How do I legally separate from my husband in California? 9 Answers as of February 15, 2011

I would like to legally separate from my husband. What is my first step?

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Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
You would file a petition for legal separation in the county where you reside. If you have any further questions, please let me know.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/15/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
There is a difference between "separation" and "Legal Separation."

A "Legal Separation" is essentially the same as a Dissolution of Marriage, except that you remain married to your spouse, i.e., it results in permanent orders of child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division, BUT if you get a Judgment of Legal Separation, it will take a separate Divorce case to dissolve your marital status. People who seek a Legal Separation are usually people who belong to a religion in which Divorce is frowned upon or not allowed. The first step in a Legal Separation is to prepare and file the Petition and Summons (and any related documents) and have a copy of the filed documents served on your spouse.

I think you mean by your question, how can you "separate" from your husband and have that separation recognized by the Court?

You can separate by telling your spouse that you intend to get a divorce, by writing to your spouse that you intend to get a divorce, by physically separating from your spouse (moving out of the bedroom may be sufficient), by not conducting your relationship with your spouse as though you are still married, and by filing an action for Dissolution of Marriage (i.e., a Divorce case). Separation comprises words conveyed to your spouse to the effect that your marriage is over and that you don't intend to resume your marriage, along with objective manifestations of your intentions.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/14/2011
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
The first step is to file a Petition for Legal Separation. I would be happy to help you with your case. Please contact me for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/14/2011
Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP
Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP | Hal D. Bartholomew
The only method to become legally separated from a spouse is to file a petition for legal separation. Once a Judgment of Legal Separation is entered you are legally separated. This requires that paperwork be submitted to the court by both husband and wife or you need to set court dates. Until that Judgment is signed by the Judge you are legally separated. You should talk to an attorney about the differences between filing for a legal separation or for a dissolution of marriage. Once you have been granted a decree of legal separation you are still married.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/14/2011
Law Office of Curry & Westgate
Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
File for legal separation, contact a family law attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/14/2011
    Goldberg Jones
    Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
    File a Petition for Legal Separation. You may rather file for a Dissolution and you should discuss your options with an attorney before you make any moves.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/14/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    To get a legal separation, you will need to file a Petition for Legal Separation with your local county courthouse, along with a summons, and if there are children, an additional form called UCCJEA Declaration.

    You will file an original and two copies of all such forms. The court clerk will give you back the two copies, one you keep for yourself, and the other you will need to serve on your husband. After you serve such papers on your husband, there are additional step to move your case toward final resolution.

    You can go to the legal self help center of your local courthouse for help with filling out and filing the initial court forms, as well as help finalizing your case. Or, simply call a local family law lawyer to help. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/14/2011
    Maclean Chung Law Firm
    Maclean Chung Law Firm | G. Thomas MacLean Jr.
    The first step toward Legal Separation if to file a petition for Legal Separation with the Court, and serve it on your husband. However, if he does not consent to a Legal Separation, and he responds to your petition, then the case becomes a Divorce case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/14/2011
    Michael Rose Attorney at Law
    Michael Rose Attorney at Law | Michael Rose
    Yes, you can do a legal separation in California. What will a separation do for you? It will separate your debts from the point you legally separation. You can not remarry. And you can stay on the health insurance from your husband if that is the case. If he wants to get a divorce, he can change it from separation to divorce. Call to discuss.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/14/2011
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