• getting a divorce in california

Getting a Divorce in California

There are several requirements each spouse must fulfill to get a divorce in California. Below is an overview of California’s divorce requirements and processes that must be followed when considering getting a divorce in California, including what needs to take place in order for a divorce to become finalized. Read on to learn more about what you need to do to get a divorce in California, how you can contest a divorce in California, how fast you can get a divorce in California, and what to ask for in a divorce.

What Do I Need to Get A Divorce in California?

In order to get a divorce in California, residency requirements must be met in order for the court to hear the case. If the court does not have jurisdiction to accept the marital dissolution petition, it will dismiss the case. In order to establish residency for your matter to be heard, you must be a resident of the state for six months and of the county in which the proceeding is filed for three months. When getting a divorce in California, you must meet the residency requirements before filing your marital dissolution petition. If you are not a permanent resident of California, you must establish residency in California before you can file for divorce. You can continue gathering all the information you need to complete the petition while you wait to meet the residency requirement. You may also want to consider having your spouse file the petition if he or she meets the requirements. Otherwise, you will have to wait until you meet the residency requirements or consider filing for a legal separation first which has a shorter residency requirement. If you file for legal separation first, once you have met the residency requirement, you can change the case to a divorce proceeding.

How Fast Can I Get A Divorce in California?

People often ask how fast they can get their divorce completed. There is a six month waiting period before a divorce is finalized in California. This means that when getting a divorce in California, both parties must wait six months from the date the Respondent receives notice about the divorce in order for it to be finalized. If there are ongoing proceedings during this time, the final divorce date may be pushed back. For example, if a spouse needs temporary support orders, then once a request for order is calendared, the court must hear this request. In addition, if discovery is ongoing, then the final date of divorce may be pushed back in the event the matter goes to trial.

Divorces in California are either uncontested or contested. An uncontested divorce usually means that both parties have resolved all pending issues amongst themselves and have drafted a marital settlement agreement to file with their final judgment. If a contested divorce arises, the parties will litigate before a judge all pending issues (trial). The judge will make the final determination as to how the community property assets and debts will be divided in addition to resolving issues regarding child custody and support, and alimony.

Uncontested divorces are usually resolved within a year or shorter. This means that both parties can be officially divorced within a short period of time from the date the petition is filed. If a divorce is contested, it can take as long as two years to resolve before a final divorce decree is issued. Contact us for more information on how fast you can get a divorce in California.

What to Ask for in a Divorce

What you ask for in a divorce will depend on the community assets and debts you hold, the duration of your marriage, and if there are any children. When considering what to ask for in a divorce, keep in mind that under California community property laws, spouses are entitled to their half-share of the community estate. Community property consists of all the assets and debts the parties acquired while married. For example, if the parties have a home, the home could be sold and the proceeds be divided amongst the parties 50/50. This does not mean that the parties cannot mutually agree to some other unequal division of their assets and debts. This is often the case in uncontested divorce proceedings when the partes sign a Marital Settlement Agreement. You will be required to complete a schedule of assets and debts. This will provide you with an overview of what community assets and debts can be divided and how you may want to separate things.

As for minor children, custody, visitation and support can be decided by the parties or the court. The court will do what is in the best interest of the child when determining custody. Child support will depend on the child’s needs while in the care of the primary custodial parent.

In regard to alimony, the amount paid to the spouse in need will depend on a variety of factors such as the length of the marriage, the spouse’s need for support, and if he/she contributed to enhancing the other spouse’s career. These are just a few of the key factors the court considers in awarding support. If a spouse receives an annual bonus, the spouse in need may also receive a Smith-Ostler award. Contact us for more information about what to ask for in a divorce.

Can You Contest a Divorce in California?

If you are wondering can you contest a divorce in California the answer is yes! A divorce can be contested in California with regards to issues and the division of property and debt. You cannot, however, contest the request for a divorce itself. If one party wants a divorce and the other party does not, the divorce will still proceed.

As mentioned above, a contested divorce occurs when a spouse does not agree with what the other spouse asks for to settle the case.  If you agree on some issues, you can draft an agreement as to what you agree to and litigate the unresolved issues before a judge who will make a final determination. When you contest a divorce in California, some issues can be more easily resolved by motion, while other issues may have to be resolved at a trial. You will have to file a request for hearing and have a trial date set. The court will require you to attend a mandatory settlement conference prior to going to trial in an attempt to have you settle any pending issues.

The information provided above is for educational purposes. At A People’s Choice, we have helped thousands of California residents successfully file for a divorce at a fraction of the cost. Contact us for more information about our services.

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By |2018-01-18T15:47:24+00:00August 30th, 2015|Family Law|0 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.

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