7 False Statements About California Divorces

Serving Clients Throughout Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Napa Counties

Getting divorced is a stressful and all-around difficult process. It often leaves at least one spouse worried that they will lose everything when all is said and done. This belief is due in large part to the many myths and sensationalist tabloid headlines that we regularly encounter about people in the public eye.

Fortunately, many of these myths and stories are just that: myths and stories. Divorcing couples generally have many different paths and options that they can take throughout the course of their divorce and often are able to come to a much fairer agreement than they had previously thought possible. Today we’re here to dispel some of these myths that so many people believe about divorce, like:

  • “Your divorce will be finalized after 6 months.”

In California, the earliest that a divorce can be finalized is 6 months after the petition for divorce was filed. But, this doesn’t mean that your divorce will definitely be finalized in 6 months. In reality, your divorce can only be finalized after all state procedures and requirements are met or complied with. Divorces can carry on and on if the parties struggle to meet an agreement or fail to complete all of the formalities required by the courts.

  • “Cheaters lose all of their rights.”

This is also not true. California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that divorcing couples don’t need to provide a reason to the court for why they are divorcing. Courts don’t take cheating into account in divorce proceedings unless the parent is also unfit (e.g. they’re an alcoholic or abuse drugs).

  • “Couples that have lived together for 6 years are in a common law marriage.”

In California, this simply cannot be true because California does not recognize common law marriages. The only way this could be true for couples in the state is if the couple was already in a common law marriage in a state that recognized them and then subsequently moved to California.

  • “We share 50/50 custody of the kids so I don’t have to pay child support.”

This is also usually untrue as child support varies greatly from case to case. Child support is calculated by using the parent’s before tax income against the time spent with the child.

  • “I can be denied my child visitation rights if I fall behind on child support payments.”

Another myth bites the dust. The California courts consider child support and custody as two separate issues, meaning that one parent cannot legally deny the other parent their visitation rights.

  • “Money that I earned during the marriage is mine.”

California is a community property state. This means that anything earned during the marriage is considered community property and will be divided up equitably between the spouses. Only money that you earned before your marriage would remain separate property.

  • “My soon-to-be ex-spouse is now going to get part of that large inheritance I just received.”

Again, not necessarily true. Although California is a community property state, inheritance money is only a factor in divorce in terms of calculating child support payments. This is because inheritances are considered separate property, meaning that whichever spouse inherited is very likely to keep it all.

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Divorce is complicated and often difficult to handle on your own. As you can see, there are many myths that surround divorce and this list is by no means exhaustive. For these and many other reasons, it’s very important that you speak with an experienced family law attorney who can help guide you through the process and explain away all of the myths you might have heard. At the Carroll Law Office, we regularly help our California clients with all of their family law and divorce needs. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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