There are three main ways to end a marriage or registered domestic partnership in California: divorce, legal separation, and annulment. It is not necessary for both spouses or domestic partners to agree to end the marriage. Either spouse or partner can decide to end the marriage, and the other spouse/partner, even if he or she does not want to get a divorce, cannot stop the process by refusing to participate in the case. If a spouse or domestic partner does not participate in the divorce case, the other spouse/partner will still be able to get a “default” judgment and the divorce will go through.

Terminate A Marriage

There are only two legal grounds for dissolution of marriage or legal separation in California. The first is “irreconcilable differences,” meaning the marriage or partnership cannot be saved. The other reason is “incurable insanity” which, unlike irreconcilable differences, must be proven.

No Fault Divorce

California is a “no fault” divorce state, which means that the spouse or domestic partner that is asking for the divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse or domestic partner did something wrong. To get a no fault divorce, 1 spouse or domestic partner has to state that the couple cannot get along. Legally, this is called “irreconcilable differences.”

After you decide how you want to end your marriage or domestic partnership, you need to plan your case ahead of time. Think about how you are going to handle your case. Planning before you start and talking to a lawyer can save you time and money as you go through the court process. And keep in mind that, normally, it does not matter who is the first to file the divorce or separation case. The court does not give any preference to the first person to file or a disadvantage to the person who responds to the case.

3 Stages of Divorce

For your convenience and to provide step-by-step A’Law Carte services to assist through the entire divorce process, Flash breaks down the Dissolution of Marriage process into three stages.

  • Stage 1 - Petition and Response

    Opens the case in the court or assists you to respond to a Petition for Dissolution you have received.
  • Stage 2 - Disclosures

    Within 60 days of filing and serving the petition for divorce on the other party, BOTH parties are required to provide statutory financial disclosures. FLASH will assist you to prepare and provide the required disclosure documents.
  • Stage 3 - Settlement/Trial and Judgement

    Flash will assist you to prepare the appropriate documents needed to finalize your case. Most cases settle with an agreement on all or most issues. A Marital Settlement Agreement and other documents will be needed to obtain a judgment of dissolution from the court. If you cannot settle all of the issues a trial will be scheduled and a Judge will make decisions in your case. Flash will prepare a trial brief for you to use a guide to present your case to the Court. In either case, there are several other required documents to obtain a Judgment of Dissolution. Flash will assist you prepare the required documents.