Sunday, January 11, 2015

Alternatives to Divorce

There are several other choices one should consider before the filing for divorce in California, these are:

Summary dissolution

A summary dissolution is actually a type of divorce proceeding. It is a simplified divorce process that few people qualify for. The requirements are:
  • Both parties must sign the papers
  • Each spouse has only limited assets
  • Each spouse has only limited debts
  • Neither spouse has any real property
  • There are no children of the marriage
  • The date of marriage is within five years of the filing of the action
  • Neither spouse is asking for spousal support
In theory, a summary dissolution can be completed without the assistance of an attorney. Many clients want an attorney to handle their case anyway, for convenience and peace of mind. 



An annulment voids the marriage, and, in the eyes of the law, the marriage never happened. There is no six-month waiting period like in divorce actions, but a court trial is mandatory even if the other spouse agrees to the annulment. A short marriage is not automatically annulled, and changing one’s mind after marriage is not a basis for an annulment. This action has very specific requirements. Marriages are usually annulled for fraud or bigamy. Some examples are:
·         Bigamy- one of the parties was already married
·         Fraud- the parties never intended to live together
·         Fraud- one of the parties never intended to have children
·         Fraud- the marriage was only for immigration purposes
An annulment is not sealed and is public record. Anyone can access information about the annulled marriage. Because an annulment always requires a court trial, it is as expensive—or even more expensive—than divorce. Many people who qualify for an annulment choose not to obtain one for these reasons.

Legal Separation

A legal separation is litigated just like a divorce. All the assets and debts are divided. Spousal support orders are made. If there are children, custody and child support are ordered. 

The only differences between a legal separation and a divorce are that a legal separation requires no waiting period and both spouses must agree to the legal separation. If both spouses do not agree, the matter automatically converts to a divorce.  If one spouse wishes to convert the legal separation into a divorce after the judgment is entered, he or she must then file new paperwork with the court to have the marriage dissolved. 

A legal separation is appropriate only in limited circumstances. The most common circumstances include:
·         Religious Reasons: the spouses' religious beliefs prohibit a divorce
·         Medical Insurance: one spouse needs the other spouse's medical insurance due to health reasons
·         Pension Benefits: one spouse will receive additional Social Security or Retirement benefits if they remain married
·         Residency Requirements: the spouses have not lived in the state or the county long enough to file for divorce

Most clients who inquire about legal separation are unsure of divorce. A legal separation is not a solution to a bad marriage. It should only be filed if the spouse has already decided the marriage is over and a divorce, for whatever reason, is not the best choice.

Physical Separation

Oftentimes, spouses physically separate long before paperwork is filed with the court. This usually means one spouse has moved out of the house, but not always. To be considered “physically separated,” one spouse must make the decision that the marriage is permanently broken and take action toward ending the marriage (like moving out or consulting with an attorney). If a spouse is uncertain as to whether the marriage should be saved, an alternative is to obtain a separate residence. This gives the parties time to work on the marriage before ending the relationship once and for all.


Maira Gomez said...

What a wonderful post. Great idea flawlessly executed.

Joey Constanza said...

It's good to see that there are alternatives to divorce. Going through a divorce will usually be a big ordeal for both of the people involved. Given that there are alternatives, this can help lessen the amount of stress that comes along with it. With any situation, I would suggest getting some kind of legal help.

Jennifer Crew said...

I sent your articles links to all my contacts and they all adore it including me.Deb Kinney

Marcus Morgan said...

My wife and I have been having some problems. We have thought of divorce, but did not feel good about it. So now I am researching to figure out what other alternatives there are. I am glad I found this blog, though it gave me some good ideas that I can bring up with my wife.

Jennifer Davies said...

Does 'physical separation' lead into abandonment? I have friend whose wife left him almost six months ago. She's now living in California and has no intention of ever returning. She won't even come back to make their divorce official, though. It sounds like there might be another option besides waiting for abandonment to come through. I'll recommend him to a lawyer and hopefully he can figure something out.

alexjoe025 said...

This is very good information.i think it's useful. Thank you for sharing alternatives to divorce, it will helpful for readers. I really like your post!
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