Can A Couple Go For A Trial Separation While Living Together?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsThere are many marriages that go through the process of trial separations. Contrary to common perception, a trial separation does not necessarily mean that your relationship has ended. Rather, it means that both the parties have made up their minds to take a temporary break in the relationship. Plus, they want to utilize the separation period to take a call on if they want to give another chance to their relationship or not. The period of solitude can help the spouses to assess their problems in an objective manner and find out how life will be while living alone and enjoying a period of freedom.

From the name itself, it is obvious that trial separation typically means that the spouses will be living in separate houses. So, is it possible that both of you will be living in the same house and yet go through a trial separation?

Although there are several couples who undergo emotional separation during this time period, it is not mandatory that they need to separate physically. It is a commonplace to find trial separations occurring while staying in the same home. The same is typically true when there are young kids from the marriage. Following are some of the guidelines to ensure the success of your trial separation while living under the same roof together.

Enter into a truce with your partner and explain each other

If you and your spouse keep arguing all the time, there is no point to opt for a trial separation and staying in the same house. It is better to agree on the time frame of your separation by calling a truce and stop bickering with your spouse. You should also express the reasons for which you desire to separate.

Establish certain ground rules

Will you see or meet other people while you are separated? Can you still text or call each other while you are separated? Have you decided how to look after your finances and shared vehicle? Do you have plans to reunite when the separation period comes to an end? Are you just waiting for the other spouse to save some money and then leave?

You need to consider the kids

If both of you have kids together, it is crucial to have a proper structure in place. It is better to set aside some time and discuss whether you will make decisions unanimously or as separated parents. If you want to take united decisions for the sake of your kids, it makes sense to maintain a proper routine so that your kids feel secure and safe. The routine may constitute of details like who will cook dinner, how should you spend the weekend nights together and so on. In case there is a routine that you have been following for eating dinner or breakfast together, it is better to continue with that.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

How to Cope Up With a Legal Separation from Your Spouse

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen a marriage is on the verge of a collapse, both the parties may say things they do not mean out of anger and frustration. If you cool down a bit and take a rationalistic view, you will realize that although both you and your spouse have entered into the marriage with complete consent, you are not giving the efforts of late that you had been giving in the beginning of your relationship. Some of them include:

  • Both of you have stopped complimenting one another
  • You are not willing to help each other anymore
  • You have stopped speaking about your feelings
  • Both of you have stopped complementing one another

It is possible that if you give some space to one another, both of you will realize the important aspects of your marriage that seem to have fallen apart. Do you feel that is the case between both of you? If that is so, separating legally from your spouse can be the most suitable alternative for you. While making a decision on whether to opt for a trial separation or a permanent one, you may go through a lot of emotional upheavals. Though separating from your spouse may appear to be the best thing to do, chances are that it may not be the most suitable action for you.

How you decide to spend the time of your separation is very crucial when you and your spouse take a call to separate. You should use the time to get some useful perspective and retrospect on the pros and cons of your marriage. While such a phase in your life can be shocking, you can utilize it well by following the tips mentioned below:

Do not spend all your free time alone 

It is the perfect time to meet up your family and friends who can help you to cope up in this transitional phase in your life. You should use the time to spend some time with your nephew or visit your parents or grandparents. It is crucial to contact your social circle especially since an important chunk of your social circle could have walked out the door.

You should also make an effort to enjoy your “me” time 

Irrespective of how unhealthy or happy your marriage was, there is likelihood that you both you and your partner spent a lot of time in each other’s company. Although, it may not have been quality time, yet it was time nevertheless. So, now that you are separated, utilize your time to enjoy moments of solitude and peace. It is also the right time for you to follow your hobbies or passion. Try reigniting a hobby, which you might not have followed for a while. You can also listen to some lively music to recharge and revitalize you. However, do not spend this time to indulge in self-pity. Sulking and sitting alone think about the past cannot heal your pain.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

How Is Legal Separation Different From A Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediation attorney Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsLegal separation is the formal process of confirming an actual separation of the parties, as opposed to filing for divorce.  Parties that chose legal separation do so for religious reasons, do not believe in divorce, or have concerns about medical insurance coverage, among other reasons.  If the parties proceed all the way to a final judgment in a legal separation case, they can obtain the same orders that they would have in a divorce case.  The biggest difference is that in the end, the parties are technically still married after a legal separation case and cannot get legally remarried.

Agreement for separation

An agreement on separation includes terms that are quite similar to those if the concerned couple was getting a divorce. This means there will be a distribution of their marital property, agreement on child visitation and custody if applicable. Not only this, the couple opting for a legal separation will also have to come to a decision on dividing any debts that were incurred by them after they got married.

Ideally, the above-mentioned terms should be binding in case the couple wants to get divorced. Moreover, both parties should hire their individual attorneys for negotiating all the details of the agreement on their legal separation. In case the spouses eventually make up their mind to go one step ahead and file for a divorce, it has been observed that the judge usually keeps the same terms as both the parties agreed to them earlier.

Differences between a legal separation and a divorce

Check out some of the following key differences between a divorce and a legal separation.

Name

While the spouse continues with the legal married name in the case of a separation, a wife may revert back to her maiden name after the divorce comes throughout the divorce be.

Child support

The conditions related to child support are ascertained when the legal separation takes place. When a couple decides to go for a divorce after being legally separated, ideally, the same terms are followed that were mentioned in the document for legal separation.

Marital status

A couple is still married even though there is a legal separation going on. But when the divorce is finalized, the marriage ends.

Child visits

Visitation rights of the child are decided when the legal separation takes place. If a divorce comes through after the legal separation, most of the times, the same terms are followed as mentioned in the document of their legal separation.

Alimony

The terms for alimony are ascertained during the legal separation. The conditions are typically kept same if the divorce gets finalized in the future.

Split of marital property

The couple agrees to the terms while going for a legal separation. When they do decide to finally divorce, the sane conditions that are mentioned in the document for legal separation are followed.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Legal Separation Agreement Have These Financial Benefits

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce mediation attorneys; California Divorce MediatorsAre you having problems in your marriage and considering separating legally from your spouse? If it is so then you should ask your attorney to prepare a document for legal separation where both you and your spouse should sign to make it effective. But, it is important to note that legal separation is not recognized in all the states. The process will be smooth in those States that recognize it. If you are residing in a state that does not allow legal separation you can speak with an attorney who specializes in the local family law about what will be your choices in case you want to legally separate from your spouse. While in doing e States both the spouses can sign a separation agreement, which then becomes binding and legal.  However, there are states where the court will only recognize an agreement after the beginning of the divorce process.

To put it simply, when your legal separation document is filed with a local court, it serves as your first line of defense while both of you are legally separated and when your spouse does not fulfill his or her obligations mentioned in that agreement.

To claim deduction for spousal support paid

When you are paying spousal support to your partner, you can only claim the amount for a tax deduction if such payments are mentioned in your legal separation agreement. When you live separately without any legal separation document, any money that you pay to your spouse will not get deducted while filing your returns. If your state does not recognize legal separation, you can get in touch with a good tax attorney in your locality to know how to safeguard yourself in tax-related matters and if the money paid as spousal support could be claimed during tax deduction.

Your legal separation agreement also allows you to retain some benefits that enjoyed while being married

Suppose you are a spouse whose name is included in the health insurance plan of your spouse. It can be mentioned in the legal separation document that such benefits are to continue even while you live separately. When the incomes of both the spouses are used for making bill payments during their marriage, the agreement can mention if such an arrangement will continue. In case it discontinues, the agreement can also outline who will pay those bills now.

When both of you own a home, the agreement can outline who will be accountable for paying what

There are various issues that come up while maintaining a home like maintenance lawn cars, mortgage payments, and utilities. A legal separation document can outline which spouse will pay for what?

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Responding to Divorce or Legal Separation Papers

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Divorce mediation attorneys in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsAnyone of the spouses in marriage or as a partner in registered domestic partnership has the right to request the court to terminate their legal relationship. Your domestic partner or spouse has requested the court to end the relationship in case you received a summons and petition for legal separation or dissolution (divorce). In Orange County, CA, the court has the power to end domestic partnership or marriage even if the other partner is unwilling to be legally separated or divorced.

Response options

In case you are served with summons and petition, then you are regarded as the respondent in the court case for legal separation or divorce. You must carefully read papers served on you. The Petition informs you what your domestic partner or spouse (the petitioner) has asked for. You can get important information concerning your rights from The Summons and about the process of separation or divorce. There will be standard restraining orders which will restrict what you can do with the property, assets or debts. You or your partner or spouse can be prohibited to move out of state with children borne from the partnership or marriage. You may also be stopped from applying or renewal of passport for the children, without prior written consent. A court order could be required.

Options after personal service has been done

You have a number of options after being served. The easiest thing to do is to do absolutely nothing. If you take this path, then demands of your partner will be granted in its entirety. This situation is termed a “default judgment.” If your agreement is written and notarized and where you and your domestic partner or spouse has agreed to end the partnership or marriage, then also you have to do nothing. If you and your spouse agree about other things like property division, partner or spousal support, then it is also termed as “default with agreement”. This is due to the fact that you have not filed for any response.

Other ways of responding include filing a response with court but also reaching agreement with your domestic partner or spouse about all issues. This option is regarded as an “uncontested” divorce case as you and your domestic partner or spouse is not battling over issues. If you file a response with court, and also disagree with domestic partner or spouse, then it is regarded as a “contested divorce.”

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.

Legal Separation Or Divorce? Which One Is Better For Children

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsFor couples who don’t want to live under the same roof anymore, the question of whether to get a divorce or not arises. An alternative to divorce is legal separation where the couples are still legally married but choose to live separately. In both cases, couples who have children often find it to be a confusing decision. Both options have their pros and cons and it is up to you to decide what you want to do.

But the question here really isn’t about the advantages and disadvantages of legal separation and divorce. It is more about your duty as a parent. Consider the following factors and then decide.

Providing for your children

The first question that you need to ask yourself is “am I independent enough to take care of my children?” This question should be asked in respect to both finances and emotions. Make sure you have enough finances to take care of the needs of your children. If you want to be truly responsible for providing for your children, you need to be emotionally strong as well. During divorce cases, custody can be awarded to the other parent if you’re not emotionally or financially stable.

Often, it’s difficult to say how children are going to react when their parents stay apart from each other. Teenagers have the right to choose whom they want to stay with but for younger children they are expected to stay with the parent who can provide for them. Divorce is a more permanent solution to separation and should be considered carefully before proceeding with it.

Being responsive to the needs of your children

Your children’s needs should be the top priority because under no circumstance can they become victims of your own personal fight. If you’re counting on a divorce and don’t want to re-consider your decision, then it’s best that you try staying separately first. Legal separation can help you decide if you really want a divorce or not. Also, it will help you understand your children’s psyche when they live separately from one parent.

Conclusion

Whether you get a legal separation or a divorce is completely your choice but a lot will depend on how your kids react to each of them. Divorces may affect them negatively and in such cases a legal separation is the preferred option. In other cases a divorce may be the best option.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Differences between Separation and Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation; California Divorce MediatorsMany people get confused between the terms ‘separation’ and ‘divorce’. In a divorce, the marriage has legally broken up and the married couple is separated. In a separation, the couple lives separately but they may or may not still be married. Separation is of different kinds.

The division of property and other assets depends on the kind of separation the couple has agreed on. Each state has its own rules regarding division of property. The various kinds of separation have been discussed here.

Trial separation – Couples living apart for a short period on a trial basis go through trial separation. It is during this period that they decide if they want to live separately on a permanent basis or not. Even if they decide not to start living together, their assets and debts from the trial period is considered as marital property. Such a separation is not recognized legally.

Living apart – Couples who do not live under the same roof anymore are living apart. Living apart (with no intention to get back together), in some states, changes the property rights of the couple. While some states will consider the assets and debts during the living apart period as separate, other states will consider the property as joint until a divorce has been legally filed in a court. Some states make it mandatory for couples to live separately for a certain period of time before they can file for a divorce.

Permanent separation – It is when the couple decides to separate permanently. A permanent separation may come after a trial separation or the couple may separate without any intention of reuniting. The assets or debts after a permanent separation are considered to be separate. But certain debts incurred may be considered as joint if they are related to expenditures for the children or for the maintenance of the marital home. A permanent separation may not be legal if nobody files for a legal separation.

Legal separation – It is somewhat like a divorce but not quite so. Many a times, couples do not want to divorce for financial, religious, or other reasons. But they approach a court to grant them a separation and divide their property as would be done in a divorce. The court also gives a ruling on alimony, child custody, child support, and visitation rights.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation