Parties to a Sacramento divorce often misunderstand the difference between legal separation and divorce. In Sacramento divorce cases, a judgment of legal separation is different that a judgment of divorce. A judgment of legal separation divides up property, results in custody orders and support orders, but otherwise leaves the parties in the formal status of still being married. This means that even though everything is divided up, the parties are still legally married and cannot re-marry. A judgment of divorce is different from a judgment of legal separation because a judgment of divorce actually restores the status of both spouses to single persons. They can legally remarry.
Another common misunderstanding is confusing a “judgment of legal separation” and “being separated” from one’s spouse. The spouses become “legally separated” on the date that one spouse clearly communicates to the other spouse that the marriage is over and all subsequent facts demonstrate this statement to be true. These other subsequent facts can include: no further marital sexual intercourse, friends and family are told of the separation, one spouse leaves the family home, cessation of gifts/cards/flowers, etc. (However, a spouse does not have to actually leave the family residence to be “legally separated.”) A Sacramento judgment of legal separation is a court order dividing up the property and setting custody and support rights, but not entering a divorce.
If you are in a Sacramento divorce or legal separation case, or if you believe you and your spouse have become legally separated and are in need of legal advice, please give our office a call. It is important that you have an attorney help you understand your legal rights and obligations.