Getting a divorce is mentally and emotionally damaging, whether you are the one who initiated the process, or the breakup was forced upon you. Ideally, you and your partner can work together to resolve every issue as smoothly as possible. However, that is not always an option. Not only must you deal with complex emotions, but you will also have to navigate the legal system.
If you are currently looking for legal help regarding divorce in Upland and its surroundings, consult the Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires. You can get good legal counsel and compassionate representation from an expert Upland divorce attorney.
Dissolution of Marriage in California
California is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that you are not permitted by law to assert that your spouse’s misbehavior was the official basis (or “ground”) for your divorce. The court does not recognize a guilty or non-guilty party. Therefore, you do not need to provide any specific reasons to start the procedure beyond stating that you have found yourself in a state of “irreconcilable differences.”
California’s Residency Requirements for Divorce
There are two residency requirements you need to meet when starting the divorce procedure. You and/or your spouse must have been living at least:
- Six months in the state of California when you file the paperwork.
- Three months in the county where the divorce petition is filed.
Is Your Divorce Contested or Uncontested?
If you and your partner qualify for an uncontested divorce in California, the process can be much easier, faster, and less expensive than a contested divorce. To succeed with an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse will need to come to an agreement on a marital settlement. This will resolve all outstanding legal issues concerning the dissolution of your union, including:
- How you will split your debts and assets.
- Whether one spouse will be required to pay alimony, and if so, how much and for how long.
- Child custody and child support if you have minor children.
A contested divorce is, by definition, confrontational. A contested divorce will require the involvement of the court to settle issues such as child support and custody, spousal support, and the division of marital assets. You will need the help of an experienced family law attorney to receive the outcome you desire.
If you want an uncontested divorce but are struggling to resolve conflicts with your spouse regarding any of your issues, divorce mediation may be able to assist you in finding answers that are agreeable to both of you. Any agreements you make during the process are usually reflected in a written document that the mediator will prepare. Additionally, some mediation services could even assist with the divorce application procedure.
California’s court system uses a uniform set of divorce forms. If you are the “petitioner” (i.e., the party that files the original divorce papers), the forms to start a divorce must be filled out and submitted. They can include the following:
- Petition—Marriage (Family Law Form FL-100)
- Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (FL-105/GC-120) if you and your spouse have minor children.
- Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment (FL-311) if you want to settle the details concerning parenting schedules, etc.
- Summons (FL-110)
Mandatory Financial Disclosures
In California, divorcing partners are required to disclose all their financial details to one another. You must be able to provide certain documents and details to your spouse within 60 days of filing the divorce petition or the response to it:
- Declaration of Disclosure (Family Law Form FL-140)
- Schedule of Assets and Debts (FL-142) or Property Declaration (FL-160).
- Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150)
After you have had the forms served on your spouse, file the Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure (FL-141) with the court.
Q: What Are the Two Grounds for Divorce in California?
A: In California, you may request a divorce or legal separation based on one of the following grounds:
- Irreconcilable differences: Disagreements or other differences have led to the permanent breakdown of the marriage.
- Permanent legal incapacity to make decisions: The other spouse is unable to make decisions. This needed to be the case at the time the petition was filed and currently. On this ground, there needs to be proof in the form of competent medical or psychiatric testimony.
Q: How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get a Divorce in California?
A: You do not need to wait any amount of time to start the divorce process. Nevertheless, California has a mandatory six-month waiting period before the state will grant your divorce decree and end your case, regardless of how quickly you move out and how prepared you are to submit your file.
Most couples spend those six months separated. In this case, you can simultaneously file for divorce and legal separation in court. You will still be legally married, but you will get to live separately and divide your financial assets.
Q: How Long Do You Have to Be Separated in California Before You Divorce?
A: No minimum amount of time must pass before filing for divorce in California. You and your spouse are not required to live apart before filing for divorce, and you may still live under the same roof once the procedure is over. The state has a mandatory six-month waiting period between filing for divorce and the soonest it can be granted.
Q: What Can Be Used Against You in a Divorce in California?
A: Judges in California will never consider certain behavior, such as infidelity, which took place before the divorce was filed when rendering a decision. Financial repercussions for misbehavior that is related to the divorce itself do occur occasionally. It is best to have an experienced family law attorney advise you on ways to avoid having to pay certain financial damages.
The Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires: Your Upland Divorce Attorney
To maintain the best defense throughout your divorce procedure, you need the help of a diligent, knowledgeable, and experienced Upland divorce attorney. To arrange a consultation and learn more about the details of your case, contact the Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires today.