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There is no intention to hire any lawyers for this very amicable and uncontested divorce.

While it's true that you can both file as single if you are legally separated under a divorce or separate maintenance decree, why would you want to? Married/joint is generally the best tax rate, marriage penalty notwithstanding. That is, your married/joint tax liability is likely to be quite a bit less than the sum of your separate/single tax liabilities. (I'm just talking federal taxes here - I don't know a thing about CA taxes.)

So - if the parting is as amicable as you say, why not just file jointly? If there's a great disparity between your incomes, just apportion the tax liability accordingly: if one of you contributed 65% of the taxable income, then that person pays 65% of the tax bill. Work out the numbers and fix any imbalance with a cash payment from one to the other. Even if it's a big cash payment, there's no gift tax complication since you're still married...

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