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Legal Separation

Legal Separation is Essentially the Same as a Divorce with One Major Difference - You are still Married.

Unlike a divorce, a legal separation does not end a marriage or domestic partnership. In a legal separation, neither party can marry nor enter a partnership with someone else.

Some reasons that a couple may decide on a separation include:

  • Not wanting a divorce but want to live apart and get orders from the court concerning money, property, or parenting matters.

  • Religious beliefs do not allow for a divorce.

  • Personal beliefs

  • Not yet meeting the legal requirements of residency for a divorce in California, 

  • Various financial considerations.


Like a divorce, when you get a legal separation, you can ask the judge to make orders about child custody and parenting time, child support, spousal/partner support, property division, and determining responsibility for debts.

Getting a divorce or a legal separation is essentially the same process. However, there are slight differences in the requirements for obtaining a legal separation and your marital status once the legal separation is complete.

  • One spouse must live in California, but there is no requirement for how long one must live in the state or county.

  • There is no 6 month waiting period.

  • When the process is complete, you are still legally married. As a result, either spouse is forbidden from entering into another marriage or domestic partnership.

At Law Office James Chau, we are here to help you navigate the legal separation process.

The Law Office of James Chau, P.C., represents clients in San Jose, California, and all surrounding areas.

For more information and to schedule a personal consultation with the Law Offices of James Chau, P.C., please contact us online or call our San Jose, California office at (408) 899-8364.

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