We Help With All Aspects of Divorce
A divorce technically just involves ending the parties’ marriage. The legal term for a divorce in California is a “marital dissolution,” A marriage can only be ended by a judgment in a court case; the spouses cannot just simply agree their marriage is over. Until the marriage is formally terminated by the court, the parties remain legally married. Thus, neither spouse can remarry, neither spouse can file income taxes as a single person, and the parties are considered married for purposes of life insurance, retirement and employment benefits, inheritance, and ownership of property.
California has a mandatory minimum waiting period of 6 months before a judgment of dissolution of marriage can go into effect. The period starts on the date the summons and petition are served on the respondent. The waiting period cannot be shortened by agreement of the parties or a court order. Furthermore, expiration of the 6-month period does not automatically terminate the marriage; as stated above, only a court has the power to terminate a marriage and determine the date the marriage terminates.
In addition to a formal termination of the marriage, the court in a marital dissolution proceeding also can make orders concerning child custody and visitation, characterization and division of the spouses’ property, spousal and child support and attorney fees. However, there are two other court proceedings can be used in California that affects the marital status and rights of the spouses:
- Annulment, which is a determination that the marriage is null and void because it arose under circumstances that indicate one or both spouses did not voluntarily agree to marry, because at least one spouse lacked the legal capacity to marry, because the marriage was not consummated, or because one spouse is unable to perform sexually. If a judgment of annulment is made the marriage is considered never to have existed, which can affect the right to spousal support and division of property. There are strict time limits for bringing a case to annul a marriage.
- Legal separation is a formal determination that the parties have separated from one another but stops short of terminating the marriage. Legal separation is typically used where for religious or health insurance or other reasons there is some reason to keep the marital status alive while the parties live separately. The only difference in effect of a legal separation and a marital dissolution is that the spouse’s marriage is not terminated.
We Never Forget The Impact Disputes Have On Real People
We can help with all aspects of divorce or other marital termination proceedings. We make every effort to form a strong relationship with each client. We will keep you informed and return your phone calls promptly. Weekend and evening appointments can be scheduled on an as need basis.
Contact our office at (650) 321-4460 to schedule a free phone or in person consultation.
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Di Maria & Cone
628 Cuesta Drive
Los Altos, CA 94024
Phone: (650) 321-4460
Fax: (650) 321-0632
Di Maria & Cone, located in Los Altos, represents clients throughout California, primarily on the San Francisco Peninsula and in Silicon Valley — in communities such as Atherton, Cupertino, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Woodside.