The most common way to end a marriage in California is through divorce. Divorce is emotionally and financially trying, but it also delineates boundaries and legal rights that allow people to end their union and continue with their lives separately. California is a “no fault” divorce state, which means that there is no need to prove that anyone did something wrong, such as have an affair or commit abuse. Either spouse can unilaterally decide to end the marriage. It does not matter which party files first. The court does not give any preference to the party who files for divorce.
The decision to divorce is a challenging one to make with many facets to consider. It can create a profound amount of stress and may lead to many subsequent changes such as relocating from the family home, financial adjustments and developing a different schedule with children. You are not legally required to retain an attorney in a divorce and may represent yourself. In our experience, trying to navigate the legal maze on your own will compound the stress of the divorce andhinder an effective and optimal result.
If you are considering a divorce, the help of a family law attorney is invaluable. Prior to consulting with an attorney or filing divorce papers, start gathering information of your assets, your debts and how to fund two separate households if necessary. If you have children, considering custody schedules is also helpful. Taking these simple steps before you meet with an attorney can help save you time and money, and help your attorney better meet your goals.
Once a party files divorce papers and serves them on the other person, the other person has thirty days to respond. If they fail to respond, then the moving party (called the Petitioner) can request a default judgment to be entered by the courts. California requires a six-month waiting period before the parties can be legally divorced. If the responding party (called the Respondent) responds, then the parties will move forward with exchanging financial disclosures and engage in discovery as necessary. The parties can then try to agree on child custody matters, spousal support, property division and debt division without the courts. If the parties are unable to agree, a trial will be held and the court will determine these matters for the parties.
Divorce can be a traumatic experience, even in the most amicable of cases. Not all family lawyers are created equal, and finding the right match for you can make a world of difference in your dissolution. Our objective at Davies Wegner Law is to always provide you with support and to zealously represent your rights and the best interests of the children when involved. We aim to diligently help make this transition as smooth as possible and resolve your legal problems and concerns which are restricting you from living a happy and healthy life.
Each situation is unique and so is each person. We offer a free initial consultation to listen and understand where you are coming from, discover what your goals are, inform you of your rights, and to help you plan the best path for you moving forward. We can also tell you more about alternatives to divorce litigation, such as mediation, summary dissolution, legal separation or annulment. If you would like our free report on intelligent alternative to traditional divorce litigation, click here. To set up an appointment with us, call our office at 310-481-0300.