If one spouse or domestic partner wishes to end the marriage or domestic partnership, even if the other spouse or domestic partner does not want a divorce, they can file for a dissolution of marriage (divorce) or domestic partnership.
California is a “no fault” state, meaning that the spouse or domestic partner that is filing for a divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse or domestic partner did anything wrong. The spouse or domestic partner would file for a divorce based on the grounds of either irreconcilable differences or permanent legal incapacity to make decisions (this would need to be proven).
In California, you cannot obtain a divorce decree any sooner than 6 months and 1 day from the time that the Summons and Petition is served on the other party. Although this seems like a very long time, it is not uncommon for the divorce process to take longer. Some parties are able to complete the process before the 6 months and 1 day, however, they will not return to the status of a single person until after the Judgment of Dissolution is filed with the court, and no less than 6 months and 1 day from the service of the Summons and Petition.
In order to file for a dissolution in California you or your spouse or domestic partner must have lived in California for the last 6 months and you must have lived in the county where you plan to file the divorce for the last 3 months. If you do not meet the residency requirements you may consider filing for a legal separation until you do meet the requirements.
Depending on your own circumstances, you may choose to legally separate instead of filing for a dissolution (divorce). There are a number of reasons that someone may lean towards a legal separation over a dissolution. These reasons include:
A legal separation is for couples who want to live separate and apart, but do not want to divorce. If you obtain a legal separation, neither party is free to re-marry as a legal separation does not terminate the marital status.
In order to obtain a legal separation, you do not have to meet the California residency requirement which is required to obtain a dissolution.
An annulment is when the court finds that your marriage or domestic partnership was not valid. A marriage or domestic partnership is not valid and is considered void if there is incest or bigamy.
A marriage or domestic partnership is not valid and is considered voidable under the following circumstances: the petitioner was a minor at the time of the marriage or registration of domestic partnership; prior existing marriage or domestic partnership; unsound mind; fraud; force; or physical incapacity.
If your marriage or domestic partnership is annulled, it is as if the marriage or domestic partnership never existed because it was not valid to begin with.
To discuss your circumstances with a compassionate, and caring Auburn divorce attorney, call the Law Office of Sara S. Thompson, PC.