Information on Divorce, Dissolution of Marriage, Legal Separation and Annulment in California

Going through a divorce is arguably one of the worst things you will ever go through in your life. Emotionally, going through a divorce is analogous to going through a death in the family. The proper term for a divorce in the state of California is “dissolution of marriage.”

The difference between a divorce and a legal separation is that in a divorce, the formal paperwork for dissolution of marriage has been filed with the court to end the marriage, while a legal separation can occur by filing paperwork for legal separation with the court, or by one of the parties to a marriage who decides to separate with the intention of permanently ending the marriage. It should be noted that a legal separation can occur even if the parties still live together.

The difference between a divorce and an annulment is that in the case of an annulment, the marriage is null, voidable, or not legal from the start. In most cases it is much more difficult to obtain an annulment than a divorce.

A divorce involves the legal termination of a marriage by court order. A divorce is not final in California until an order is issued by a court of competent jurisdiction that the marriage has ended.

In California, there are two types of dissolution of marriage proceedings available; (1) Summary dissolution of marriage, and (2) Standard dissolution of marriage. Most marriages will not qualify for the summary dissolution of marriage procedure that is available in California.

Marriages may be contested, uncontested, or in absentia when one party cannot be located or refuses to participate in the proceedings.

California is one of the so-called “no-fault” divorce states. The most common reason for filing for divorce in the state of California is irreconcilable differences. A party can also file for divorce on the grounds of death or insanity.

The most common issues involved in a divorce case in the state of California are: dissolution of marriage, child custody, child visitation, child support, alimony which is actually known as spousal support in California, child support family, division of community property, determination of separate property, the division and/or adjudication of community businesses, and the division and/or adjudication of retirement plans.

Due to the complex nature of family law litigation in the state of California, we recommend retaining an attorney to represent you. Our law firm can represent you in your divorce proceedings and all matters related to it. Our law firm can also provide you with limited representation regarding certain matters related to your family law case. We can even do the document preparation for you if you decide not to hire an attorney. You can call us now for a free consultation at 818-739-1544 extension 10.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq. © 2006

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