Lawrence P. Bellomo has been been helping families through legal separation processes in Orange County for 35 years.
At a time when tensions and anxieties can often run high, attorney Larry Bellomo serves as a guide of compassion and understanding for both parties.
Legal Separation = Viable Alternative to Divorce
Legal separation is very much similar to a divorce except at the conclusion of the process, the spouses are still married and are not free to legally remarry.
There are a number of reasons why legal separation may make more sense for a couple than divorce. These include:
- Reasons related to religion
- Eligibility for one spouse to claim Social Security benefits of the other
- Medical conditions that make private health insurance difficult to obtain for one spouse
- Lack of California residency eligibility for both spouses (required for divorce)
A divorce takes 6 months in California, while legal separation is immediate. Divorce proceedings also require one of the two spouses to be a legal resident of California, while legal separation does not maintain this requirement. Of course the greatest difference between legal separation and divorce is that at the end of the proceedings, neither spouse has the ability to legally remarry.
Due to the associated costs, stress, legal implications and time investments required for both divorce and legal separation, couples that question their conviction for separation may choose to undergo a "trial separation".
A trial separation is an informal period of time where a couple usually will arrange to live apart from one another. At the end of the trial separation the couple is then free to decide if they would like to stay together, or continue onto either a divorce or legal separation.
Division of property in Legal Separation
In a legal separation, division of property is completely in the hands of the courts. In fact, the court has the power to decide all marital issues except for the status of the marriage itself. These include but are not limited to:
- Division of property
- Deciding which parent the children will live with, and how much time each will spend with them
- Deciding the amount of support to be paid
- Distribution of debts
When one spouse files for legal separation, it is permitted (and actually the norm) for the other spouse to file for dissolution of marriage (or in other words, divorce).
Whether you would like to explore the legal options available to you or have made up your mind on how to proceed, the law offices of Larry Bellomo are here to help. Call (949-380-3030) or e-mail us today to schedule your free, no obligation consultation and find out what we can do for you.