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What is Legal Separation?
A legal separation is for couples who do not want to divorce but want to live apart. It does not end a marriage. You cannot remarry or enter in a domestic partnership if you are legally separated. With a legal separation, the Court can issue orders about:
  • Child Custody
  • Child Visitation
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support
  • Community and Separate Property
  • Community and Separate Debt

If you are the person filing for legal separation, you are the petitioner. The other party is the respondent. The respondent must be personally served with specific paperwork. If the respondent does not file the necessary responding paperwork within 30 days of service, the petitioner may request an entry of default. The legal separation proceeding can then be completed without the participation of the respondent. If the respondent responds to the paperwork and requests a dissolution of marriage, the Court will grant the dissolution of marriage. If the respondent files the necessary responding paperwork, the case proceeds as a contested or uncontested legal separation.
 
In a contested legal separation the:
  • Parties are unable to agree on some or all issues
  • Unresolved issues must be settled by the Court
  • Judgment is submitted and signed by the Court when complete
In a uncontested legal separation the:
  • Parties are able to agree on all issues
  • Judgment is submitted and signed by the Court when complete
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