California dissolution laws are contained in the California Family Law Code. The Family Code covers the dissolution of marriage, dissolution of a domestic partnership and legal separation. The rules regarding division of property, child custody, child support and alimony are applied in all three proceedings.

 Dissolution    Marriage is a solemnized, licensed, union between two people, regardless of gender.  A common law marriage is a marriage without ceremony or license. California does not recognize common law marriages.  If one is married, the “status” of the relationship can only be terminated by a dissolution proceeding.

Legal Separation:   Legal separation is employed  by those married couples who wish to stay married but who live separately and wish to separate their assets and debts.     It is generally applied in situations where divorce is untenable in one’s culture or moral views.

Domestic Partnerships  A domestic partnership is defined as a union between a couple, regardless of gender, who have registered their partnership with the California Secretary of State. A domestic partnership must be terminated by a dissolution proceeding in the same way that married couples dissolve their marriage.