Divorce in the state of California can be an overwhelming, complicated and an often times consuming process. It’s best to have an understanding of the law and process before deciding to go through a divorce. This page offers up some basic information about the family law process & procedure involved in getting a divorce here in California.
The decision to divorce will set in motion a legal proceeding by a court or other governing body to dissolve the marriage and return each person to the legal status single.
- California is a no fault divorce state, the reason for the divorce is complete irrelevant. Additionally, California is a no contest state meaning if one party wants a divorce the court will grant a divorce.
- The process will take at minimum six months to complete as the court requires a six month cooling off period.
A divorce can go one of two ways: mediation or litigation
- Mediation is a great option for couples that are able to sit down and agree to something that works for both parties.
- Litigation is needed when an agreement can’t be reached – this option is usually more time consuming and costly than a mediated divorce.
Many divorce issues can be complex and difficult to work through while dealing with a variety of emotions. Our Divorce Mediation services will help you get through this rough time, we can resolve issues ranging from:
- Divisions or buy-outs of interests in family businesses either when the business was opened before marriage or during marriage
- Complex valuation issues of the marital estate
- Issues relating to retirement benefits, stocks and bonds, social security, and health insurance
- Securing spousal support in a long term marriage where one spouse stayed at home
- Obtaining custody orders allowing both parents equal access to the children
- Division of military retirement benefits and survivor benefits
- Allocating debt between both parties or dissolving through a bankruptcy
- Calculating income available for support when one spouse is self employed
- Division of the marital residence
Even in the simplest of circumstances, divorce is an emotional event and it can take a huge toll on all involved parties. Our family law attorneys understand how important yet difficult this process can be, we’ll work to support you and protect your best interests through a collaborative approach. We’ll sort out these complex legal issues so you can focus on what really matters.
San Diego Specific Resources:
Did You Know
- To file for divorce, one spouse must have lived in California for the last six months, and the county where the action is filed for the last three months. Spouses who have lived in California for at least six months, but in different counties for at least three months can file in either county.
- Joint or sole custody may be awarded based on the best interests of the child and other factors that include 1) the preference of the child, 2) the desire and ability of each parent to allow an open and loving relationship between the child and the other parent, 3) the child’s health, safety and welfare, the nature and contact with both parents and 4) the history of alcohol and drug use. Marital misconduct may be considered.
- The national divorce rate is about 50 percent. In California, it’s 60 percent.
These Are The Top 5 Questions Asked About Divorce?
- What is the difference between divorce and mediation, does that mean I have to go to court if I file for dissolution?
- Mediation is a process where two people meet with a neutral to assist them in drafting up a settlement agreement. I only recommend mediation in an uncontested dissolution where the parties agree on everything. A neutral is not going to tell you what you are legally entitled to as they are not your attorney. If you do not agree on everything mediation might not be the best route. Just because you file for divorce does not mean you have to go to court, you can still reach a full agreement on all issues and never step foot in a courtroom.
- How long is this going to take
- On average 8-12 months to finalize a divorce. However, some cases are pending for years! The more contested the issues the longer the case will take.
- How much is this going to cost me?
- There is no way to say exactly how much a divorce will cost but there are things you can do to minimize the costs. Responding to your attorney and gathering all the documents requested of you in a timely manner will assist and keep costs down. Also, having a general idea of what you want out of your divorce will help as well.
- What if I change my mind during my divorce?
- I have had clients who decide to reconcile after the process has already started, that is your right. We can always dismiss a case prior to judgment being entered. You would not be able to recoup your fees and costs paid, however.
- What is spousal support and is it mandatory?
- Spousal support is not mandatory, it is ordered on a case by case basis. Spousal support is a monthly payment to your former spouse that is designed to maintain the status of living. When couples split they go from a dual income household with one set of bills to each paying their own way. One party may not make enough to cover their expenses, that is what spousal support is for. It is not ordered in every case but if there is a disparity in income spousal support is likely.