California defines divorce, or dissolution of marriage, as a judge’s order that effectively “restore[s] the parties to the state of unmarried persons.”
You are now considering or have decided to end your relationship. Divorce can be a traumatic experience or can be amicably resolved, depending upon the position or point of view of each party. Some couples feel that litigation is the avenue they prefer because they wish to have little or no contact with the other party. Others feel the privacy of negotiations is a preferred method.
Dissolution of your marriage can be accomplished via the litigation process or via mediation. Both processes resolve the same issues in concluding your marital relationship.
Hassett Family Law can assist you through your dissolution by either process, litigation or mediation, depending upon your individual circumstances.
What is Involved in Divorce and Legal Separation Proceedings
- Custody of the children,
- What the amount of child support or spousal support, and
- Division of all property, both real property and personal property
Likewise, the courts can issue a judgment regarding property rights and child custody with respect to legal separation, without dissolving the marriage. Child support,
Divorce for Unmarried Partners and Same-Sex Couples
Since 2003, registered domestic partners also share the same rights and obligations as married couples in California, including the right to terminate such partnership.
Legal Separation – Alternative to Divorce
Under certain circumstances, a divorce may not be your best option. Many couples choose legal separation. Legal separation is more favorable when the divorce residency requirement has not been met, to keep certain benefits, or for religious reasons. Generally, California courts cannot approve legal separation without the consent of both parties. The spouses can later convert the legal separation into a divorce; in such cases, the California residency requirement may not apply.
Residency Requirements for Divorce in California
In California one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for six months, and of the county where filing for at least three months.
An exception to this rule is permitted in the case of nullity proceedings, legal separation, or same-sex marriage.
For same-sex marriages, certain circumstances apply. To establish jurisdiction the parties must have entered into their formal relationship in California, or their current state of residency refuses to dissolve the union.
The Divorce Waiting Period
In California no divorce can be finalized until six months have passed since the divorce petition and summons have been served on the non-filing spouse, or respondent. This is commonly referred to as the “cooling off” period. If the respondent appears before the Court prior to being served with the summons and petition, the six month period can be deemed as started as of the date of the appearance.