A legal separation is granted in the form of a court order and allows the couple to be separated while remaining legally married. It is not designed to give couples a time-out if they are having marital problems.
While separated, the court has the power to decide on any issues related to the couple’s marriage, including child custody, visitation property division, support, and paying all debts. A separation goes through basically the same process as a divorce; however, it does not end with divorce.
In order to proceed with a legal separation, both parties must agree to one. If not, it becomes a divorce. A legal separation happens immediately – it takes at least six months for a divorce to become final.
If you are considering a legal separation, it is necessary to prepare a formal settlement agreement outlining property division, child custody issues, and support. Contact an Orange County Family Law attorney who has experience in drafting and formalizing a settlement agreement for you and your spouse.