California Divorce Law

California Divorce Law


For couples who have decided to terminate their marital or domestic partnership status, there are three (3) potential legal remedies – dissolution, nullity or legal separation.

Dissolution / Divorce 

The grounds for dissolution or legal separation can be obtained in California only on grounds of irreconcilable differences or incurable insanity. [Family Code, Sec. 2310(a) & (b)] Most dissolution or legal separation actions are sought on the ground of irreconcilable  differences, which have caused an irremediable breakdown of the marriage. A California “No fault” changed the “grounds for termination of marriage from a fault basis to a marriage breakdown basis” [Marriage of Walton (1972) 28 CA3d 108]


A nullity proceeding is commenced on the theory that, for reasons existing at the time of the marriage, no valid marriage ever occurred.  A marriage may be invalid from inception because of irregularities in statutory formalization procedures or other legal impediments that render the marriage void (licenses, solemnization and authentication) or voidable (Incestuous, bigamous, induced by fraud or force, party under age consent, etc.)

Legal Separation 

A judgment for legal separation does not terminate the marital status.  It is an alternative to dissolution and generally sought where for religious or other personal reasons the petitioner does not want the legal status relationship absolutely severed. Spouses who decide to part ways often seek a legal separation instead of a divorce in order to retain medical insurance benefits that would otherwise be lost by termination of the marital relationship.  A legal separation is similar to a divorce, as both actions conclusively determine and settle the spouses’ property rights and financial responsibilities to one another and their minor children.  A judgment for legal separation also determines issues relating to child custody and visitation, support, community property rights and obligations in the same manner as a judgment for dissolution.

Summary Dissolution 

When parties have been married and/or in a domestic partnership for no more than five (5) years, and there are no children and relatively modest assets and liabilities, they may qualify to jointly file a summary dissolution.

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Los Angeles Lawyer Robert Gigliotti has developed a unique civil and family law practice located in Encino, California representing Southern California Clients in Family Law and Divorce, Civil Litigation, Personal Injury Law, and Estate Planning since 1991.


We solve difficult legal issues by thinking creatively, identifying the broadest array of potential solutions, translating client interests into positions, assessing both conventional and novel options, and building consensus around our clients interests.


As a skillful trial attorney, Los Angeles lawyer Robert Gigliotti is also committed to achieving favorable outcomes for clients through effective negotiation, mediation, and/or litigation.​