Dissolution/Divorce vs. Legal Separation

Divorce can be a confusing and complicated process and the choice of whether to seek
one can be equally confusing. Some people are uncertain of what the difference is
between a divorce and a legal separation.

Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce)

A dissolution is a divorce remedy available where
both spouses have signed a separation agreement that deals with:

  1. The issue of alimony (providing some or none)
  2. Divisions of assets and liabilities (debt)
  3. If there are children, the issues of support, custody and visitation. At the conclusion of a
    dissolution of marriage the parties are no longer married.

Legal Separation

In a legal separation the same grounds are covered as in a
dissolution of marriage except when the legal separation process is concluded the
spouses remain married.

What are good grounds for divorce?

Once you have established that you meet the requirements to file for a divorce you may
officially begin the process.

Grounds for Dissolution

  • In order to obtain a dissolution of marriage there must be one of two

    1. One of the spouses must suffer incurable insanity; or
    2. There must be irreconcilable differences
  • How do I prove there are irreconcilable differences?
    1. In circumstances of one spouse suffering incurable insanity the
      proof might seem easier while proving irreconcilable differences might
      seem more complicated. However, all that is needed is a statement by
      one of the parties/spouses that irreconcilable differences have led to an
      irremediable breakdown of the marriage.
    2. Specific acts of misconduct are inadmissible, except when
      related to child custody or visitation.

Residency Requirements

In order to file for dissolution of marriage either you or your spouse must reside in the
State of California continuously for six (6) months and in the county (San Diego,
Imperial, Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange) in which the petition is to be filed for three (3)
For example, if you are seeking a divorce in San Diego, either you or your spouse
must have resided in California for six (6) months continuously and in San Diego county
for three (3) months.