Ending a short term marriage the right way

Ending a Short Term Marriage the Right Way

There have been a spate of short term marriages among celebrities that have made the headlines.  Kim Kardashian and NBA star Chris Humphries were married for a total of 72 days before calling it quits. Country star Kenny Chesney and actress Renee Zellweger announced their plans for an annulment after four months of marriage. And, Brittany Spears’ marriage to Jason Alexander lasted a mere 55 hours!

These high-profile short term marriages illustrate the fact that a legal relationship between two people won’t necessarily remain a happy one, and one or both of the persons may realize that sad fact within a relatively short time.

Short term marriages aren’t just the purview of celebrities.  Non-celebrities sometimes find themselves in similar situations. And, as such, you need to know your rights under California law in order to ensure that you get a fair divorce or dissolution.

In the state of California, there are several ways to end a short term marriage or domestic partnership.

Long Term Problems from Short Term Marriages

A summary dissolution or summary divorce can be an option for a married couple or registered domestic partners if:

  • They have no children,
  • The marriage/domestic partnership is not more than five years in duration,
  • There are no marital debts (other than unpaid automobile balances) in excess of $6,000),
  • The total fair market value of community property assets (excluding all outstanding debts and automobiles) is less than $43,000,
  • Neither party has separate property assets (excluding all outstanding debts and automobiles) in excess of $43,000, and
  • The parties do not own any real estate together.

Each person that waives their right to spousal support and must sign an agreement which stipulates that they will divide their community property and debts. But couples will have to wait six months from the day they file the dissolution request with the court before filing documents to end the relationship. It is also important to note that the asset and debt thresholds mentioned above are subject to change.

An annulment is an option when the validity of a marriage or registered domestic partnership is in doubt. One scenario would be if the marriage or domestic partnership was invalid from the start as a result of incest, bigamy, or failure to follow legal formalities. These marriages or domestic partnerships are “void per se” and there is no deadline by which a nullity action must be brought. Legally, the marriage or domestic partnership never existed, and it may be attacked in any legal proceeding where the marriage or domestic partnership is a material element.

Another scenario might be that the marriage or domestic partnership is simply “voidable”. A marriage/domestic partnership can be found to be voidable on a number of grounds, including:

  • Having no parental consent
  • Fraud
  • Force
  • Lack of mental capacity on the part of one or both parties
  • One party being below the age of consent
  • Lack of physical capacity

For a number of the above-mentioned grounds (when a marriage/domestic partnership is simply “voidable”), there is a four year deadline for having the marriage or domestic partnership declared a nullity. However, if one of the parties believed in good faith that their marriage or domestic partnership was valid under California law, they may be entitled to property, support, and/or attorney fees. It is important to note that a voidable marriage/registered domestic partnership is legally considered valid, until the court has declared that the marriage/domestic partnership is, in fact, a nullity.

If the couple in question does not meet the requirements for a summary divorce, dissolution or annulment, they must then proceed with a standard dissolution, divorce or dissolution of a registered domestic partnership.

If you need to end a short term marriage, you will require help from an experienced divorce attorney who knows the ins and outs of California laws. In Orange County, that would be Bucher Family Law.

Your Fastest Option

If you’re looking for the fastest way to end a marriage and get divorced, you need to learn about all of your options as well as the qualifications for a quick divorce in California. The attorneys at Buncher Family Law have years of experience handling all types of divorces for clients in Orange County.

Posted in Court Preparation, High Asset Divorce.