Legal Separation vs Divorce in California

Legal Separation vs Divorce in California | 5 common reasons for legal separation




A legal separation is where couples remain married but live separately and do not have sexual relations with each other. In a divorce, the spouses are no longer married.

In both legal separation and divorce, the parties settle on terms for child custody, support, property division, and alimony. The same no-fault grounds also apply to both types of cases.

To read more about the types of divorce, click here.


5 common reasons for legal separation


For various reasons, some jurisdictional, some personal, a person may want to separate from their spouse but not terminate the status of their marriage.

Some of the reasons are legal, some are religious, and some are personal. Let’s talk about some of those different reasons for wanting to separate rather than actually dissolve a marriage.


1. Religious or personal beliefs


This is the first and probably the most common reason. Many people are simply unable to get a divorce due to their personal or religious beliefs that don’t allow them to do so.


2. Medical insurance


Another common reason is medical insurance and a spouse’s desire to remain eligible for another spouse’s medical insurance. Often times, one spouse will have a pre-existing condition or for some other reason will not have medical insurance available to them.

Under these circumstances, by having a judgment of separation as opposed to a dissolution of their marriage, they are able to retain eligibility for a spouse’s medical insurance.


3. Wanting separate financial lives


A third and very common reason is that a couple simply wants to maintain 2 completely separate financial lives. They want to separate their assets and debts from one another. They want to be shielded from liabilities that the other spouse may incur.

For these reasons, a legal separation may be beneficial.


4. Jurisdictional reasons


In California, the parties need to have lived in California for 6 months, and the county in which they are divorcing for at least 3 months before the court acquires jurisdiction to end their marriage.


5. They are not ready to get a divorce


Finally, sometimes people just aren’t ready to get a divorce. They know they need to be separated financially. They know they need spousal support, but they are not ready emotionally to get a divorce. Under these circumstances, a separation


Questions about your case? Contact the team at CalDisso.


If you have questions about legal separation vs divorce or about your case, please reach out to us at 310.540.2515 or



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