How to Prepare for a Legal Separation?

How to Prepare for a Legal Separation?

Divorce is a big decision in a person’s life. It literally changes lives for both good and bad. And it also affects the kids (if any) both mentally and financially. If your marriage is not going well, you have a better option than filing for a divorce – Legal Separation. You can live separately from your spouse and decide whether you want to stay married to your partner or not. You may also use the time of legal separation for counseling and decide whether or not you should part ways and get divorced.

What is a Separation Agreement?

If you and your partner have decided to get separated, then according to the state law of California, you would have to enter a Separation Agreement. It is a legally binding contract dealing with every aspect of separation, which includes child support and custody issues, property division, and alimony. A paralegal can help prepare this legal document for you and your spouse.

It addresses many important issues that come up. These include:

  • Where will the kids live during the separation period?
  • When and how long will the kids spend time with each parent?
  • How will the living expenses (rent or mortgage payments, utilities, taxes, etc.) be divided during their separation?
  • Whether both partners pay child support and alimony during separation?
  • How will both manage assets like bank accounts or investments during the separation period?
  • How will the property get treated after the separation? Usually, this kind of property goes only to the partner who earns it, according to the state court. But, couples prefer to include it in this legal document to avoid confusion later. Couples can also agree to treat this property differently.

Benefits of Legal Separation

  • There is a benefit to easing the tension in the marriage of the couple pursuing a legal separation. Both partners get time to reconsider their marriage. The kids and the spouse also benefit from remaining on the healthcare plan of the working spouse.
  • The couple can extend their marriage to 10 years under legal separation. Therefore, the partner earning less can draw the other partner’s social security and get an advantage on income tax (possible increases or deductions).
  • Legal separation is better for couples if their religion does not allow divorce. It is better to live separately without risking their beliefs and values.

Preparing for a Legal Separation

  • When you move out of the home where you lived with your spouse, make sure to remove your name from any rental lease. This way, no one can hold you accountable if your spouse fails to pay the rent.
  • Ensure removing your name from the accounts you don’t want to be responsible for. If your spouse doesn’t agree to remove your name from a joint credit card account, you can freeze them.
  • Since federal and state tax agencies do not entertain separation or divorce, you will be responsible for the owed taxes.
  • Consult a legal accountant to maintain interest in pension accounts and get retirement benefits.
  • In the separation agreement, mention the belongings left with your spouse upon separation. Specify that those belongings come to you if you get a divorce later.

If you want to file for a legal separation with your partner, take the paralegal services of Help4You to seek assistance in drafting all types of legal separation documents. We are among the top paralegals in Orange County and have over two decades of experience.

Disclosure: We are not attorneys. We can only provide self-help services at your specific direction. Help4You Documents Services are owned / operated by legal document assistant, who are not lawyers, cannot represent customers, select legal forms or give advice on rights or laws. Services are provided at customers request and are not a substitute for advice of a lawyer. Prices do not include court costs.

Please fill our short form and one of our friendly team members will contact you back.