Steps for Getting an Annulment from Marriage

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmDo you feel your marriage could be illegal, invalid or you got married by fraud? If that is the case, it will be useful for you to know how to annul your marriage. The court can declare a marriage to be null and void. This is known as an annulment of a marriage. There dab annulment of a marriage when it does not follow the criteria needed for a marriage in the United States. When an annulment is ordered, the marriage contract becomes void and it is looked upon as if the marriage never happened in the first place.

Here are the steps to get your marriage annulled:

Step 1: Collect evidence

You must mention the reason for which you perceive that your marriage is not valid in order to get your marriage annulled. The court may annul your marriage in case your marriage is deemed illegal or void for any of the reasons mentioned below.

  • Your spouse or you are yet to attain the age of consent.
  • You find out that your spouse is also married to another person.
  • You are related to your spouse.
  • You had been coerced or compelled to get married.
  • Fraudulent means were used to obtain your consent for marriage
  • You find out that your spouse is not able to consummate your marriage or is impotent.
  • You did not have a sound mind at the time of the marriage due to the effects of alcohol or drug or insanity.

Step 2: File the paperwork for your annulment

The annulment action should be filed against you in the country where you reside. In case your marriage took place in some other country, you can also file your petition there. Different state has different requirements for marriage annulments that lay down the specific guidelines to file the action and when you need to file. The requirement of the time period will depend on the laws of both the states as well as on your case. A petition for annulment is quite similar to a divorce petition. You should also complete all other necessary paperwork and furnish proof to prove your marriage is illegal or voidable. This documentation can be obtained from the website or through the clerk of your local court.

What are the other alternatives of annulment?

Similar to a divorce, an annulment takes a time of a year or so to be granted by the court. At times, getting a divorce is faster than trying to prove that your marriage was not valid. For instance, if you want to get an uncontested divorce, you need to just cite “irreconcilable differences” as the reason. The term indicates that both of you are not getting along.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated!  Click this link to download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Is Legal Separation Good For Your Marriage?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange county divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmThere are several occasions when a legal separation is good for a relationship since it reduces pressure while creating physical space. In fact, it can be quite helpful to support clear decision-making and support personal reflection. It also makes sense scientifically since the IQs of human beings drop when they are highly stressed out. Hence, if either one or both the parties are going through high stress for many years, it can be understood how a separation albeit temporary can increase clarity of mind.

In situations where a spouse has cheated on the other or when either or both the parties suffer from jealousy or a feeling of distrust, separation could aggravate the situation further. However, this situation is unique for every couple as some couples with a background of betrayal have come out stronger after their separation period.

Questions to ask yourself prior to deciding on a separation 

Check out the following questions to ask before making a decision to separate.

  • Why do you want to separate?
  • Do you have reasons to stay in the marriage and give it a try to make it work?
  • Are your reasons to stay in the marriage stems out of anything to do with the other party?
  • Do you want to continue with your marriage for the sake of your kids or you are worried about what people around you will think or due to certain moral obligations? You should take the space for a self-reflection on your wants and desires, which can prove quite beneficial for you.

The society may put immense cultural pressure on the benefits of living together under the same roof for the sake of the reputation, the couple’s kids and so on. So, you should be ready that your spouse could be closed to the idea at the beginning.

Is it good for the marriage to separate? 

Now that will depend on many factors. A big obstacle is when people allow their emotional stress and sense of urgency to have a strong grip on their actions and thoughts until they lose clarity of how to go ahead. You need to remember that all your emotions including the most disturbing ones will pass. There are times when the process of getting more clarity or gaining insight on the actions to be taken in a. marriage may take a longer time than one anticipates and it makes sense to wait and investigate.

Though it is difficult to believe, human beings have the ability to be resilient and that shows up even in tough situations such as divorce and separation. All family members including the kids have thoughts on how to arrive at a practical solution during a difficult time.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Can Your Spouse Say ‘No’ When You File For Divorce?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmYour spouse does not enjoy the legal right to decide if you can opt for a divorce or not. If your spouse abuses you basically or mentally, his response is expected as he feels there is nothing wrong to be violent with his spouse. However, he or she is nurturing a misconception that the law gives him or her that kind of control to exert.

How does a divorce work?

In such scenarios, or is better for you to hire the services of a good divorce attorney and let him file your divorce petition irrespective of whether your husband has granted permission go ahead with the divorce or not.

Alternatively, you can get in touch with a clerk of your local court and inquire for information how to file a divorce petition if you do not want to hire a divorce attorney. While your former spouse may not be exactly pleased with your right to do so, he or she cannot do anything about your power to divorce him or her. Your case may in a different manner in different states. It is not an unusual phenomenon in a divorce where one of the spouses may not agree to sign the divorce petition so that that it can be referred to as an uncontested divorce,

What is a default divorce?

After you have filed your divorce petition, your spouse has a month to respond up it. In case he or she does not respond within this period, the court will regard the matter as his refusal of an uncontested divorce. The court will enough issue a default divorce in your favor.

However, there are some states where the court may set a further date when your spouse does not respond to the initial divorce filing. While this can be a lengthier process bit in case your spouse is absent on the date set by the court, a divorce will be granted to you on the basis of the information furnished by you in the original divorce petition. If you have hired a local divorce lawyer, he or she will guide and advise you on the steps to be followed in accordance to the jurisdiction of your court. Thus, the bottom line is that it is possible for you to brain a divorce though your spouse refused to sign.

However, you can be certain that although he refused to sign on the divorce papers initially, once you file for it, he or she is also likely to hire a good attorney and may name attempts of abiding you through your Family Court System. So, get ready for a high conflict divorce process. You need to discuss your situation thoroughly to the attorney hired and ensure that you have approached one who has the necessary skills and experiences in handling cases for victims of marital abuse. Additionally, if you feel that there is any kind of danger lurking from his end, be prompt enough to procure a restraining order from your court.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Top 3 Tips to Avoid Sabotaging Your Divorce Settlement

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmAny couple who goes through separation and divorce will tell you that the process is extremely stressful, overwhelming, painful, time-consuming and emotional for them. For many separating couples, it was an experience that has crippled them financially. Though such negative experiences and emotions cannot be completely done away with, they can be reduced to a great extent. In fact, done divorces can go rather smoothly earn couples follow some of these following simple rules.

Rule 1: Be careful not to breach the other party’s trust

A breach can severely impair or destroy all that trust that took days to build up during the divorce settlement negotiation process. There could be blame games, allegations that can all trigger to those negative emotions once more. Altering a single term may now put a big question mark to all the other conditions, which were agreed upon by both the parties earlier. The worst may come when the other party refuses now to accept all the terms. Thus, all the negotiations back down to square one.  All the efforts taken earlier as well as the time spent to reach the agreement earlier are wasted. Further, the couple has to again spend their time and money to restart the negotiations.

Rule 2: Do not go back on the decisions made earlier

The moment when both the parties start the process of mediation, there could be no or limited trust between them. A major element in the mediation process is to create the trust factor between the two parties by taking small but crucial steps. Such steps are created in form of certain agreements arrived on conditions during the process of mediation. While they keep agreeing on more terms, it enables them to make more important decisions quite simply since they have started trusting the process as well as each other. After arriving at an agreement on a certain issue, it is viewed as closed by both the parties. Very often, such agreements trigger arriving at other decisions, which are required to be made. Hence, if a party alters their mind or desires to back the term from a term initially agreed upon, it is seen as a breach.

Rule 3: Stop indulging in activities of self-sabotage

Self-sabotage is not something difficult to understand. It is merely doing something, which may have a negative impact on you. Many people fail to realize the impact of their actions such as going back on their decisions; behaviors send comments can be. In a situation like a divorce, such awareness is even more clouded by the negative emotions they are going through.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.

How to Have a Smooth Divorce

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmIt is not easy for any couple to end their marriage and when they are prepared for it, chances are that there may not be harmony between the partners when the divorce proceeding is going on or after it is through. However, you need not feel down as your experience will depend on the choices made by you while the separation process is on and before it starts.  Check out some of the following tips to ensure that there is a smooth transition from being married to being single once again.

Put aside your negative emotions if any

When you are capable of assessing your emotional and mental state and can accordingly admit your feelings, you are ready to accept the reality of the present. It also signifies that you can adapt yourself to the changes that are inevitable. Before you are all set to proceed with the legal procedure, you can get in touch with a therapist to overcome your negative emotions. In other words, do your best to rise above your emotions.

Have a positive team to support you in this difficult period of your life

You should have a positive team to support you when your divorce process is on. While going through the divorce, you will find that you have two different types of family members and friends. You need not feel alone. When your loved ones surround you, you can get through this process smoothly.

Approach the right kind of divorce lawyer when you have to do so

If your partner and you are going through negotiations on divorce settlements, you need to inform your attorney. He or she should also approve your wish to resolve vital legal matters in a civil manner. You need to remember that your lawyer is your voice during the proceeding. Hence, you should ensure that your lawyer should have a thorough understanding of ways to minimize legal and emotional conflict for all involved parties.

Try to use choices other than litigation

There are alternatives available to you while your divorce proceeding is going on to decrease conflict as well as inspire collaboration between your partner and you. You may take the help of a collaborative coach or a mediator while negotiating a divorce settlement with your spouse. They are trained professionals who guide couples so that conflict can be reduced, thereby enabling proper decision-making that is based on the foundation of facts rather than emotions. Your coach or mediator will help your spouse and you while splitting the marital property, reaching an agreement on child custody and ascertaining child support.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

What Does Bifurcating Mean in Divorce Cases?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Best Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law FirmIn some cases, a person in a legal separation or divorce case could request an earlier or separate trial. This could be on a specific issue in that divorce case. It means that the concerned court can reach a decision based on that single issue. The other issues will be resolved later. This is generally done if an important issue exists and it must be be decided. Both parties cannot wait on this particular matter.

There are a number of issues which can be dealt in this manner. These includes visitation of children and their permanent custody. The separation date of the parties can also be decided quickly by this way. Other reasons include prenuptial agreement validity and terminating marital status.

One issue addressed before the rest

California courts could permit separate trials as resolving one single issue could be the only factor which bars the rest of that case to being decided. To give an example, a couple about to be separated will squabble on their property or debt and the time when it will cease belonging to both of them. Many couples argue about this date as it means that a specific property could belong to either both of them or any one of the two. The issue can be settled with the decision of a judge. Arguments about whether the debt is both their responsibility or of any one could be resolved.

In case one domestic partner or spouse has filed motion for separate trial, the other can file a response by filling out the “Responsive Declaration to Request for Order” form and filing it. Do note that asking for separate trial is not always easy to do, and may require a motion be filed with the court.  There is a need to convince a judge as to why he or she must grant it. If possible, use the help of a lawyer to do the same.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

How To Safeguard Your Legal Rights While Your Divorce Is Going On

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmDifferent states may have a different set of legal rights for the spouses while their divorce is going on. Usually, the laws of the states ensure that one of the parties involved is not intimidated, harassed or abused by the other party when the divorce proceedings are on. It is important to know what your legal rights are during the divorce.

Your spouse cannot move the minor kids outside the court’s jurisdiction

While some states permit the children to be shifted to a distance of 150 miles, yet they cannot be moved out of that state. After the divorce case has been filed in a state, it becomes the home state of your child or children. So, the courts have jurisdiction over the children’s place of residence. If a partner tries to move away with his or her kids without the permission of the concerned court, he or she may risk losing the custody of the kids.

Cannot hide, dispose of, transfer or damage the assets owned by either both the partners or one of them without the consent of the other spouse or by a family court. Additionally, the court will not look favorably on the destruction of a property.

Do not use credit accounts that are solely in the name of your spouse

Major issues related to finances and who will be responsible for paying what can be safeguarded by filing petitions in the court and through temporary restraining orders. When spouses hold joint credit accounts and one of them are worried about the other running up debt, the former needs to procure the court’s special protection. Splitting the debt is a major issue for the divorcing couples. After all, you will definitely not like to take some steps that will make the process even more complicated. On the other hand, you will definitely not like to rake any step that would result in you becoming more liable for paying off the debts after the divorce gets finalized. The court definitely holds you accountable f you have been using a credit card which is in the name of your spouse only.

You should not deny the rights of the other parents to take care of the kids

Your children may stay with you but that does not mean you will not let your former spouse visit them. You may be entitled to permanent or temporary court orders with respect to issues like your children’s custody and visitation. You should not even contemplate about denying the rights of the other parent to look after the kids.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Understanding Family Code 2030 In California Divorces

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmCalifornia Family Code section 2030 helps ensure that a fair trial is conducted during a divorce in California by enabling a means of seeking attorney’s fees on the basis of need to be able to afford legal representation. The section has been designed for both the husband and wife to have equal access to family law courts during legal representation. Couples in California sometimes fail to understand the code and some that do tend to misuse it.

What does it cover?

The Family Code 2030 contains initial applications that couples require for attorney fee and post-judgement modifications. Family court judges play an important role when it comes to considering disparity of earnings between couples. They keep an account of disparities between both parties and to what extent the disparities exist. Code 2030 comes into picture when couples lack the required money to hire attorneys. The amount of money awarded to the couples due to court order may not necessarily depend on how much money the couples can provide. The order depends a lot on the complexity of the issue.  California law courts believe in fair trial and are ready to help couples with a certain amount of money to hire a family judge. Family code 2032 is an extension of code 2030 and allows one party member to cite code 2030 to the judge in case of huge disparity in marital property or assets.

2030 may not be needed by every couple and those that don’t require it should request the court to pay attorney fees directly to the attorney. The fees provided by the court should only be used for hiring a family judge. In some cases, where couples did not require attorney fees ended up spending it before a lawyer could be hired. To avoid such cases, it’s better to let the court know whether attorney fee is required or not.

During attorney fee applications, it is best to address the standard of living during marriage in the supporting declaration. The standard of living should be in adherence to the Family Code 4320.


The Family Code 2030 is helpful for individuals who are unable to hire family lawyers to defend their case in a divorce proceeding. Disparities are common and exist between many couples. Code 2030 considers the disparities and provides a substantial amount to the individuals. The amount of money depends on how complex and serious the issue is and has little to do with the amount of disparity between the couples.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

What Are Bifurcated Trials In CA Divorce Cases?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmIn a few cases, the party involved in a legal separation or divorce case may request an earlier or separate trial on a specific issue related to the divorce case. It means that the court comes to a decision on that particular issue while other issues continue to wait for a solution. This is done when an extremely important issue must be decided and one party or both of them could not wait until the complete case gets decided. 

Tackling issues

A few issues which can be tackled in this manner include the permanent custody and also visitation of children. The separate date of parties concerned and validity of prenuptial agreement. It also concerns the end of marital status. The last concerns the dissolution of marriage or the legal separation.

Separate trials could be permitted by the court as resolution of this particular issue could be the only factor which bars the solution of all other issues. To give an example, the date of separation can be extremely important as it finds out the moment in time when the debt or property stops belonging to both the partners and spouses. Many couples fight over the date as it can determine the ownership of a property to both of them or to only one of the couples. A judge can settle this issue and subsequently all arguments concerning whether a property belongs to both partners or any one of them will be resolved. 

Forms needed

In case a domestic partner or spouse has filed a separate trial motion, it will be possible to file a response through filling out and then filing the Responsive Request for Order and attaching Request or Response to Request for Separate Trial. Do understand that a separate trial request to a judge is not an easy affair. You must convince judge on the reason to give it. Consult a lawyer for the extensive paperwork.

You should find a good lawyer to file your case. The standard procedure consists of contacting the county bar association in your county. There are also a number of referral services through which you can get certified lawyers.

In case you cannot afford to take a lawyer, it is possible to obtain low cost or free legal assistance in cases which are non-criminal in nature. These are obtained from any legal services program. It will depend on the nature of the legal problem and also on the amount of money you make.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Responding to Divorce or Legal Separation Filings

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Top divorce attorneys Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmEither spouse in a marriage or as a partner in registered domestic partnership has the right to request the court to terminate their legal relationship. Your domestic partner or spouse has requested the court to end the relationship in case you received a summons and petition for legal separation or dissolution (divorce). In Orange County, California, the court has the power to end domestic partnership or marriage even if the other partner is unwilling to be legally separated or divorced.

Any registered domestic partners or married couple can terminate their marital status six months after papers are first filed at courthouse and then the copies of such papers served on the respondent, in such case, as yourself. 

Response options

In case you are served with summons and petition, then you are regarded as the respondent in court case for legal separation or divorce. You must carefully read papers served to you. The Petition informs you what your domestic partner or spouse (the petitioner) has asked for. You can get important information concerning your rights from The Summons and about the process of separation or divorce. There will be standard restraining orders which will restrict what you can do with the property, assets or debts. You or your partner or spouse can be prohibited to move out of state with children borne from the partnership or marriage. You may also be stopped from applying or renewal of passport for the children, without prior written consent. A court order could be required.

Post-service options

You have a number of options after being served. The easiest thing to do is to do absolutely nothing. If you take this path, then demands of your partner will be granted in its entirety. This situation is termed “true default”. If your agreement is written and notarized and where you and your domestic partner or spouse has agreed to end the partnership or marriage, then also you have to do nothing. If you and your spouse agree about other things like property division, partner or spousal support, then it is also termed as “default”. This is due to the fact that you have not filed for any response.

Other ways of responding include filing a response with court but also reach the needed agreement with domestic partner or spouse about all issues. This option is regarded as “uncontested” case as you and your domestic partner or spouse is not battling over issues. If you file a response with court, and also disagree with domestic partner or spouse, then it is regarded as a “contest.”

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

No Legal Advice Intended: This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems. Full disclaimer.