Santa Barbara Legal Separation Attorney
What Is Legal Separation?
Legal separation occurs when spouses want to remain married but undergo property division as if they were getting a divorce. This allows spouses to retain their marital status but lead lives independent of each other. When a couple seeks a legal separation, a judge divides their community assets and debts and determines child custody and spousal support as he or she would in a divorce case. If one spouse seeks divorce over separation, the court is obligated to allow the divorce to proceed.
Have you been asked for a legal separation, or are you thinking about asking for one? Call Morales Law at (805) 422-7966 for a free consultation with a separation attorney in Santa Barbara.
Why Should I Get A Legal Separation?
A legal separation can look and feel like a divorce, but it can be used by couples uncomfortable with the finality of divorce or whose religious values disallow divorce. Different from an informal trial separation, spouses can use legal separation as a real-life proving ground for divorce. If a divorce is eventually desired, the terms of separation can be converted to a divorce agreement if no major disputes regarding the initial arrangement arise.
Legally separated couples can use the retention of their marital status for benefits such as:
- Possibility of filing a joint tax return
- Remaining married for religious reasons
- Obtaining or keeping health insurance
- Obtaining other insurance policies
- Immigration purposes
- Retaining military benefits
- Protecting financial interests while apart
If you and your spouse are discussing a legal separation in Santa Barbara, seek assistance from a qualified lawyer. Your legal separation agreement could become your divorce agreement, so be sure your interests are protected.