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 for partnership dissolution and answers to some of our clients’ most common questions. Read on for more!

FAQ: What do I need to get a divorce in California?

To get a divorce in California, partners must meet certain residency requirements. Otherwise, courts without jurisdiction to accept the marital dissolution petition will dismiss the case.

In order to establish residency in California, you must be a resident of the state for six months and of the county for three months before filing your marital dissolution petition. If this is true for you, feel free to gather all the information needed to complete the petition while waiting to meet the residency requirement. In some cases, non-residents will ask their partners to file the petition if they meet the requirements.

If none of these options work for you, you may want to consider filing for a legal separation first. Legal separations have a shorter residency requirement. Then, once you’ve met the divorce standards, you can change your proceeding to a divorce.

FAQ: 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. In other words, both parties must wait six months from the serving date before they’re “officially” divorced.

If there are ongoing proceedings during this six month period, the final divorce date may be pushed back. For example, if a spouse requests temporary support orders, the court must hear their request. In addition, if discovery is ongoing, the matter may go to trial and thus push the date.

Divorces in California are either uncontested or contested. Usually, in an uncontested divorce, both parties have resolved all issues amongst themselves and drafted a marital settlement agreement to file with their final judgment. Spouses usually resolve uncontested divorces within a year or less. In such cases, parties can be officially divorced within a short period from the date the petition is filed

In a contested divorce, the parties will litigate all pending issues in trial before a judge. Then, the judge will make the final determination of how the community property, assets, and debts will be divided. Additionally, he or she will resolve issues regarding child custody and support and alimony. If a divorce is contested, it can take as long as two years to resolve before a final divorce decree is issued.

FAQ: What should I ask for in a divorce?

Upon divorce, parties must complete a schedule of assets and debts. This provides the couple with an overview of what community assets and debts they can divide and how they may want to separate things.

What you ask for in a divorce will depend on the community assets and debts you hold, the duration of your marriage, and whether you have children.

When considering what assets you want to ask for, keep in mind that under California community property laws, spouses are entitled to their half-share of the community estate. Community property refers to all the assets and debts the parties acquired while married. Therefore, if the parties own a home, they could sell it and divide the proceeds equally.

However, this law does not imply 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 parties sign a marital settlement agreement.

As for minor children, custody, visitation, and support can be determined by the parties or the court. If needed, the court will act in favor of the best interest of the child. 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 length of the marriage, the spouse’s need for support, and whether they contributed to enhancing the other’s career.

If a spouse receives an annual bonus, the spouse in need may also receive a Smith-Ostler award.

FAQ: Can I contest a divorce in California?

If you are wondering whether you can contest a divorce in California, the short answer is yes! You can contest a divorce in California with regards to issues like 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.

If the divorcing spouses can agree on some issues, they can draft an agreement outlining them and then litigate the unresolved issues before a judge. Sometimes, parties can resolve issues more easily by motion. However, they may still have to resolve others at trial.

To contest a divorce in California, you will have to file a request for hearing and set a trial date. Then, the court will require you to attend a mandatory settlement conference prior to trial in an attempt to settle any pending issues.

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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The information provided above is for educational purposes.

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