30 Sep 2019

Steps for getting a divorce or dissolution of marriage in California

Steps for getting a divorce or dissolution of marriage in California

Getting a divorce or dissolution of marriage as it’s also called in California, can be a very complex matter, depending on wether the couple has assets and minor children, we recommend getting legal advice from a divorce attorney. This article is an overview of some basic steps for filing for divorce in California.

Step 1. Protect Yourself, Your Children, and Your Property

If you think your spouse might become violent, or kidnap the children, or take money from bank accounts or conceal other property, there are ways to protect yourself. This might involve a court order to prevent domestic violence, notifying childcare providers or schools that a child should only be released to you, or securing a passport for your child to prevent removal from the country. You can get a court order preventing the disposal of assets, or secure them yourself (just be sure to account for them, since you don’t want your spouse to claim that you illegally took them).

Step 2. Make Sure You Meet Residency Requirements

To file for divorce in California, you must have been a resident of California for at least six months, and of the county where you will file for at least three months.

Step 3. Gather Information

For the California divorce process, you will need to show—for both you and your spouse—how much you earn, what you own, and what you owe to creditors. Make copies of important documents, such as bank and investment statements, mortgage and loan documents, credit card statements, pay stubs, W-2 forms and tax returns, deeds, vehicle titles, life and health insurance documents, and utility bills, and make sure you have your spouse’s Social Security and driver’s license numbers. You will also need to estimate your monthly living expenses.

Step 4. Decide If You Need Temporary Alimony or Child Support

You will need to support yourself, and possibly your children, during the divorce process. This can be done with temporary spousal support and child support orders, which will require completing and filing additional forms.

Step 5. Determine Which Procedure to Use

California has a traditional dissolution of marriage procedure and a summary dissolution of marriage procedure. To qualify for the summary procedure, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You and your spouse agree to the divorce.
  • You do not have children.
  • You were not married for more than five years before separating.
  • You don’t have real estate, and only have a residential lease that expires within one year of filing and does not include a purchase option.
  • There are no debts over $6,000, other than auto loans.
  • Community property has a value of less than $41,000, and each party has no more than $41,000 in separate property, not including autos and encumbrances.
  • You and your spouse have a written agreement dividing the property and debts, and have executed required title transfers.
  • You and your spouse waive your right to spousal support, and rights to appeal and to ask for a new trial.
  • You and your spouse have read a brochure about the summary procedure.

If any of these requirements are not met, you will need to use the regular procedure.

Step 6. Prepare the Necessary Forms

The official California divorce forms may be obtained from the court clerk, various online sources, or from publications at your local library. You will need to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, as well as financial disclosure forms. If you are using the summary procedure, there will be a separate set of forms. If you have minor or dependent children, there also will be forms relating to child custody and child support.

Step 7. File Your Forms

Take your completed forms to the clerk’s office of the Superior Court. You will need to pay a filing fee.

We recommend that you hire the services of a professional legal support company for this the court filings and the service of process, when the documents will be delivered to your spose.

Step 8. Notify Your Spouse

Your spouse must receive proper notice of the divorce having been filed. This is done in one of three ways: (1) your spouse signs forms that show he or she is aware of the proceedings (in the summary proceeding your spouse will also sign the Petition); (2) your spouse is legally served with copies of certain court papers; or (3) a proper legal notice has been published (if you are unable to locate your spouse).

Step 9. Attend Court Hearings and Provide Additional Documents

Unless you use the summary procedure, there will be at least one court hearing. You might need to provide other documents that the judge requests. One form to be prepared is a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage for the judge to sign, thereby making the divorce final.

Step 10. Wait for the Judgment

There is a California divorce waiting period of six months between the time the Petition is filed and the time the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is “final.” Both you and your spouse will be sent a certified copy of the Judgment.

01 Aug 2019

The Legal Aspects of Getting Separated

The Legal Aspects of Getting Separated
Many people view legal separation as a step toward a divorce and, while it may be that, it is also an important legal process in its own right. Therefore, it is important for couples to understand their rights and the legal effects of their separation.

Issues that Can be Addressed in a Legal Separation

A married couple may decide to separate or live apart at any time without permission of the court. However, when the couple announces their intent to live apart to the court, then they are seeking a legal separation. Since a legal separation is a court proceeding, there are matters that may be decided by a judge. For example, issues such as child custody, child support and spousal support are commonly decided in legal separations. However, it is important to note that all of these things may be revised, or retracted if the couple seeks a divorce.

Differences Between Legal Separations and Divorces

The parties involved in a legal separation are legally bound to comply with the terms of the court order, however they are still considered to be a married couple because they do not have an official divorce decree.
Furthermore, a legal separation is often ordered without any delay on the part of the court because the consequences of a separation are not permanent. In many states, couples who seek a divorce may only be granted a divorce after they have gone through a waiting period. The waiting period is meant to ensure that the couple truly wants to be divorced and to end their marriage. Since a separation does not end a marriage and may be revoked with the mutual consent of the spouses, no waiting period is necessary.
Separations are often sought by couples who no longer wish to live together as husband and wife but who want to maintain certain benefits of marriage such as tax benefits, social security benefits,  or pension benefits, by couples who are religiously opposed to divorce, and by couples who are unsure about whether to file for divorce.

How to File for a Legal Separation

A legal separation is an important legal proceeding that can have an immediate impact on your life and may influence divorce proceedings. Therefore, it is important to consult with a family law attorney before filing a legal separation. Your lawyer will help you file a petition or legal separation with the court that will include how you want financial and child custody matters handled during your separation. If your spouse has no objections than the court will likely grant the separation. However, if your spouse objects to the separation or to the terms of the separation than a hearing will likely be held before the separation is granted unless both spouses agree to work things out privately or to seek the help of a mediator. Once both spouses agree and sign the separation agreement it will be approved by a judge, filed with the court and the parties will be legally separated and bound by the terms of their separation agreement.

Seek the help of  an Experienced Family Lawyer and a Service of Process company

The Active Legal has many years of experience dealing with court research and proceedings. We can help you retrieve or file the legal separation papers. Visit our website https://theactivelegal.com or call us at (619) 233-1478