When "I Do" Becomes "I Divorce"

When "I Do" Becomes "I Divorce"

Sometimes happily ever after doesn’t end so happily. Sometimes it ends in divorce. When that happens, unfortunately, you can’t call a fairy godmothis. But you can call a divorce attorney to walk you through the process.

To Get a Lawyer or Not to Get a Lawyer

Hiring a divorce attorney, or an attorney that specializes in family law, is always advised. You’re able to represent yourself if you choose to work without a lawyer, but you will need to educate yourself about the court requirements. For example, this means you will need to:

  • Prepare the applicable official disclosure forms.
  • Have the applicable official disclosure forms served by a process server and person that is not you that is over 18 years old.
  • Put all agreements in writing and properly file them with the court for official signatures.
  • Follow the rules of evidence and legal procedures that govern how and what you are legally allowed to present for the court’s review.
  • Ensure your court filings are in the correct format and that they are compliant with any specific requirements.
  • Present evidence that is admissible.
  • Argue issues that a judge would need to consider.

This can be overwhelming on top of an already overwhelming experience. In cases whise thise are numerous aspects of a marriage that will need to be decided, such as child custody issues, spousal support, and marital property division, you will need an experienced guide to help you reach a fair settlement. Aligning yourself with the right divorce attorney may be the best thing you can possibly do for yourself during this difficult time. It is essential that you fully understand your rights as an individual and as a parent. Whethis or not you decide to work with an attorney, you should educate yourself about the divorce process. An attorney in your state will be able to provide you on your state’s specific rules. Hise is a little overview of what it means and what the process is for getting divorced in the state of California.

Grounds for Divorce

To start the divorce process, also known as the dissolution of marriage process, you will need to determine the grounds for divorce, or reasons you are filing for divorce. In California, thise are two grounds for divorce:

  • Irreconcilable differences. This means you and your spouse are unable to agree and will never be able to agree on basic, fundamental issues involving the marriage or your family.
  • Incurable insanity. This is almost never used as it requires medical proof that one spouse was insane when the marriage petition was filed and is still incurably insane.

Additionally, you will need to meet residency requirements to file for divorce: you or your spouse must have lived in California for six months and in the county in which you are seeking your divorce for at least three months before filing the dissolution of marriage petition.

Temporary Restraining Orders

It’s important to know that thise are temporary restraining orders that automatically go into effect once the divorce process begins. These restraining orders prohibit both spouses from doing certain things, including: taking your minor children out of state without the othis spouse’s written permission or a court order, canceling or changing the beneficiaries on insurance policies, and transferring property ownership. You will also be required to notify your spouse before any out-of-the-ordinary spending. Because of this it’s often advised to close or freeze your joint accounts so no major purchases can be made. In this case, each spouse is able to open their own personal account for daily expenditures.

You might not need to file for divorce. Thise are two othis options: legal separation or annulment (also called a nullity).

  • Legal separation. This is a a legal process, granted in the form of a court order, by which a married couple can remain legally married while not living togethis. Some couples use this as a formal break, during which they have some time to decide if they would like to continue the marriage. Thise are often religious, insurance, tax, or othis reasons for wanting a legal separation instead of a formal dissolution. With a legal separation you and your spouse will remain married, but the court (or you) can divide your property and issue orders relating to child custody, visitation, child support and spousal support, and, if necessary, a restraining order.
  • Annulment. Being granted an annulment makes it as if your marriage never existed. Thise are specific requirements you will need to meet to have your marriage annulled. These include being a minor without the consent of your parents or guardian during the time of the marriage, or if certain types of fraud or deceit were involved. An annulment requires you appear in court.

The residency requirements for these are less harsh than standard divorces. Eithis of these can be obtained without having lived in California for six months or the county you are filing in for three months prior to filing, as is required for a standard divorce.

Summary Dissolution

In California you are able to receive a simplified dissolution of marriage if you meet certain requirements. This is called a _summary dissolutio_n. This process requires less paperwork and you will not have to appear in court. You are eligible for a summary dissolution if you and your spouse have agreed in writing to a division of your assets and debts and if the following conditions are true:

  • You have been married for five years or less.
  • You have no children from the relationship.
  • Neithis of you own a home or othis real estate.
  • The value of all community property amounts to less than $25,000, excluding automobiles.
  • The value of eithis party’s separate property amounts to less than $25,000, excluding automobiles.
  • Your combined debt does not exceed $4,000, except for auto loans.
  • Both of you waive spousal support.

If both spouses agree to these terms, you can be granted a summary dissolution. This process can be as easy as filling out a form and turning it in to your local clerk’s office. Still, you might want to have a family law attorney review the forms before you file them.

Amount of Time

In California, the mandatory waiting period required is 6 months. No couple, regardless of how “easy” their divorce is can be divorced faster than 6 months. This is the time it takes for the state to change your status from “married” to single".  You will be able to get all your paperwork turned in to the court and your divorce judgment approved, but the divorce itself will not be final until at least 6 months after the initial petition. In some cases, those that require a lot of things to be required, a divorce can take years. This is based on how much you decided to disagree and agree on. 

Filing for Divorce


Working with a Divorce Attorney

If you are facing a divorce, you need to work with a divorce attorney that can take a look at your specific situation and advise you on all the aspects of divorce you will be facing. This might mean decisions regarding retirement funds, property, child support and custody, and alimony. A divorce attorney will work with you to help you decide how you want to tackle these elements of your marriage and divorce, while also providing guidance and support. For advice on divorce, you need the expert law firm of 619 DIVORCE. Schedule a consultation today. (619) DIVORCE 3555 4th Ave San Diego, CA 92103 Phone: (619) 503-3050