The terms “divorce” and “legal separation” are distinctly different. Legal separation does not mean the dissolution of marriage while divorce means the end of a marriage. After a divorce, couples can go back to their single status. Legal separation means the couples are still married but do not stay together.
There are many reasons why legal separation takes place before a marriage. Some couples feel that opting for a divorce is a serious matter and should be taken slowly. Being legally separated allows couples to reflect on the issue they have with their marriage.
In certain cases, couples change from legal separation to divorce. In California, it is easy to convert a legal separation to a divorce and all that is required is a simple conversion. It can be done anytime during the legal process and it takes only one spouse to make the request. It also involves filing a petition which the other spouse must comply to.
In California, judicial counsel form, FL100, is used for making petitions in legal separation and divorce. Couples who want to change the petition simply need to file a second petition known as the Amended petition. In cases where one of the spouses hasn’t responded to the first petition, the other spouse simply needs to file the petition and send a serving notice. There are no charges for filing the amended petition. If a legal separation is still in process and one of the spouses has still not responded to the petition, then the other spouse can file the amended petition.
It is important for both spouses to meet the residency requirements of the state because the law for legal separation is different in each state. In certain cases where the legal separation has not been obtained but the petition has been filed, the spouse would require an approval request from the court. After a legal separation gets finalized, spouses who want a divorce have to file a new case and start over again. Sometimes, couples prefer to stay as legally separated for an extended period of time when such cases arise.
The State of California believes that every individual has the right to decide the fate of their marriage. In California, it’s an easy process to change from a legal separation to a divorce and only takes a simple petition to change the status. Getting divorced in California can be complicated. Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.