November 12, 2012 By Paul Wallin


Your spouse is getting on your last nerves. You want to end the relationship, but you are faced with a dilemma: Should you get a divorce or should just legally separate? Don’t know the difference? The experienced family law attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are here to explain.


In a divorce, both spouses are effectively dissolving their marital bonds and ending their marital relationship, which includes all the duties and responsibilities of marriage. In other words, divorce is a legal action that couples undertake in order to end their marriage.

Divorce laws vary from state to state. The state of California adopted a no-fault divorce system by enacting the Family Law Act of 1969, which abolished the action for divorce and replaced it with the proceeding for dissolution of marriage on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. Under this system, California, in effect, eliminated the requirement of showing fault in order to obtain a divorce. Thus, divorce proceedings may be initiated by one party without the consent of the other party.

Legal Separation

A legal separation, on the other hand, does not end the marital relationship. In a legal separation, two individuals wish to continue their marital status, but no longer wish to live their lives together.

In order to obtain a legal separation, both spouses must seek a court order from a judge that will outline the rights and responsibilities of each spouse. Otherwise known as a separation agreement, the court order can address similar issues that a divorce would address, such as child support, child custody, alimony, division of assets, spousal support, etc.

Which one is better?

Although both situations can be difficult for all parties involved, there are some advantages that a legal separation has over a divorce. Firstly, couples could live apart. The separation gives each spouse time to rethink their relationship and decide whether a divorce is what they truly want. With a legal separation, certain benefits are not eliminated, such as social security and medical benefits. Lastly, if a couple proceeds with a legal separation first and then decides to continue with the divorce proceedings, a court will use the separation agreement as a template for the divorce settlement agreement. Thus, legal separation is like a divorce test drive for each spouse to discover what they truly want from the relationship.

Rely on the Experience of Wallin & Klarich

Whether you decide on a legal separation or a divorce, the process can be very complex and difficult. In order to get the best possible result from a case, you need the help from the experienced divorce attorneys from Wallin & Klarich. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been successfully representing clients facing divorce and other family law matters for over 30 years. We are here to help you with your legal separation or divorce at any one of our many offices located throughout Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside divorce attorneys, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura counties. Please call us today at 888-749-7428. We will be there when you call.

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