There are many reasons why spouses may wish to separate their affairs and yet remain legally married or as domestic partners .
A couple may wish to seek a legal separation for religious or personal reasons, so they may remain legally married or as domestic partners while living separate lives. For married couples, one argument for legal separation is that there are significant health insurance consequences upon divorce: Under federal COBRA legislation health insurance coverage is lost soon (between 18 to 36 months) after marital status is terminated.
Other economic consequences involve tax planning, or estate planning. In a compassionate breakup where a new marriage is not expected, legal separation can be a beneficial alternative to divorce in order to preserve certain benefits and protections to both persons.
In some cases, spouses may wish to separate in order to take a ‘time-out’ to make a decision about whether to go through with a divorce sometime later. It can give each spouse the breathing room they need to rethink their future together.
To be eligible to file a dissolution of any kind in California you must reside in this State for at least 6 months. You do not need to establish residency in California in order to file a Petition for Legal Separation. This means that you can avail yourself of protections in this state under while you establish residency here, and later amend your pleadings to seek a divorce.