In California, there are three ways to end your domestic partnership or marriage: annulment, legal separation or divorce. Both spouses do not have to agree to end the marriage or partnership. Either spouse can initiate the process, and the other spouse cannot stop the divorce by refusing to sign documents. If one spouse wants to end the marriage and other does not, the spouse seeking divorce can receive a default judgement to officially end the marriage. If you’re planning to divorce in California, here are some important things to keep in mind.
Since California is a no-fault state, the spouse seeking divorce does not have to prove their partner did something wrong. The spouse who wants to end the marriage simply needs to state that the couple is unable to live together peacefully, which is often cited as “irreconcilable differences.”
Ending a domestic partnership
If you’re looking to end your registered domestic partnership, you have to file for legal separation, annulment or divorce to legally end the relationship. In some rare cases, domestic partners can end their union in a summary process offered through the Secretary of State. However, the partners must have no children and must be registered as domestic partners for less than five years. The summary option also works if the couple has very few debts or assets, no real property and a written agreement designating the division of property.
If you decide you’re ready to end your marriage, you’ll want to plan ahead to save time and money during the legal proceedings. Remember that the courts won’t give preference to the spouse who files the divorce or the one who responds to the filing.