A legal separation is almost identical to a dissolution with three exceptions:
Marital Status does NOT changeNo Residency RequirementBoth parties must consent to a judgment of legal separation

Marital Status

A judgment for legal separation cannot alter a person’s marital status. For all intents and purposes the parties are still married, however, they have divided property, obtained support orders and negotiated a custody and visitation schedule just like in a dissolution. There are several reasons why parties choose to obtain a legal separation rather than a divorce, contact Attorney Erica C. Affinito to discuss whether this option is right for you.

No Residency Requirement


A legal separation has no residency requirement. A new arrival to California can bypass the dissolution six month waiting rule by filing a petition requesting a legal separation. Once the residency requirement is met the petition can be converted to a dissolution.


There are very compelling reasons for filing for a legal separation while waiting to achieve residence:
Temporary Orders: By filing for a legal separation a party can ask the court to make temporary orders regarding child support, spousal support, child custody and visitation, exclusive use and other orders. Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders: Filing a petition for legal separation offers immediate protections to the petitioner by prohibiting either party from disposing of property or changing insurance beneficiaries, etc.

Judgment of Legal Separation

A respondent may prevent a petitioner from obtaining a judgment of legal separation by indicating to the court that he or she does not consent to the judgment. However, if the respondent does not make this known to the court by filing a response to the request for legal separation, the court can grant the judgment based on the respondent’s non-appearance.

Deciding to end a relationship is very difficult. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed, contact Attorney Erica C. Affinito for a free consultation to discuss your options and determine what to do next.