Divorce

California Divorce, Nullity and Legal Separation

Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in Divorce | 3 comments

Divorce is not the only way to end a marriage, although it is the cleanest and legally best way to call it quits. Under California law, which is on par with most states, there are also the options of annulment and legal separation.

Under a divorce decree, the state recognizes that a legal marriage had taken place, and that the concerned parties now wish to end the contract, divide the spoils and be on their way. An annulment, on the other hand, is a nullity of the marriage. This means that no legal marriage had taken place. This could be for a number of reasons, including a bigamous or incestuous marriage, or if one of the spouses was not of a legal age to get married. Other grounds may include fraud, married under duress, and mental illness. To qualify for an annulment, one has to go before a judge who will decide if there are grounds for it. In California, there is no residency requirement to apply for annulment, such as there is for divorce.

Also unlike divorce, the courts have no jurisdiction over child custody, property division, or spousal support in an annulment because the marriage was not valid in the first place. The parties involved will have to figure out and agree to a division of any property. The children of such a partnership are illegitimate, and the father has no obligation to provide child support. However, if the husband can prove paternity, there may be grounds for suing for custody of the child or children.

In a divorce or annulment, the marriage is ended and both parties are free to marry again. In legal separation, the marriage is not ended and the parties cannot remarry, but all the other aspects of divorce may apply such as property division, child custody and separation of residence. In any of these three options for ending a marriage a lawyer conversant with the laws governing them will be of invaluable assistance in protecting the rights of the client.

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