Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we just cannot make the marriage work out and we need to separate.
California legal separation proceedings can be maintained on the same grounds as divorce actions. A judgment of legal separation does not terminate marital status of the parties as husband and wife. It is an alternative to dissolution and is generally sought upon the breakdown of the marriage where for religious or other personal reasons the petitioner does not want the legal status relationship absolutely severed. Legal separation is often very common where one or both spouses may also hold out hope for reconciliation.
One very common reason to seek a legal separation instead of a dissolution (divorce) is to retain eligibility for medical insurance that would otherwise be lost by a termination of the marriage. One cannot always do this depending upon his/her employer or medical insurance, however, at times, it may be a possibility depending upon the circumstances.
A legal separation proceeding is similar to any marriage termination proceeding in that a judgment of legal separation adjudicates support, custody/visitation and community property rights and obligations under the same standards and in the same manner as a judgment of dissolution.
Unlike a dissolution (divorce), a judgment of legal separation leaves the marriage bonds intact. In effect, however, the parties remain “married” in name only, without the same rights and responsibilities that attach to marital status. The parties to a legal separation action cannot enter into a new marriage unless and until the existing marriage is dissolved by death or judgment of dissolution; but the judgment finally adjudicates the financial issues between the parties, including determination of their support obligations and a division of their community estate.
California family laws and procedures are very complicated and should not be handled without consulting an attorney first. Therefore it is imperative that you consult an experienced family law attorney before making any decisions regarding your legal separation matters.