Dissolution of Marriage in California

California is a no fault state.  That means that parties to a divorce to not have to prove grounds for the divorce.  If one of the parties does not want to be married anymore s(he) will file a Petition For Dissolution.  The other side must respond by filing a Response To Petition, or risk the other party taking a Default.

Ending Marriages in California

A marriage in California may be legally dissolved, restoring spouses to single status only by one of the following:

  1. Death of one of the parties;
  2. A Judgment of Marriage Dissolution; or
  3. A Judgment of Nullity of Marriage.

Petitioning for Nullity of Marriage occurs and should be considered where the validity of the marriage is in doubt.  A nullity proceeding is based on the theory that, for reasons existing at the time of the marriage, no valid marriage ever occurred.  In other words, whereas a dissolution action seeks to terminate marital status, a nullity action seeks to inquire whether any such status ever existed.

Some examples giving rise to a nullity proceeding, include and are not limited to:

  • Marriage was induced by fraud or force
  • One of the parties was under the age to consent
  • Marriage wasn’t properly formalized
  • One of the parties was already married (Bigamous)