner that works best for their families. We can review your situation, explain your options, and advise you both during and after the separation as your legal needs evolve.

Knowing the Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce in California

There are many reasons why a couple might choose to pursue a legal separation. For example, they may belong to a religion that forbids or strongly discourages divorce. Or the couple may wish to remain legally married for financial reasons, such as to keep their spouse on their health insurance. There are also situations where a couple wishes to live apart but does not meet one of the legal requirements for obtaining a divorce in California, such as meeting the state’s six-month residency requirement.

California also has a six-month waiting period to obtain a divorce starting on the date papers are served. There is no such waiting period for legal separation. This is yet another reason many couples opt for legal separation.

In most other aspects, divorce and legal separation are quite similar in California. In both situations, a couple must agree to a division of any marital property and debts. One spouse may also pay the other ongoing financial support. And if the couple have any common minor children, provisions must be made for custody, parenting time (visitation), and child support. A judge must then approve any final separation agreement, which then becomes legally binding on the parties. The couple is always free to reconcile and ask the court to set aside the separation agreement.

Keep in mind, you do not need a legal separation before seeking a divorce. Although many couples do separate prior to divorce, that is not the same thing as “legal separation,” which requires a court-approved agreement. This agreement may later be converted into a full divorce agreement.

It is also important to note that spouses who are legally separated remain married unless and until a court issues a divorce decree. This means that while the spouses are legally separated, they cannot marry anyone else.

Contact Our San Francisco Legal Separation Attorney

Even when things remain relatively amicable between you and your spouse, a legal separation is something you should not enter into without first seeking competent legal advice. A qualified San Francisco legal separation attorney can protect your rights and help to ensure that any final agreement is in the best interests of yourself and your family. Call Cardwell Steigerwald Young LLP today at 415-259-5885 to schedule a consultation.

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