Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage and Legal Separation

Should I get a dissolution of marriage (formerly known as divorce) or a legal separation?  After a judgment of legal separation parties’ property rights, custody and visitation rights and support rights are determined the same way that they would be in a dissolution of their marriage. The difference is that parties who have a legal separation cannot remarry. Consequently, we see very few legal separations except by persons whose religious conviction requires that they not dissolve their marriage.

What is the date of separation?  This can be a crucial date, because it can be determinative as to whether property acquired is Community, and therefore subject to division with the spouse, or Separate, and therefore the acquiring party’s sole and separate property. Ask yourself at what point did  you realize that your marriage was really over and there was no going back.

The court will consider several factors as relevant to determine the date of separation, including the date a spouse moved out, that the parties dated other people, that they stopped attending business, social, or family events together, and similar indicators.

What about an annulment?  In a few limited cases, the court will grant a judgment of nullity of marriage, and your marriage will be canceled as if it never existed. Sometimes this is the best solution for people who, for example were fraudulently persuaded to enter into a marriage.

During our consultation, we will decide which is the best course for you to follow, based on your needs and wishes.

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