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Do We Need To Be Legally Separated Before Getting a Divorce?

For many people, the decision to get a divorce isn’t easy. Some choose to first try a period of legal separation, whereas others are ready to go straight for a divorce. If you are considering the latter, you may be wondering about a separation requirement in California. Let’s go over what you need to know to start your divorce.

Legal Separation and Divorce

Legal separation and divorce are similar in that they both provide relief from marriage. However, they have many differences.

When couples file for a legal separation, this is a less permanent option than divorce. During a separation, many couples live as if they are divorced, without making it legally official. They may live separately, have a custody arrangement, and in some cases, financial support orders. This space gives spouses time to decide whether or not to go through with a divorce.

Divorce, on the other hand, is final. When spouses choose to divorce, their marriage is officially null. The orders set in place after a divorce are permanent and both partners are considered legally single.

Legal Separation Requirements

Some states require spouses to live separately or legally separate for a period of time before being able to officially divorce. However, California has no such requirement. In California, you may file for and finalize a divorce without ever being legally separated first.

Should I Try Legal Separation Before Divorce?

There are many reasons why people choose to try separating before officially divorcing. The most common reason why people choose separation is to see what life would be like if they were to divorce. Some spouses find they are happier apart, whereas others determine they want to remain together.

Another benefit of legal separation is that it provides time for you to resolve issues. This could be reaching agreements on how to handle the different aspects of your divorce, which could ultimately save you time and money during your official uncontested divorce.
Also, while legally separated, you get to keep the benefits that you have through marriage. For example, keeping medical insurance benefits.

While there are many benefits to legal separation, it is not for all couples. Some spouses are certain they want to divorce, and they want to divorce quickly. Additionally, legal separation is not recommended for any marriages involving domestic violence.

Ready To Divorce: How Quickly Can It Be Done?

If you or your spouse have determined that you want to get a divorce without trying legal separation first, you might be curious how quickly your divorce can be finalized. Going through a divorce is never a fun experience, and most people want it to be finalized as quickly as possible.

In California, a divorce can be finalized in as little as six months. This is due to California’s mandatory six-month waiting period. While the minimum is six months, the average divorce takes about 15 months to finalize. However, there are some steps you can take to speed up the process.

  • Reach Agreements: Most divorce attorneys agree that the most surefire way to speed up your divorce is to agree with your ex on the issues. Many divorces are stalled as couples cannot reach agreements regarding asset division, custody, and more. If you and your ex can make compromises and arrangements, this will ultimately help speed up your divorce.
  • Do Your Research: Having a solid understanding of divorce laws and reasonable outcomes will help you as you go through your divorce. Your attorney will be able to help guide you, but you will feel more confident if you have your own understanding as well.
  • Prioritize Important Meetings: Make sure you schedule and attend your divorce-related appointments. Rescheduling, delaying, or otherwise avoiding hearings, mediation sessions, or other meetings will only lengthen the process.

Long Beach Divorce Representation

Attorney Robert Curtis has helped countless clients through their divorce cases. Whether you are entering an uncontested or contested divorce, Curtis Family Law is here for you through it all. Contact us today online or at (562) 315-7107.