California is one of the states that recognize legal separation for couples who are contemplating ending their marriages. If you are on the cusp of cutting ties with your spouse, filing for separation may be one of the things you have considered.
But should you even bother to formally separate if it appears that you are headed for divorce? What could be the benefits?
It gives your marriage a chance
If neither party is in a rush to terminate the marriage, a legal separation leaves the door to the marriage cracked open. It gives couples a little breathing space, while still allowing them to address their marital concerns and perhaps even attend some counseling sessions.
It’s not as hard on the kids
When you have to tell the kids that “Mommy and Daddy are getting a divorce,” there’s a sense of finality, of no turning back. Of course, up until the judge signs and files the paperwork, a divorce can be undone. But for some families, it makes better sense to ease into this major change by starting with a separation.
You can draft a separation agreement
Either by collaborating or working with their legal counsels of record, the parties can draw up separation agreements that address the same issues as a divorce — interim support, custody arrangements, etc. Later, if the situation proceeds toward a final split, that separation agreement can become the blueprint for your divorce judgment (if the parties and court agree).
Separate or divorce?
There is no right or wrong answer for each family, as they must carefully consider their own needs and circumstances. Gather the information you need to make the wisest choice for you and your children.