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Divorce / Dissolution

Divorce or marriage dissolution in California

Unfortunately, more than half of all marriages end in divorce. The reasons one or both people choose to end a marriage are many. There are three ways in which to end a marriage or domestic partnership: divorce, legal separation, and annulment. Take a minute here on our website to learn more about each type and which is right for you. Whether you are considering ending your relationship or already in the process, you deserve to know your options and work with a law firm that will protect and fight for you.

Divorce is a legal action that terminates or dissolves a marriage. In California, divorce is considered “no fault” which means neither side needs to prove a reason for the divorce. You may have heard the term “irreconcilable differences” often when celebrities are ending a marriage. This is another legal term which simply means the two spouses can no longer get along. That is all that is required under California divorce law.

The process of divorce does not require both spouses to agree. Only one needs to file for divorce to begin proceedings. This situation makes it especially important for you to have legal counsel because it will almost certainly become a difficult and contentious process. There will be disagreement about property or child custody and your rights should be protected. If you believe divorce is looming on the horizon, it is important to file first so that you establish control over the progress of the case, especially if it goes to trial. If your spouse or domestic partner fails to respond to the filing or doesn’t participate once the case moves forward, you can still push forward with the divorce and earn a “default” judgment. Speak with your attorney about your options.

A legal separation is not the end of a marriage. Under California law, you will remain married and can not marry someone else. This may be a preferred option if a couple does not want to get divorced for religious or other personal reasons. You must still meet California residency requirements, just like a divorce. Although not divorced, a legal separation can still stipulate how property or child custody is handled, how debts are assigned, and other monetary issues are decided. Legal separations can be transitioned to divorce proceedings in the future if necessary.

An annulment is a unique end to a marriage that meets one of the following requirements:

  • One of the spouses was under 18 at the time of the marriage
  • One of the spouses was already legally married to someone else at the time of the marriage
  • The spouses are close blood relatives (incestuous)
  • One of the spouses was married under force, fraud, physical incapacity, or mental incapacity

If any of these circumstances can be proven to a judge, you may be entitled to an annulment. In such cases, we strongly recommend you obtain legal counsel before filing for an annulment.

The end of a marriage is unfortunate and usually an emotionally challenging time for everyone involved. Families and friends become involved and the legal rights of the spouses and children can be passionately fought. Choose a lawyer that will aggressively and professionally represent you in court. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, please contact our office today.