What Every Couple Needs to Know Before Getting Divorced in California

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

Couples must meet specific requirements to go through the divorce process in California. Each state has slightly different requirements, which is why it is important to know the rules and regulations in your state before you seriously consider getting a divorce. A few of the most important rules to know are outlined below:

California Allows No-fault Divorce

Like most states, California permits no-fault divorce. This means that neither spouse has to technically do something wrong for the divorce to be granted. Instead, the test of whether the court should grant a divorce is based on whether the couple has “irreconcilable differences.” This concept is extremely broad and subjective, leading the court to grant a divorce in essentially any situation where even one spouse requests it.

You Must Have Lived in California for at Least Six Months

To get a divorce in California, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months. You must have also lived in the county where you are filing for divorce for at least three months.

You Must Follow Specific Rules during the Divorce Process

Certain rules automatically go into effect while you are waiting on the final divorce decree. For example, you cannot take your minor children out of the state without a court order or your spouse’s written permission. You often are also not allowed to change ownership or beneficiaries related to particular property as well. There are also restrictions on out-of-the-ordinary spending to prevent the depletion of assets.

Some Couples Qualify for Summary Dissolution

Certain couples who have been married for five years or less may be eligible for a faster, simplified process for getting a divorce. There should be no children from their relationship, and there are limits on the amount of assets or types of property that the couple holds.

California Is a Community Property State

All of the property or assets that you and your spouse acquired during the marriage are considered community property. This means that you and your spouse hold this property jointly, even if one person purchases the asset on their own. What is considered community property and separate property will have a significant impact on how assets are divided in the divorce.

Spousal Support Is Permitted in California

Spousal support is another term for alimony in California. It is used to help support the other spouse after filing a divorce petition. This type of support is awarded based on the standard of living during the marriage and other factors. If the marriage lasted less than ten years, most judges would not award spousal support.

If You and Your Spouse Cannot Decide on Custody, the Court Will Decide for You

In most situations, it is in your best interest to work out custody arrangements and visitation with your spouse. However, if you are unable to reach an agreement, the court can make this decision for you. Several types of child custody are available in California.

Getting Legal Help with the Divorce Process

It is a good idea to have a family law attorney on your side during the divorce process so you can fully understand your rights and obligations. Call the Carroll Law Office at 707-536-1156 for more information.

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