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The basics of filing for a California divorce

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2020 | Blog |

Divorce is a scary word, regardless of the reasons behind seeking a divorce. In our society, it is seen as a dirty word, a failure. But, sometimes, things just do not work out how we wish they would, and divorce is our only option. Worse yet, occasionally, there is domestic violence issues that necessitate an immediate divorce. Nonetheless, understand the basics of a divorce can help demystify it and make the process a little less scary.


The first type of divorce is the traditional understanding, dissolution. This is the formal, legal ending of a California marriage. To get this, a resident must have lived in the state for at least six months.

Legal separation

Next is legal separation. This is not a divorce though because the parties are still legally married. However, this does allow the couple to divide assets and debt, including child visitation and custody. Unlike a full dissolution though, there is no residency requirement for a legal separation, which means that those new to our state can use this until they achieve six months of residency to qualify for a dissolution.

Marriage nullification

Nullification, otherwise known as nullity or a judgment of nullity, is a legal determination that the marriage never legally occurred. In other words, it restores both spouses to their pre-marriage state. Though, this has several requirements. First to qualify, one must have not been 18 when the marriage occurred, and the spouses did not live has a married couple after reaching the age of 18. Another basis is fraud. Though, the fraud must be the basis of the marriage. Consent is required as well, so if consent was obtained by force, it could be a nullifying reason. Of course, if one is married already, a post-marriage can be nullified, and if one could not physically consent, it is a nullification reason.

As one can see, the process can become complicated. This is why California courts recommend those seeking divorce to consult an attorney.