A Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation is a transitional process for couples and families.
A Dissolution of Marriage, commonly referred to as a Divorce, results in the termination of a marriage and restores each participant to the status of an unmarried person.* This change from a cohabiting couple to a separating or divorcing couple is a major transition for each party to the marriage. This is a greater transition for a couple with children, who will need to adjust to two households and a revised and more expansive notion of "family".
There are residency requirements to obtain a marital Dissolution in California. One must be a resident of California for six months and a resident of the County of filing for three months at the time of filing. There are other jurisdictional requirements that will be better and more fully explained by an attorney.
A Legal Separation replicates the process of Dissolution, except that the individuals remain married at the conclusion of the legal proceeding. Each member of a couple has to agree to a Legal Separation. One member of the couple may switch the process over to a Dissolution regardless of the wishes of the other. Couples obtain Legal Separations instead of Dissolutions for a variety of reasons and more information may be obtained from one of the attorneys at HFLP.
A Legal Separation does not have the same residency requirements as a Dissolution of Marriage. However, there are other jurisdictional requirements that can be better and more fully explained by an attorney.
* All references to "Marriage" are intended to include Domestic Partnerships. Marriage is used both for convenience and because the number of domestic partnerships is decreasing with the consolidation of Marriage Equality.
This is intended to be a summary description and should not be relied upon as legal advice. More information may be obtained by consulting an attorney providing these services at HFLP.