Marriage can be a rollercoaster…and the rollercoaster ride can continue until that ride has come to an end. There are several legal options in California to terminate a relationship, which generally include divorce and legal separation — although important to note that they are two different processes with different legal implications.
The marriage between actor Dennis Quaid and his current wife has taken several paths, including both divorce and legal separation. The estranged couple, who is still legally married, stopped their pending divorce in early 2012. The termination of their pending divorce proceedings may have indicated a reconciliation of their relationship, but the couple has now filed for legal separation. Both the divorce and the legal separation documents were filed by Dennis Quaid’s current wife.
Although a divorce and legal separation are two distinct legal actions, one can foreshadow the other. Reports for the estranged couple state the current legal separation is only the precursor to an actual divorce. A legal separation is useful when a couple has not formally filed for divorce, but has chosen to live separately.
Generally during a legal separation, the presiding court will outline the rights and responsibilities of each spouse within the bounds of their separate lives. This can be a useful tool when an estranged couple has children, as the court may make a determination about child support and child custody during the legal separation process. Dennis Quaid and his current wife have two minor children and his current wife is reportedly seeking sole physical custody, with visitation rights for Dennis Quaid, of their children during the legal separation process.
Source: The Los Angeles Times, “Dennis Quaid divorce back in play; wife files for separation,” Christie D’Zurilla, Oct. 19, 2012