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What is Legal Separation? The Law Offices of Marc E. Mitzner is here to help!

Legal Separation in Newport Beach

The Difference Between Divorce & Legal Separation

When one is considering divorce, it is well to understand all legal avenues that might be applicable in your situation. Many people do not realize there are basically three actions a person may take when faced with the possibility of the dissolution of their marriage. These three actions are specific and distinct areas under the law.

Therefore, it is wise to seek out a practiced and knowledgeable Newport Beach lawyer who can explain each option fully and work with you to determine what option solves your particular personal situation in the best way possible.

What are my options?

In California, there are three actions that couples can take under the law: separation, legal separation and divorce. The logistics of each of these are as follows:


Separation simply means that you and your spouse are living apart. You are not co-habiting. To take this action there is no need to involve the Court, either by filing papers or by decree. If this is something you and your spouse can agree upon- that is all that is necessary. However, it should be noted, that if one or the other spouse opts to leave the home and live elsewhere, this may have repercussions on your situation in the future if you do decide to divorce. Therefore, it is imperative that you speak with a lawyer before you take any action, to find out what those repercussions, if any, might be in your specific situation.

Legal Separation

Divorce vs. Legal Separation

Legal separation does involve the Courts and all of the issues which are involved in a divorce need to be worked out in a legal separation. Property settlement, child support, spousal support, visitation and the like, must be addressed and set out to the satisfaction of the parties and the Family Court. However, the main difference is, that in a legal separation, the two parties are still considered married.

Things to Consider Regarding Legal Separation

In that same regard, the wife may not reclaim her maiden name and neither party would have the right to remarry. Legal separation usually takes about the same time as a divorce (8-10 months) and the legal costs are usually comparable. Why would an individual opt for a legal separation? Many times the decision comes from the parties religious or moral beliefs.

Another factor can be in the area of health insurance. If health insurance is a major issue between the parties, this may be something to consider. The reason being, many health insurance plans will still honor benefits to those who are legally separated -where divorced couples are not. The time covered may be limited to two to three years or there may be other restrictions. So, it is best to check with the covering insurance carrier, employers or the appropriate human services department to find out the particular facts in your case.


Divorce is a completely legal and final action. Under the law there are no longer any future obligations of care or conduct towards the other person (except those set out in the divorce agreement itself, of course). The wife may reclaim her maiden name if she chooses and both parties are free, under the law to marry in the future.

There are many legalities surrounding the process of divorce and a couple different ways to complete the process. Whether you are able to terminate your marriage amicably through a no-fault divorce or you require a third party mediator to help you negotiate the terms of the dissolution of your marriage, you can turn to The Law Offices of Marc E. Mitzner for help. From uncontested divorces to contested divorces, you will undeniably benefit from having a Newport Beach lawyer on your side that will steadfastly advocate on your behalf.

Advantages of Legal Separations

For some couples, legal separation serves as a great alternative for those looking to fundamentally change the dynamics of their marriage, and possibly even end the legal relationship altogether. Unlike an official divorce, there is no standard six-month waiting period that will need to lapse before the legal process can be officially put underway. Instead, legal separations allow for an immediate judgment to be made. The papers will be processed in the court relatively quickly and the legal separation can officially begin. If, later, the couple wishes to dissolve the marriage entirely (through divorce), they will have the option to do so.

Finally, there are many advantages to choosing legal separation. For example, a spouse who does not currently work and has a pre-existing medical condition may be allowed to remain on his / her spouse's health insurance during the legal separation.

In addition, because legal separation is still technically considered a version of marriage, the same advantages that would otherwise apply to a married couple will still remain in effect. This means that even couples who are separated will benefit from the ten-year marriage benefits that are given by Social Security and many other circumstances of a similar nature.

Contact the Newport Beach lawyers at our firm today to receive aggressive representation!