I want to pretend my marriage never happened. Can I get it annulled?

As unromantic as it sounds, marriage is, in part, a business arrangement. Simply wanting to pretend it did not happen or being unhappy is not enough to annul a marriage. No worries though. No matter how short or long you have been married, California is a no-fault divorce state, and you are entitled to a divorce if you want one. If you are considering an annulment, speak with an attorney to see if you can; otherwise, divorce it is.

My ex is dragging out the divorce process and I am ready to get remarried. Is there a way to stop this?

This is a super frustrating situation. Divorce is emotionally taxing, mentally draining, and can be financially devastating. So when you are done, you want to be done. You can ask the court to grant you divorce status so that you are legally single, even if you haven’t figured out all the property, support, custody, and other issues. You can also ask the court to start moving the case toward trial if it doesn’t look like you will reach an agreement.

My ex is cohabitating and I am paying spousal support. Is there anything I can do?

First, look at your divorce judgment to see what it says. In many cases you will be able to modify spousal support if your ex is living in a marital type relationship and has established a new standard of living. You may also be able to modify spousal support if the need for spousal support goes down. For example, someone else is assisting with their bills or they are making more money.

I am in the middle of a divorce. If I die now, who inherits?

It depends. Simply filing for divorce or being in a divorce proceeding does not change who inherits. Therefore, your current Will or Trust will stay in control. If there is neither of those, then your spouse will inherit some of the community and separate property. If you are getting divorced or separated, it is important to revisit your estate plan so that you can make sure that the people you want to inherit do so properly.

11 years together – never married – and we just separated. What happens now?

Marriage certainly has its benefits. One is making sure that each person has rights to property and support. California does not recognize common law marriage, so if you are not legally married you are not married. This means that on separation you can take what is yours. But if there is any jointly owned property, you will have to file a civil lawsuit. Family law courts do not handle the division of non-marital property, but they will handle child custody, visitation, and child support, even when you are not married.

My dogs are my family. How will the family law court treat my dogs?

In 2019 California passed AB2274, a law that requires family law courts to award custody of a pet based on what is in the pet’s best interest. This could be individual or shared custody agreements. The law is specifically directed at pets. Therefore, I recommend individuals with animals reach out to a family law attorney to determine how the laws can help protect their animals and pets.


Do you have questions about your current situation? Need solid advice and advocacy?

Rachel King is an attorney licensed to practice law in California, Arizona, and Kentucky. She is the supervising attorney at King Law Firm Attorneys at Law, Inc. Throughout her career she has represented thousands of clients and is an experienced trial attorney. Rachel is a down-to-earth, fierce, and trustworthy advocate for her clients. Contact her today!

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