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There are many ways to end a marriage or domestic partnership in the state of California. These are known as dissolution of marriage (commonly known as divorce), legal separation, and annulment (also known as marriage annulment).

We offer you more details below about each option so that you can decide which is the most suitable for you, but despite having this information you should always consider consulting a family law attorney who can offer you the best advice so that you know your legal rights and important legal issues in your case.

Dissolution of Marriage and Dissolution of a Domestic Partnership.

This is the legal term used for what is commonly known as a divorce. The equivalent term for domestic partners would be «Dissolution of a domestic partnership». The goal of dissolution is to end all legal ties between both parties.

It is very important that you know that to proceed or even start this process it is not necessary for both parties to agree to end the marriage or union, since neither of them can force the other to remain in the relationship. Either party can make the decision to terminate the relationship and take legal action in this regard, and in case the other party refuses or does not want to divorce, they cannot stop the process, regardless of whether the other person is willing to participate in the action or not. Failure to participate will likely lead to the court entering a default judgment, not dismissal of the divorce petition, and the divorce will go ahead.

The court will make the final decisions on the division of the couple’s assets and properties in case the parties cannot reach an agreement on the divorce or union and all related matters. The court has jurisdiction to determine whether one person will receive financial support from the other in regard to minor children and to make other orders on any other related matter.

Legal Separation.

Legal separation does not end the marriage or domestic partnership legally, but it does allow the two parties to live separately and make their own decisions about money, property, and issues of raising children. This allows the parties involved to divide their assets, property and even debts without terminating or legally dissolving the marriage or union. If this is the option chosen by a couple, they should bear in mind that they are not free to remarry, since the marriage or common-law union is not legally dissolved. A frequent reason for people to choose this option is for religious reasons or due to insurance benefits, among other reasons.


A nullity or annulment of a marriage is when the court declares that a marriage or domestic partnership was not legal. That means that the marriage or partnership never happened, so an annulment is not the same as a divorce. There are several reasons why the court may declare a marriage or partnership null and void, such as fraud, a bigamous or incestuous relationship, a physical or mental incapacity, or because one of the partners was too young to be legally married. Even in this case, the court will make final decisions about the division of property and other possessions, determine whether one party will receive financial support from the other, and make other orders on related issues such as custody and child support if children are involved. Regardless of which option you feel best suits your situation, it is advisable that you consult with a family law attorney before making any decisions that will affect your life in the long run. You can always call us. Remember, you are not alone. Our attorneys are more than happy to help you through this process.