Orange County Legal Separation Lawyers

Posted By admin, On August 29, 2020

Deciding to get married is a pivotal decision that necessitates shared decision-making in most areas of life.  That can include everything from finances to child rearing. Making your way through these challenges can be tough even with the best of planning. At times, circumstances change dramatically after marrying.  Sometimes one spouse feels the need for a time-out, but isn’t yet prepared to dissolve the marriage. This can be accomplished as a legal separation, which may be permanent or it can precede a divorce. Legal Separation carries important legal consequences, depending on what state you got married and/or reside in.

Legal Separation Process in Orange County

In California, a legal separation doesn’t legally end a marriage or domestic partnership. Instead, it is the document that comes out of a court case in which the rights and responsibilities of spouses who want to live apart are determined. Although legally separated parties are still lawfully wedded, they can have the benefit of enforceable court orders splitting up their finances or directing the custody and support of their children. Also, they might be able to retain certain marital benefits, like health or life insurance.

The process of filing for a legal separation in Orange County is pretty much the same as that used for a divorce/dissolution. A spouse needs to file a petition and pay a filing fee.  They then must serve the petition on the other spouse, and also file financial disclosures with the court. That said, unlike no residency requirements are mandated for a legal separation.

Legal Separation Laws in the State of California: At A Glance

The list below contains the basics of legal separation laws in California.  These are also the bases for legal separation and the procedure to obtain a court order.

Statutes Covering Separation in the California Family Code 

  • Family Code Section 2310 (grounds for separation)
  • Family Code Section 2330 (process to initiate separation)
  • Family Code Section 2030 (requests for attorney’s fees for a separation)

Grounds for Legal Separation

Legal separation of the parties may be based on either of the following grounds:

Irreconcilable differences, which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage; or

Incurable insanity.

Date of Actual Separation

No couple is legally separated until the court hands down a judgment. Nevertheless, the date of actual separation can have an effect on the parties’ rights and responsibilities, especially as pertains to community property. In California, an actual separation occurs where a spouse:


Expresses his or her intent to end the marriage; and

Engages in conduct consistent with an intent to end the marriage (i.e. moves into a separate residence).


In Orange County, is Legal Separation Required before a Divorce?

It is not. Nonetheless, the state of California does impose a 6 month “cooling off” period before a divorce order can be entered.


Note: State laws are always subject to possible changes by way of the passage of new legislation, rulings in higher courts ( federal decisions included), ballot initiatives, and other circumstances. Please consult a lawyer to verify the state law you are working with.