If I want a divorce but my spouse wants a Legal separation, do I have to take the legal separation route first or can I go ahead and file for a divorce?
I can't speak for every jurisdiction; only California (I would be surprised if other states weren't similar though). There really is no reason to oppose a divorce and insist on a legal separation instead. It used to be that some HMOs would allow a legally separated spouse to remain on the other spouse's health insurance but not a divorced spouse. I always have my clients check with the HMO in question to see what their policy is. In any event, by all means, file for dissolution. The other side can request a legal separation, but I strongly suspect he or she will lose on that.