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Legalese - The Language of Divorce

No, not those words!

The legal world has its own vocabulary. It would make sense to say that you are filing for a "Divorce", but in California courts you are filing a "Dissolution of Marriage". "Alimony" is actually "Spousal support". The courts and attorneys are going to know what you mean, but when the judges and attorneys start using this vocabulary in the courtroom it can be difficult to figure out exactly what happened.

So, here's a quick translation:

  • In order to get divorced in California you must file for a Dissolution of Marriage. What's the difference you ask? Well, a marriage is a partnership between spouses that includes several separate components: Custody, child support, spousal support, property, debts, maybe a business. Therefore, we "dissolve" the partnership and its components. You divorce your spouse. (The law does not allow dissolving of spouses!)
  • If you want "Alimony", you must file for "Spousal Support".
  • You can be "separated" even if you live in the same house, but you may not be "legally separated".

If you are filing for a dissolution, you must know your "date of separation", which may or may not be when you separated your households. You are "separated" if one or both of you have decided that you no longer want to be married, but if you want a "Legal Separation", you need to file for a "Legal Separation", see, it's not all legalese!

The Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires & Associates, APLC 909-907-8783

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