If you’re thinking about getting a divorce in California, you deserve to know what to expect. It helps to have the support of a divorce attorney at your side for each phase of the case. From getting advice before filing all the way through to divorce and post-modification issues, your San Jose CA divorce attorney is a source of insight and advocacy.
For most people, divorce concerns hinge on the perception of going to court with a soon-to-be former spouse. However, for plenty of couples, this is not the default option. Instead, you can settle, go through mediation, or negotiate outside of court, leveraging your divorce attorney to avoid a long, painful, and expensive experience in family court.
There are two ways to file for divorce in California: on the grounds of irreconcilable differences and permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. Unlike some other states, California does not use fault grounds as a method for one spouse to petition for divorce against the other, rendering California a no-fault state.
In general, the term irreconcilable differences is used because it refers to the marriage’s irretrievable breakdown. This broad term allows couples to end the marriage for any one of a litany of reasons. Outside of divorce itself, certain situations allow couples to separate or apply for annulment of their marriage legally.
Most states require particular residency periods before a party can file for divorce, and California is no exception. To file, either you or your spouse must have lived in California for the most recent six-month period and lived a minimum of three months in the county in which you intend to file for divorce. If you do not yet meet the residency requirements to file for divorce, you can still exercise your right to legal separation.
Six months is the fastest amount of time that a traditional California divorce can be fully settled due to current legal requirements. While some cases can be settled shortly after that period, more contentious divorces can take up to a year or longer to be fully processed in court.
You can ask your divorce attorney at the outset of your filing if they have insight about how long your case might take, but this all depends on the overall court schedule and how many issues are up for discussion.
Either you or your spouse can petition for divorce so long as you meet the residency requirements. It’s wise to consult with a divorce attorney first and to have already collected important documents like property titling and an inventory of assets.
The divorce filing requires you to submit mandatory fees at that time. You must bring the papers you have drafted for your divorce to your local courthouse. Once you have submitted these papers, you must give your spouse proper service to notify them of the filing formally.
After this point, temporary orders might be issued to address child support, spousal support, and child custody and visitation. These matters are followed by financial disclosures, discovery, and settlement if both spouses can agree. If you cannot come to terms together, the divorce case will go to trial for the unresolved issues to be heard by the judge.
While it is true that you and your partner can come to terms on your own and file for divorce, it’s well worth speaking with an attorney first to ensure you have a clear understanding of both the process and the potential pitfalls of going this route. For most people, having an attorney to guide them ensures that they recognize the critical and long-lasting repercussions of property division decisions, child custody, and spousal support.
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your family is to create a forum in which you can ask questions about the more general process of divorce in California and specifics associated with your case.
At Seabrook Law Offices, we believe it’s in your best interest to avoid entering the court system with an intention to stay there and duke it out because the family court system is a sewer system. If you have children, this is time to put on your “grown-up” pants and put their wellbeing first. Our reliable, experienced attorneys and legal staff focus on getting you to settlement wherever possible to allow you and your family to resolve critical issues and start this new chapter of your life.
For more information about what California divorce could look like for you, don’t wait to speak to an experienced lawyer. When you search for “attorney near me” and discover Seabrook Law Offices, know that we’re here to help. Contact us today at (408) 703-1563 or complete the contact form on our website to schedule your consultation.
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Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.