Annulment and Legal Separation

Spouses have three legal remedies: Dissolution, Nullity, and Legal Separation in California. The Law Offices of Keith F. Carr handles all three types of remedies and can advise you as to which one will best accomplish your objectives. We can also advise you as to whether or not you qualify for a particular remedy. Spouses may obtain “single” status by the death of one of them, a judgment of dissolution of marriage, or a judgment of nullity of marriage (commonly called an annulment).

Petitioning for a judgment of nullity of marriage raises the issue of whether or not the marriage was valid to begin with. The judgment of nullity is obtained where, for certain reasons existing at the time of the marriage, the marriage is not valid.


On the other hand, a judgment of dissolution of marriage terminates a valid marriage on grounds occurring after the marriage. There is a six-month waiting period before a dissolution judgment is final and the marital status is terminated. The judgment of nullity does not require the six-month waiting period. A determination as to which party was at fault for the breakup is irrelevant for a judgment of dissolution but does play a role when a judgment of nullity is sought. Normally, in a judgment of dissolution, the spouses determine community property rights of the property. However, in general and subject to certain exceptions, the spouses have no community rights in property where a judgment of nullity is sought.


A judgment of legal separation is an alternative to a judgment of dissolution and is sought for religious or personal reasons of one of the spouses. A proceeding for legal separation does not terminate the marital status and can only be maintained with the consent of both spouses.