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