Divorce, Legal Separation & Annulment

Gavel next to the Scales of Justice

A client desiring a marital termination has three legal actions to use; Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce), Legal Separation and Nullity (Annulment). In each of these actions the parties can resolve issues such as child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, property division, and Domestic Violence Restraining Orders.


Dissolution of Marriage, which is more commonly referred to as a Divorce. To file a marital dissolution action, one party must be domiciled in the State of California for six months prior to filing the court action, and that party must also be residing in the county where the action is filed, for three months prior to filing the action. In the event that a party does not meet these domicile and residency requirements, I can file begin the process by filing a Legal Separation action, and once the domicile and residency requirements are satisfied, the action can be amended to a marital dissolution action.

The State of California requires a mandatory six month waiting period before a court can issue a judgment terminating the parties’ marital status. THIS IS NOT AN AUTOMATIC OCCURRENCE and many parties find themselves in predicaments due to being misinformed or misadvised. Before the court can enter a judgment that terminates the parties marital status, one or both parties must comply with mandatory requirements for the court to enter a such a judgment. I am experienced with these laws and court rules, and I have assisted many clients in expeditiously getting their marital status terminated by the court.


Legal Separation actions can be used when the parties have reasons to maintain their marital status, but they desire to terminate all other ties. They may want to commence such an action, as referenced above, to begin the divorce process, while they satisfy he domicile and residency requirements, or they have religious beliefs that prohibit them from obtaining a divorce, or, a legal separation action enables one party to maintain employee health insurance benefits for the other party.


Nullity or an Annulment action is typically used in situations where one or both of the parties were married when they entered into another marriage. These cases happen due to parties not fully understanding that the court had not terminated their marital status prior to entering into another marriage. In these cases, the innocent spouse may have some very beneficial rights regarding spousal support and property division.

If you are contemplating a marital dissolution action, and want to prepare yourself before filing the action, I can assist you in this process. In many cases, prior planning and waiting for certain events to pass will benefit the outcome of a marital.

Copyright 2016 by Randall A. Dierlam
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