Family Law

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Irvine Divorce Attorney
Divorce Lawyer in Irvine

In California, a divorce is called a dissolution of marriage. A dissolution of marriage ends your marriage and returns you to the status of a single person. Divorces are granted upon a showing of Òirreconcilable differences, or upon a showing of incurable insanity. The Court does not consider fault of either party in granting a divorce.

To obtain a divorce in California, you or your spouse need to have lived in California for six (6) months and three (3) months in the county in which you file for divorce.

Legal Separation

You can file for a legal separation if you do not want a divorce. The basis for a legal separation is the same as for a divorce. Both parties need to agree to a legal separation and if one party wants to get a divorce, the Court will grant the divorce.

The Court will make the same orders in a legal separation that they make in a divorce. For instance, they will make orders relating to custody and visitation of your children, child support, spousal support, restraining orders and division of your property.

The difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that in a legal separation, you are legally separated, but your marriage is not ended. You and your spouse cannot remarry after a legal separation.


An annulment is when the Court determines that the marriage was not a legal marriage. The basis for an annulment or Ònullity of marriage is one of the following reasons:

  1. Incestuous marriage (marrying someone who is blood-related to you);
  2. Bigamous marriage (marrying someone who is already married to someone else);
  3. A spouse was under the lawful age of consent (under the age of 18) and did not obtain the proper parental/Court consent, unless after turning 18, the party freely cohabitated with the other as husband and wife;
  4. A party was of an "unsound mind", i.e., he or she was unable to understand the significance of the subject matter of the marriage contract, unless after being of sound mind, the spouse freely cohabitated with the other as husband and wife;
  5. Either party's consent to the marriage was obtained by "force", unless after the force stopped, they continued to freely cohabitate with the other as husband and wife;
  6. Either party was "physically incapable" of entering into the marriage, i.e., they were unable to engage in normal sexual relations and the physical incapability continues and is most-likely incurable; and
  7. The marriage was obtained by one of the parties by "fraud", unless the defrauded party after learning of the fraud thereafter freely continue to live with the other as husband and wife. The type of fraud must go to the very essence of a marriage.

To obtain an annulment, you must prove to the Court that one of the reasons stated above is true. As part of an annulment, you may ask the Court for other orders such as child custody, visitation, child and spousal support. There are statutes of limitations or time frames in which you need to file an annulment or you will be barred from doing so.