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In California, there are three options for ending a marriage, and each has its own requirements. The three ways that registered domestic partners or married couples can end their marriages are:
Both partners or spouses do not have to agree that any of these options is what they want. Either person in the relationship can decide that he or she wants out. This means that deciding not to participate in the divorce won’t do you any good – the filing party will simply end up with a judgment by default.
California is a “no fault” state for divorce. This means that neither partner or spouse has to prove that something wrong was done by the other partner or spouse. One partner or spouse has to tell the court that “irreconcilable differences” led to the demise of the registered domestic partnership or marriage.
The person who is filing will need to determine how to end the marriage or domestic partnership. If divorce is the chosen option, do you meet the summary dissolution requirements? Most people will not meet the requirements, but if they do, there is no requirement to go in front of a judge. Here are the requirements for a summary dissolution:
If any of the above requirements are not met, then you will not qualify for a summary dissolution and must file for a regular divorce.
When filing for divorce or legal separation, it is best to contact an attorney, as the court process can be complicated. This is especially true if either party is seeking child custody, child support, property division or spousal support.
The next steps required for a divorce or legal separation depend on whether there is an agreement on the matters of child support, child custody, property division or spousal support and if the non-filing spouse filed a response. Mediation may be an option to help you save money on legal fees and time, as well as the stress of fighting it out in court.
An annulment may be filed for when the marriage or partnership is not considered legally valid. Some reasons include:
If an annulment is granted, it is as if the partnership or marriage never occurred. That means if there were children born during the partnership or marriage, it may require that paternity be established. There is no spousal support and property division could be divided in such a way that is not governed by community property laws.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified divorce lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local divorce attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.