A marriage can end in a variety of ways. For most people, it ends with a divorce, or what is commonly called a marital dissolution. Depending on your circumstances, however, it can also end with an action for nullity or a legal separation. What is appropriate in your case will depend on your specific circumstances.
The purpose of each of the above-described proceedings is to terminate the couple’s marriage, to make appropriate custody and visitation orders, if applicable, to make appropriate support orders, and to divide the couple’s property.
Unfortunately, the process of divorce takes a heavy emotional toll even when both parties realize the marriage is not working. The situation is exacerbated when only one of the parties wants the marriage to end. Under the best of circumstances, both parties experience a sense of failure and loss because the relationship did not work.
The most common mistake parents make is believing that the issues of custody and visitation are related to the payment of child support. Under California law, child custody or visitation cannot be denied because child support payments are not being made. Conversely, support payments cannot be withheld because the other party is refusing to allow court-ordered visitation.
Children seldom understand why their parents cannot remain together and often blame themselves for the marital breakup. It is very important that you reassure the children that the fact that their parents are no longer living together is not their fault. They need to know that they still have two parents who love them and whose feelings for them have not changed.
During the divorce process, everyone in the family can benefit from counseling. This counseling often improves decision making, gives parties insight into what is truly in everyone’s best interest, and saves attorney’s fees by avoiding court battles over issues that should have been handled as a private family matter. Good mental health professionals are available to assist you and your family through this difficult time, and we would be happy to recommend one to you.
- A marriage can be ended in a variety of ways—a divorce, an action for nullity, or a legal separation.
- Under the best of circumstances, the process takes a heavy emotional toll.
- Children seldom understand why their parents cannot remain together and often blame themselves for the marital breakup.
- Everyone in the family can benefit from counseling.