Understanding the CA Divorce Process
Trusted Legal Support from Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich
Whether you have been served with dissolution papers or are contemplating a divorce in California, it is never too early to get legal help on your side. At Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich, our team of experienced divorce lawyers can help you approach the upcoming changes in your life and handle the legal details with skill and sensitivity, taking care of the confusing documentation and ensuring that your interests are protected during this time. We recommend that our clients be proactive in order to ensure that the dissolution process is as simple and straightforward as possible. Divorce can be overwhelming, but with a lawyer from our firm on your side, it doesn't have to be.
Preparing for the Divorce Process
In California, no-fault divorce laws allow couples to legally dissolve their marriages by citing irreconcilable differences. This ground for divorce means that neither spouse has to argue that the other is culpable for ruining their marriage. The court can still determine that one spouse is at fault, however, which could have implications for property division, child custody, and / or spousal support.
Am I qualified to obtain a California divorce?
If you or your spouse has been a California resident for six months or more, you may apply for a divorce in California by filing a divorce petition. In addition, you must have been a county resident for a minimum of three months prior to filing. If you wish to file for legal separation, there is no residency requirement.
How long will my divorce take?
If you have served divorce petition papers to your spouse, you will need to wait six months before your divorce can be finalized. If aspects of your marriage terms are disputed and you and your spouse must bring your divorce before a California family court, the divorce could take considerably longer - usually about one year. Amicable negotiation or mediation for an uncontested divorce can help increase the efficiency of the process.
Types of Divorce in California
Couples who have been married less than five years, have no children, don't own a house or land, and have limited assets and debts can file for a summary dissolution. Both spouses will also need to waive spousal support. This is the fastest and simplest divorce process available to California residents. Normally, couples opting for this type of divorce do not need to go to court. If you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement about how you will split your assets and obligations, you can file these terms at the same time you file your divorce petition. The six-month wait, however, is still required.
If you do not qualify for a summary dissolution, but you and your spouse are able to come to agree to the terms of a divorce, then you can file for an uncontested divorce. Even if you disagree about some points of your divorce terms, you may be able to avoid a court trial by using the process of mediation to resolve any remaining issues. This type of divorce is less time consuming and less expensive than contested divorce.
Couples who cannot agree on the terms of their marriage can file for a contested divorce. In this case, a judge in a California family court will decide the outcome of your case, including making decisions pertaining to any issues being disputed. Usually, issues that couples disagree over include details of child custody or visitation, spousal support payments, and division of assets.
Contact our family law team to schedule a consultation by calling (951) 506-6654 today.
Property Division for Divorcing Couples
Property that you and your spouse obtained together during the marriage is called community property, and each of you has legal rights to half. Possessions or properties acquired prior to your marriage are considered separate property and are not subject to division in a divorce. Similarly, debts incurred by a divorcing couple are considered community property debts; however, student loans are an exception that the court deems to be separate property debts.
Property distribution can be very complex, so it is crucial to have an experienced and knowledgeable divorce lawyer on your side to help ensure that your interests are safeguarded throughout the process. Your lawyer can help ensure that all community property is fairly valued and split. This is particularly important in cases of high net worth divorce.
Do you have more questions? Call us today!
The attorneys at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich are prepared to stand by your side throughout your marriage dissolution. While it is especially crucial to choose the right attorney if you are facing a court trial to resolve issues in a contested divorce, it is strongly recommended that you obtain legal counsel to help you even in a mediation or uncontested divorce. A proven lawyer can help you protect your interests and ease the process for you during this stressful time by ensuring that all the appropriate paperwork is filed on time and that all loose ends are tied up. Let us help you.