A divorce is a potentially traumatic and emotional event in a person’s life. The decision to hire a divorce attorney is never easy, but it could go a long way to making the divorce process smoother. Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP are Carlsbad divorce attorneys who are committed to our clients. We also want to help individuals looking for divorce attorneys outside of San Diego County to know enough about California divorce law to help them get started. Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about California divorce law.
Who is Eligible for Divorce in California?
Not everyone can file for divorce in the state of California. At least one party must have lived in the state for six months or longer prior to the date of filing. Furthermore, one of the spouses must have lived in the county where they’re filing for a minimum of three months.
What are Grounds For Divorce in California?
California is a no-fault state. The party filing the divorce does not have to justify their actions. While one spouse may have wronged the other in some way, a judge will not use that information to determine the division of property or when awarding spousal support. Certain actions may, however, be used to determine child custody arrangements.
What is the Divorce Process in CA?
If one of the spouses meet the residency requirements, either spouse can file for divorce in the superior court in the county where that spouse lives. If both spouses agree on major issues like the division of assets and shared parental time, they can bypass mediation. If that’s not possible, they may have to attempt mediation or have a divorce trial in front of a judge. It’s usually better for both parties to avoid a costly trial, but it’s sometimes necessary.
How Does a Summary Dissolution Work?
In certain cases, you can file for a summary dissolution in the state of California. This is the simplest divorce process and it’s the best option for some couples. In order to qualify, you must be married for less than five years, not own any land, have no children in common (including adopted children), and agree that alimony will not be required. In addition, you must have less than $41,000 in marital property, own less than $41,000 in individual property, and have less than $6,000 in collective debt.
When Should I Hire a Divorce Attorney?
In most cases, hiring a divorce lawyer is a wise move. A Carlsbad divorce lawyer who’s well versed in California family law can help you avoid legal pitfalls so you can get a divorce settlement that works for you. Generally, if you qualify for a summary dissolution, you are unlikely to have the assets and debt that would warrant the services of an attorney. If, on the other hand, you have children, significant assets or debt, or are seeking alimony, you should have a lawyer. It’s also a good idea to have your own legal counsel if your spouse hires a divorce lawyer. An attorney can only represent one of you, and you need to protect your individual and parental rights.