Legal separation shares characteristics with a divorce (also known as "dissolution" of marriage). Both proceedings provide for the division of marital assets and debts; child custody; child support; and spousal support. However, a decree of legal separation does not dissolve the marital status and does not permit the parties to remarry.
In California, a spouse can file for legal separation without having lived in California for six months or in the county of Los Angeles for three months before filing, as is required for a dissolution of marriage. One can file a petition for legal separation and later amend it to one for dissolution once the residency requirements have been met.
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