Experienced. Dedicated. Successful.

Westlake Village Separation Lawyer

How is Legal Separation Different From Divorce?

It is important to understand that legal separation does not mean the marriage is over. The main difference between legal separation and divorce is that divorce is absolute and considered the final step. In California, legal separation works in very similar ways to divorce, however, you cannot marry another person unless you are divorced.

A skilled Westlake divorce & family attorney can assist you with filing for legal separation and help you understand your legal options. Some couples use legal separation as a trial period to get an idea of what life will be like if they divorce or to decide if divorce is the right decision. This is also the time to settle terms about issues such as child custody and visitation, which are often similar to the way divorces are handled.

What Is the Purpose of Legal Separation?

Legal separation allows couples to split up the responsibilities while still married, but living tier lives separate from each other while also maintaining legal rights. Some choose legal separation for a variety of reasons, such as religious beliefs. There are several other benefits that may be better for your personal circumstances.

Here are some of the key elements and benefits of legal separation:

  • The terms of separation are similar to a divorce. Each couple has the chance to decide whether or not he or she can continue living with the terms.
  • You do not need to maintain California residency for 6 months prior to filing, as opposed to divorce.
  • A spouse can continue to receive insurance coverage from the other spouse.
  • One or the other spouse may still be entitled to certain tax breaks.
  • Marital status is preserved in order to gain benefits, such as social security, which requires a minimum 10 years of marriage.
  • Your culture or religious beliefs do not allow divorce. Legal separation can allow you to live life as though you are not married, but you can still retain your marital status.

There are also some cases where a judge will need to order legal separation, if, for example, one spouse does not wish to divorce and refuses to comply with the proceedings. If you are the filing party, you have the burden of proving to the courts that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and there is no chance of reconciliation as a result. I urge you to discuss your case with a skilled and knowledgeable Westlake Village family law attorney to iron out the details and find a plan that is most ideal.

Free Initial Consultation. Call My Westlake Village Family Law Firm Today!

With over 35 years of experience behind me, I, Attorney Jeffrey S. Graff, offer you legal advice and results-driven legal services. I have previously worked as Judge Pro Tem, as well as a mediator. I know how to handle difficult and often contentious situations, especially involving legal separation and divorce. I provide one-on-one counsel and give you undivided attention as we work through your case.

My firm, the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff has assisted clients throughout the Ventura area, including Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Newbury Park, and Calabasas. I am ready to help you—call today!

Hear it From Our
Happy Clients

  • His team helped restore hope into our family in a time of uncertainty. That alone make Jeff a fantastic attorney aside from his knowledgeable legal skills.

    “Jeff and his team are by far the best to work with. His staff is kind, courteous, and he is excellent at getting the job done in a timely fashion. He is very straight forward and makes it easy to understand what is going on step by step in your case. His experience and insight into the family law field is excellent. Jeff and his office have helped my family tremendously and I would recommend him to anyone who is looking for family law help. If you wants to be sure it is done correct the first time and that your family's best interest are always cared for, he is the guy. His team helped restore hope into our family in a time of uncertainty. That alone make Jeff a fantastic attorney aside from his knowledgeable legal skills.”


  • Mr. Graff, thank you so very much for all you have done for me and my family.

    “I am writing this to let you know how much I appreciate all your past services in completing my divorce and inter-spousal transfer deed! I want to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for your expertise, patience, and professionalism during a very difficult time in my life.Thanks to you taking good care of my case, I refinanced my home in March of this year, and finally have the new deed in my name! This blessing is because you agreed to take my case and you and your staff completed the transaction through the end ... thank you! Mr. Graff, thank you so very much for all you have done for me and my family I am very appreciative and wanted you to know.”

    Former Client

  • I have faith in Jeffery Graff.

    “I am a battered woman. Jeffrey saw this when I walked in a year ago to hire him to get a divorce. I was not ready. I thought I could save my 27yr marriage. He knew I would be back when I was ready. He never pushed me to follow through, he waited for me to make to be ready for the long haul. I finally did it! I got tired of being abused in so many ways. Jeffery is a very patient man. I know he will take care of me!!!!! So far so good. I know he is going to keep me in my house for now or ever. He was honest and said we may have to sell but I know the job will get done in my best interest!”

    Former Client

  • I highly recommend!

    “My experience with Jeff's expertise was non other than A-one! He tackled my case swiftly and efficiently with the utmost professionalism. I highly recommend!”

    Former Client

  • An Amazing Lawyer!

    “I would recommend Jeffrey to anyone that is going though a divorce or child custody. He did his job and helped me get through one of the toughest parts in my life. He is amazing and I can't thank him enough for helping me with this situation. I called around to a few different attorneys and he was the one that just made me feel good and he was super feasible for my situation.”

    Former Client