The Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation: Top F.A.Q About Divorce Filing

The Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation: Top F.A.Q About Divorce Filing

Our customers often seek divorce assistance, when it comes to divorce filing and Legal Separation. In this article you will find answers to two of our top frequently asked questions when filing for divorce in The San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles or anywhere in California.

The differences between Divorce and Legal Separation

1. This is one of the most common questions our customers ask us. Here is a list of the most relevant differences:

2. A legal separation will not change your marital status (you’ll still be married to your spouse, although no longer financially responsible for his/her debts – that’s why at times a legal separation it’s filed when one of the spouses has an addiction, or is about to file for bankruptcy);

3. You will not be able to remarry while you are legally separated (for the same reason listed above, you are still married – it would be a case of bigamy if you were to remarry);

4. California law requires that you live in the state for a minimum of six months to file for divorce; that is not required in case of a legal separation;

5. Legal separations take effect immediately (as soon as the judge signs off on the final paperwork), regardless of the time passed from the day the petition was served on the respondent, whereas a divorce will take a minimum of six months and one day.

Divorce – The 6 months and 1 day “waiting period”

Speaking of that, some of our customers are genuinely surprised that in California it takes at least 6 months and 1 day to be divorced (some people call it the “cool off period”). It doesn’t matter whether you are in agreement; have no minor children, nor assets. It’s still 6 months and one day from the day the respondent is served.

Remember, you cannot choose which State you file your divorce in, even if you were married in another State or in a foreign Country. If you live in California (and have for at least 6 months), then the County where you reside (at least 3 months) acquires jurisdiction over your case. You can go to Vegas and get a drive-through marriage, but you can’t do that to get a quick divorce!

In the good old days (pre-budget cuts), we used to be able to get the final judgment back from the court in 2-3 months, and we were typically able to “beat” the deadline of the 6 months – our customers even if not legally divorced just yet, knew that the paperwork had been processed and approved already.

Because of the increased time it takes the court to review cases, even if we file the final paperwork packet (”the finals”) as soon as possible, we can no longer guarantee that you’ll be divorced right when the 6 months and 1 day have passed. You’ll be divorced as soon as the judge signs off on your paperwork, assuming the 6 months and one day have elapsed.

Document People is network of independently owned stores that share a common purpose: helping customers represent themselves. We are looking forward to offering you divorce and legal separation assistance. We serve Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego County.

The information contained in this blog – including information of a legal nature – is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.