A divorce in legal terms is now called a Dissolution of Marriage. Divorce is traditionally referred to as fault-based proceedings. California, and most other states, are now no-fault jurisdictions, meaning either spouse can request an end to the marriage without showing anything other than “irreconcilable differences.” The word Dissolution refers to the equitable nature of a modern divorce, which ends the bundle of marital rights, and is suggestive of a partnership dissolution with the addition of child issues. In the case of a domestic partnership, the dissolution also ends all legal bonds. In California, you are required to live in that state for at least 6 months before you can file for a divorce. Both parties do not have to agree on the divorce; either party involved can file for a divorce. If one spouse decides not to participate, this generally leads to a default judgement on behalf of the partner who filed.
The process of divorce in California takes at least 6 months to finalize. This time begins from the date the divorce papers are served or when the responding partner files their response, depending on which happens first. A Divorce is not final until a final judgement is signed by the Judge. This usually takes time and is a process of several decisions and documents, and usually takes substantially longer than six months.
If there are children involved, there must be a parenting agreement with visitation schedules or an agreement of custody. If there are items in the marriage in dispute, there is a process to divide the items in question. Many times there will be a question of spousal support, or even restraining orders to review. Divorce can be a messy process, and it may take some time to sort out all of the disagreements.
Couples who have been married fewer than 5 years, have no children, and no dispute of belongings can use a shortened process called a “Summary Dissolution.” You must meet very specific guidelines and file a Joint Petition. Many times this does not require an attorney and is a faster, cheaper divorce alternative, but most couples do not meet all of the qualifications.
Though a court will review any divorce documents that you present, the court may not understand what you are trying to do on each point of the divorce. This may result in a divorce decree that states something other than what you intended.
By using an attorney, you can be certain that the legal documents presented to the court will accurately include your wishes and that the divorce decree will be free of errors or unclear verbiage that may make parts of the agreement difficult or impossible to enforce. Call Charles D. Stark today, a Santa Rosa family law attorney who would be glad to meet with you, and help you through this difficult process. Call us today at 707-623-1157 or contact us online to take the first step.