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


    Going through a divorce is arguably one of the worst things you’ll ever go through in your life. Emotionally, going through a divorce is analogous to 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 official marriage dissolution documents have been filed with the court to end the marriage, whereas a legal separation can occur either in filing papers for legal separation with the court, or one of the parties to a marriage 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 void, voidable or illegal from its inception. In most cases, it is much harder to get an annulment then a divorce.

    A divorce involves the legal dissolution of a marriage by court order. A divorce is not final in California until a court of competent jurisdiction issues an order declaring that the marriage has been terminated.

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

    Marriages can be contested, uncontested, or by way of default judgment where one of the parties cannot be found 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 related to a divorce case in the state of California are: dissolution of marriage, child custody, child visitation, child support, alimony which is actually known as the name of California spousal support, family support, division of community assets, determination of separate property, division and/or assignment of community businesses, and division and/or assignment of plans of retirement.

    Due to the complex nature of family law litigation in the State of California, we strongly recommend that you hire 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 with respect to certain matters related to your family law case. We can even prepare documents for you if you decide not to retain the services of a lawyer. 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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