The reasons for obtaining a legal separation in California and the process to accomplish it are very similar to a dissolution proceeding. The process is basically the same for a legal separation as for a divorce. All issues surrounding the marriage are resolved as they would be in a full divorce proceeding.
The main difference in a legal separation is that, at the end of the process the parties remain legally married. In a legal separation all issues pertaining to property, debt, children and support are resolved. Unlike in a divorce, however, the parties are still eligible to retain certain benefits that would otherwise be lost in a dissolution proceeding.
Another key difference is that there is no residence requirement under CCP Section 395 which would require one of the parties to have been a California resident for at least 6 months.