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Divorce FAQ California

Most commonly asked questions about the divorce process in California answered - the Divorce FAQ

Some questions which are surely nagging you, are answered clearly and precise in this FAQ.

Default Divorce in California

In some circumstances in California, a spouse can get a divorce decree without the consent or even the knowledge of the other spouse. In a default divorce, the court renders a decision on the divorce after the respondent fails to respond.

A divorce by default in California occurs when the filing spouse does not get a timely answer to the divorce petition. In California, the petitioning spouse may proceed with the divorce without the defendant’s participation if the defendant receives the divorce papers but fails to respond within 30 days after receiving the petition. In California, it is even possible to obtain a divorce by default if the petitioner fails to serve the defendant with a copy of the complaint.

When Divorce by Default May Be Used: Serving the Defendant and Consequences of Silence

If the defendant purposefully evades the process server in an attempt to delay the divorce, the court may allow the petitioner to serve the defendant in a different manner. A judge may, for instance, permit the petitioner to publish the divorce notification in the newspaper or through certified mail. Even if the defendant never saw the publication, the divorce proceeding will begin if the defendant fails to react.

After a divorce by default has begun, it is difficult for the defendant to reclaim his or her rights. If the defendant continues to remain silent, the petitioner will receive the divorce decision according to his or her wishes, since the defendant was not present to contest the divorce. Once the courts have finalized the divorce, it cannot be reversed or annulled, even if the defendant never received the petition and was unaware a spouse filed for divorce.

Advantages of Divorce by Default

A primary advantage of a divorce by default is that it often requires less time and money to finalize than a contentious divorce. Due to the absence of the opposing party, the proceedings are typically expedited and simplified.

Reduces conflict: In certain instances, divorcing couples may have a confrontational relationship, which can make the process more difficult. By avoiding open confrontation and negotiations, divorce by default can help lessen conflict.

When one party decides not to participate in the divorce proceedings, the other party may feel a feeling of closure, knowing that the process is concluded and they can move on with their life.

Cons of Default Divorce

In some instances, a divorce by default may result in an unfair decision, particularly if the other spouse did not engage in the process. This can occur if the absent party fails to offer required evidence or arguments.

Absence of input: The missing party has no say in the divorce proceedings, which may cause some to feel they have lost control over the outcome.

The other party may have wished to reconcile or address any issues before the divorce was finalized, but this opportunity was lost. With a divorce by default, this opportunity may be gone.

In conclusion, a divorce by default can be an effective means of resolving a divorce case when one side refuses to engage in the process. Although it can save time and money and reduce conflict, it is important to evaluate the potential disadvantages, such as biased decisions and the absence of involvement from the absent partner. Couples contemplating this choice should speak with an experienced divorce attorney to ensure they are aware of their rights and responsibilities and can make an informed decision.

There is no way to accurately predict the cost of a divorce. The reason for this is every case is different. Specifically, the amount you spend on a divorce attorney depends on two factors: how complicated the issues are and how much the parties litigate. The two most expensive issues to litigate in family law are child custody and determination of cash flow in a business, which is part of division of property. If you and your spouse are able to resolve custody and visitation issues before ever filing the divorce action, and if you hire a competent divorce attorney you will probably be able to get through the divorce process with relatively little expense, time and stress.

Read more about attorney fees here

No. A divorce always takes at least six months to complete. Sometimes the parties agree to all the terms of the divorce before the six months has run. In this case, the parties can prepare and finalize a divorce judgment before the six month waiting period expires, but they will not be divorced until the six months had run. Even if a judgment is prepared before the six month waiting period expires, the terms of the agreement are still binding on both parties. They are just not free to remarry until the six months have run.

Other times, people do not resolve all the custody, visitation, child supportspousal support, and division of property issues within the six month time period. In this case, a divorce will take longer than the six month time frame because the parties have a right to litigate the terms of their divorce and resolve the issues before a judicial officer.

In situations where the divorce process lasts more than the six month waiting period, it is possible to “bifurcate the status” of the marriage. This means that the court declares you divorced as soon as the six months are up even though you have not resolved the remaining issues of division of property, child support, spousal support, custody, etc. You then litigate those matters at a later date. A bifurcation is not common, and only needed if the divorce is relatively complicated and one party already has plans to remarry.

Yes, if both you and your spouse are able to agree on all issues in your California divorce, meaning child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support, division of property, division of any pension plans, and division of debts, you can avoid litigation. You can simply have someone write up a divorce judgment, sign it, and be done. This is usually the best outcome.

The waiting period begins in a California divorce once the divorce papers are filed and served. Thus, even if you are your spouse are separated for years, the waiting period does not start until the divorce action is filed and the papers are properly served upon the other party.

In California, the waiting period for a divorce begins on the date that the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is served on the other spouse. This waiting period is six months, during which time neither spouse can remarry. It is important to note that the waiting period does not mean that the divorce will be finalized after six months – it is simply the earliest date that a divorce can be granted. The actual length of time it takes to finalize a divorce in California can vary depending on the complexity of the case and whether the spouses are able to reach a settlement.

 

There are several differences between a legal separation and a divorce. There is no waiting period in a legal separation, and you do not have to be a legal resident of the state. All property is divided, child support is ordered, spousal support is ordered, custody and visitation are resolved, and a divorce judgment is entered at the end of the case, except that the parties are not divorced in the end. Additionally, both people must agree to a legal separation or the proceeding will automatically end in divorce.

Read more about legal separation vs divorce here

After the initial paperwork is filed with the court, each party then has a right to conduct “discovery.” This allows each party to ask the other person questions and may require each party to produce written documentation about his/her income, assets and debts, or about any other information which may be relevant to the case. After the discovery process is complete, the divorce case is ready to be set for trial. Once again, nothing happens unless one or both of the parties cause it to happen. For instance, the Response will not be filed by the court, the Default will not be entered, discovery will not be conducted, and the case will not be set for trial unless the proper paperwork is filed and served. 

Read more about it here

If you have been served with divorce papers in California, there are several steps you should take – read about “being served divorce papers” here.

If a Response is not filed, the matter is decided by “default.” This means that the court decides the outcome of the case based upon only one side’s versions of the facts. Thus, when there is property or children involved, it is very important to file a Response.

divorce in California always takes a minimum of six months. This is called a “waiting period.” The waiting period is to make sure you and your spouse do not change your mind about going through with the divorce. The courts want to give you time in case you decide to reconcile. You cannot get a divorce in California until the waiting period has expired.

The legal separation process in California can take several months to complete, and the timeline can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Here is a general timeline of the legal separation process in California:

  1. Filing the Petition: The legal separation process begins with one spouse filing a Petition for Legal Separation in the Superior Court in the county where they live. This document is served to the other spouse, who then has 30 days to file a Response.

  2. Discovery: The next step is the discovery process, where each spouse gathers information about the other’s finances, assets, and debts. This can include exchanging financial statements, property valuations, and other relevant documents.

  3. Negotiations and Settlement: After the discovery process is complete, the spouses may attempt to negotiate a legal separation agreement. If they are able to come to an agreement, the terms of the settlement will be put in writing and presented to the court for approval.

  4. Court Hearings: If the spouses are unable to reach a legal separation agreement, the court may schedule a hearing to address any disputed issues. This may include child custody, support, and property division.

  5. Judgment: Once all issues have been resolved, either through settlement or court order, the court will issue a Judgment of Legal Separation. This document legally separates the spouses but does not terminate the marriage. The terms of the legal separation agreement, including child custody, support, and property division, will be outlined in the judgment.

The timeline for each of these steps can vary widely depending on the complexity of the case, the willingness of the parties to negotiate, and other factors. It is important to work with an experienced family law attorney in California to ensure that your legal separation is handled effectively and efficiently.

 

The divorce process begins once the paperwork is filed in court. Nothing happens in the process unless someone moves the case along. The courthouse stores, but does not process, your paperwork for you. They simply stamp the documents and keep the records. This means that no one in the courthouse will tell you what needs to be done or how to do it. Either you have to figure it out on your own or hire a lawyer to help you.

The first step in the divorce process is filing and serving the documents. This starts the waiting period. The next step is to determine whether temporary relief is needed. In other words, if you need some type of financial support, an order to sell your house, an order to determine custody of the children, or an order allowing you to move out of the state, you need to ask the judge to make the order. This is done by filing a “Request for Order.” The person filing the Request for Order usually has the burden of proof.

No. California is a no-fault state. This means that anyone can get a divorce in California at any time, for any reason. If one spouse does not want a divorce but the other one does, the court will grant the divorce over the objection of the other spouse. This is called “irreconcilable differences.”

Yes. You need to know if a lawsuit is filed against you so you can defend your legal rights. If someone is trying to serve you with court documents, make sure you let them give you a copy so you know what is going on. Otherwise, court orders could be made without your knowledge.

Read more about being served divorce papers

Yes. Child support and child visitation are not related. If your husband is not paying you child support, you need to obtain a court order requiring him to do so. If you have a court order and he is not honoring it, there are ways to make him pay. In California, child custody is determined by what is in the best interest of the children. Custody is based upon a number of factors, including which parent is more likely to allow the other parent to have frequent and continuing contact with the children. If you do not allow your husband to see the children because he is not paying you child support, you risk losing custody.

That depends. California is a no-fault state. This means that a person’s morality cannot be considered in determining the outcome of a case. If your spouse had an affair during the marriage, this is not a basis to deny your spouse visitation, nor is it, in and of itself, a reason to obtain custody of the children. However, if the affair interferes with your spouse’s ability to care for your children, then it is a different matter. For instance, if your spouse is not home, comes home late at night, or is otherwise neglecting the children as a result of his/her extramarital affair, the court could find that you are best able to care for the children and award you custody.

Not necessarily. Normally, the terms of a California divorce are final and cannot be changed. However, sometimes you can obtain a modification of a divorce judgment. There are some aspects of a divorce judgment which can always be modified; these include child custody, visitation, child support and spousal support issues. Correcting a mistake made in a judgment is much more difficult.

 

California’s regulation is justified on the grounds that the state wishes to guarantee that both parties are sincerely committed to ending their marriage or partnership. A prolonged waiting period allows couples to acquire perspective and maybe try reconciliation.

In California, either parent may have exclusive custody or the parents may split custody. Although the judge makes the final decision about custody and visitation, he or she will typically approve the arrangement (the parenting plan) reached by both parents.

California law expresses no favor for one parent over another in a custody dispute. Custody determinations must be made with the child’s best interests in mind. That being said, moms have historically been granted custody more frequently than fathers, as they are frequently the primary caregivers for their children.

A quick divorce can be obtained by opting for a summary dissolution. To qualify, your divorce must be uncontested, your marriage must have lasted less than five years, you cannot have any children together, your joint debts and assets must be modest, and both parties must agree to waive spousal support.

In California, it is possible to stop a divorce that has been initiated, but the process depends on the specific circumstances of the case. If both parties agree to stop the divorce, they can file a request with the court to dismiss the divorce case.

However, if one party does not agree to stop the divorce, it becomes more complicated. The party who wants to stop the divorce can file a request with the court to withdraw their divorce petition. However, if the other party has already responded to the divorce petition or filed a counter-petition, the court may require a hearing to determine whether to grant the request to withdraw the petition.

It is important to note that once a divorce has been filed, there may be legal and financial implications even if the parties decide to stop the divorce. It is recommended that you consult with an experienced family law attorney in California to understand your legal options and the potential consequences of stopping a divorce.

 

The guideline stipulates that the paying spouse’s support should be presumptively 40% of his or her net monthly income, less 50% of the receiving spouse’s net monthly income. If child support is a factor, spousal support is determined after child support. Speak to a experienced Murrieta divorce lawyer about it. 

Understanding the Divorce Timeline in California: Important Stages and Considerations

The timeline for a divorce process in California can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, but generally, the process can take several months to a year or more to complete. Here is a general timeline of the divorce process in California:

  1. Filing the Petition: The divorce process begins with one spouse filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the Superior Court in the county where they live. This document is served to the other spouse, who then has 30 days to file a Response.

  2. Discovery: The next step is the discovery process, where each spouse gathers information about the other’s finances, assets, and debts. This can include exchanging financial statements, property valuations, and other relevant documents.

  3. Negotiations and Settlement: After the discovery process is complete, the spouses may attempt to negotiate a settlement agreement. If they are able to come to an agreement, the terms of the settlement will be put in writing and presented to the court for approval.

  4. Court Hearings: If the spouses are unable to reach a settlement agreement, the court may schedule a hearing to address any disputed issues. This may include child custody, support, and property division.

  5. Final Judgment: Once all issues have been resolved, either through settlement or court order, the court will issue a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. This document legally ends the marriage and outlines the terms of the divorce settlement, including child custody, support, and property division.

The timeline for each of these steps can vary widely depending on the complexity of the case, the willingness of the parties to negotiate, and other factors. It is important to work with an experienced family law attorney in California to ensure that your divorce is handled effectively and efficiently.

If one spouse contests the divorce in California, it may prolong the process and require court hearings to resolve any disputed issues. However, ultimately a judge may grant the divorce even if one spouse is contesting it.

 

In California, property is divided according to the principle of community property. Community property generally refers to assets and debts that were acquired during the marriage, with a few exceptions. In a divorce, community property is typically divided equally between the spouses.

However, it is important to note that not all property is considered community property. Separate property, which is property that was acquired by one spouse before the marriage, after the date of separation, or through inheritance or gift, is generally not subject to division.

Determining which assets and debts are community property and which are separate property can be a complex process. It may be necessary to obtain the assistance of a professional, such as a forensic accountant or a family law attorney, to help identify and value assets and debts.

Once community property has been identified, it must be divided equally between the spouses. This does not mean that each spouse will receive half of every asset, but rather that the total value of the community property will be divided equally. For example, if one spouse receives the family home in the divorce, the other spouse may receive other assets of equal value, such as investment accounts or retirement accounts.

In some cases, spouses may agree to an unequal division of property, either through a settlement agreement or a court order. This may be appropriate if one spouse contributed significantly more to the acquisition of certain assets or if there are other factors that justify an unequal division.

Overall, property division in a divorce can be a complex and emotionally charged process. It is important to work with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive a fair share of the marital property.

Read more about it here: 

Division of Property in California

In California, it generally does not matter who files for divorce first. California is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that either spouse can file for divorce without having to prove that the other spouse did something wrong. However, there may be strategic reasons for one spouse to file before the other, such as getting a head start on the divorce process or setting the tone for the proceedings. Ultimately, it is best to consult with a qualified family law attorney to determine the best course of action in your specific situation.

 
 
 
 

 The first step is for one spouse (or domestic partner) to file papers to start the case and officially notify the other spouse. The other spouse then has a chance to file a response. This is known as Part 1 of the process. 

Yes, it is required. The spouse that first filed for divorce must share financial information with their spouse as part of Part 2 of the process. This information includes income, expenses, assets, and debts.

Yes, you can represent yourself, but it is recommended that you seek legal advice from an attorney, especially if the case is complex or involves contested issues. The court also offers self-help resources for those who choose to represent themselves.

If the parties can’t agree on all issues, the case may proceed to trial where a judge will make decisions on unresolved issues. However, the parties can still attempt to reach agreements through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or collaborative divorce.

Yes, you can get a divorce in California even if you were married in another state or country. However, you must meet California’s residency requirements (at least six months in California and three months in the county where you plan to file for divorce) in order to file for divorce in California.

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