Legal Separation Vs. Dissolution: Which Is Right for You?


At The Law Offices of Kayleene H. Writer, we often have clients who come in with questions about the difference between legal separation and dissolution of marriage. If your marriage is on the rocks, it is extremely important to understand the differences between these two options so you can make the choice that’s right for you and your family.

In California, dissolution of marriage is essentially synonymous with divorce. After a dissolution of marriage, you are no longer married. On the other hand, after legal separation, you are still legally married. If either partner wants to get remarried, they will need to dissolve the marriage.

What happens when you get legally separated?

In the legal separation process, assets and debts will be divided as they are in a divorce. If the couple has children, a court-ordered child custody and visitation plan will be put in place. You do not have to meet any residency requirements to pursue legal separation as you do with a dissolution of marriage.

What might be some reasons a couple would choose legal separation?

Religious reasons: Some couples choose legal separation when they no longer want to live together because divorce is against their religion. 

Insurance reasons: Some couples choose legal separation so that one spouse can stay on the other’s health insurance. This is no longer an option once you’re divorced, but some insurance plans allow you to include a spouse you are separated from.

Not sure about divorce: Some couples choose legal separation because they want to see if taking a break will improve their relationship. You might choose legal separation if you’re considering divorce but not ready to commit to it yet. 

Other Options

Whether you’re thinking of dissolving your marriage or legally separating, mediation is an approach you might want to consider. Through mediation, these matters can be handled outside of court. Many people find mediation to be less stressful, to cost less money, and to lead to more win-win solutions.

Who can help?

If you’re struggling in your marriage and need help moving forward, the team at The Law Offices of Kayleene H. Writer is here for you. We can help you better understand your options and support you and represent you on whichever path you choose. Contact us today!