Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Ways to end a marriage under California law

As some California couples have experienced personally, not every relationship is meant to last. Sometimes, whether it is due to incompatible interests, goals or values, married couples in California may reach the point where they simply no longer want to be married. When this happens, what options do they have for ending their marriage?

In general, couples in this situation will seek either a divorce or an annulment. In addition, a legal separation may be an option, although it does not officially end a marriage.

Let's start by discussing the basics of divorce, also called dissolution. A divorce legally ends a person's marriage, allowing that person to remarry in the future if he or she wants to. You do not need to prove wrongdoing or fault to get a divorce. Simply declaring that there are irreconcilable differences is enough.

Now, let's move on to annulment. Through an annulment, the court will legally declare that your marriage was not valid. This means that once a marriage is annulled, it is as if it never took place. Because marriages can only be annulled under very specific circumstances, it is not very common for a marriage to be annulled.

In some circumstances, married couples in California want to separate but do not want to actually get a divorce. When this happens, couples can pursue a legal separation. This will not end the marriage, but it will allow the court to make decisions similar to those in a divorce regarding child custody, property division and spousal support. In some circumstances, after being legally separated, couples may eventually seek a divorce.

This is only a general overview of options Californians may want to consider if they no longer want to be married. In the end, these are very personal decisions, and no two couples' situations are identical. Therefore, married people should make sure they understand what each of these options means before proceeding.

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Kevin Qualls Family Law
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