Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Divorce Attorney Explains the Requirements for Getting a Divorce in California

As a divorce attorney in California, we work with couples that no longer wish to remain married and are interested in ending their relationship in either an amicable or contested divorce.  The family laws in each state are different so if you recently moved to California or are unfamiliar with our laws it is important to have a quick review prior to filing.  
Here is what you need to know:
  • Residency. If you want to divorce here, you must have lived in the state for at six months prior to filing (three of those must be in the county where your filing takes place).  Otherwise, if you recently moved you would have to either file in the state you came from or wait for the six months to pass before proceeding.  Most couples simply wait for the six months because of how inconvenient it is to have a legal proceeding take place in the state you no longer live in. 
  • California is a no-fault state. In some states, fault must be established in order to “qualify” for a divorce.  Otherwise, the request may not be granted.  As a divorce attorney in California, we know that you can get a divorce simply because you want one.  It is important to remember, however, that the judge may take the circumstances surrounding the divorce into consideration when making their ruling. 
  • Waiting Period.  In many states, there is a waiting period to see if the couple can reconcile.  The intent is to decrease the number of divorces, though it mostly only creates further challenges for divorcing couples.  In California, a couple must wait six months after filing before a divorce can be finalized. The judge may also delay the proceedings by an additional thirty days if they feel like the couple could reconcile. 
  • Division of assets.  The court will make a determination for how assets, property, and debts are split up.  
  • Children.  During the course of the trial, the judge will hear testimony and take facts into consideration to determine what is in the best interest of the children.  They will then make a ruling on who will maintain custody, visitation, and child support.  This can be the most difficult aspect of a divorce, and if you feel that the ruling was unjust, you can file a formal appeal. 
As a divorce attorney, many of our clients are new to this process and unsure of what to expect.  During the consultation, we will walk you through the steps that must be taken from filing to your final ruling.  It can take months and even a year for more complicated cases.  We always recommend speaking with a lawyer before filing so that you can have your ducks in a row and ensure that you and your children will be protected.  A divorce is a serious and complicated legal affair and having professional guidance will help you to get through it successfully.