After the difficult decision to dissolve the marriage is made, each of you must determine which course of action is best for you. Depending on your personal beliefs, financial situation, if you have children, and/or other facts and issues, your marriage might be ended by divorce, legal separation or annulment. The person who files the petition will make that choice as to how to proceed.

An experienced divorce attorney will help you understand which type of dissolution is available to you.

Divorce – California is a “no-fault” state: no justification to divorce is required, other than, at least, “irreconcilable differences.” The goal is to resolve all issues and disputes between the two spouses and to determine child custody and visitation and support, property division, and/or spousal support. After the petitioner for dissolution is filed and served on the other spouse, the parties are eligible to be divorced 6 months and 1 day after the other spouse is served.

Legal separation – Legal separation does not terminate the marriage; the parties remain married and neither spouse may marry another person. The spouses can live apart and their rights are defined and assets and liabilities are divided as if the parties were divorced.

Annulment – If a Court finds that the marriage or domestic partnership was not legal, it will be annulled. For this to occur, the party seeking the annulment must prove to the Court that the marriage was not legally valid to start with.

Ending your marriage or domestic partnership can be complicated and overwhelming. A San Francisco divorce attorney can help you through the process and toward a happier future.