Can a legal separation judgement be changed to a divorce without starting the entire process over?

I have a legal separation finalized judgement and would like to change it to a divorce. All items have been agreed on and a agreement has been written and notarized. It will be an uncontested divorce. I’ve been given 2 different paths to go: 1 – to file a Petition for Dissolution of marriage and that’s it; or 2 –  to start the entire process over and refile everything. Which is correct? Is there another way to go?

Asked on November 1, 2011 under Family Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

What I believe that you are alluding to here is known as a "conversion" divorce in many states. New York has such a proceeding.  California is  also one of those states that allows you to take a legal separation that has been properly filed and convert it to a dissolution proceeding (in other words a divorce).  Generally speaking, that is the easiest route to go.  Why would you start the entire process over?  If you have met the 6 month residency requirement for California and all the papers are in order you can file now.  I would speak with another attorney just to be sure that everything is in order.  Good luck to you.


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