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What is the difference between a “legal separation” and a “divorce”?

Posted by on Jul 16, 2017 in Frequently Asked Questions | 0 comments

What is the difference between a “legal separation” and a “divorce”?
What is the difference between a “legal separation” and a “divorce”?

The legal separation allows parties to retain the title of being married while continuing to benefit from insurance and other matters that require a spouse, but it allows both parties to severe the ties of community property, assets, and debts so that these issues can be resolved and parties can move forward independently while still retaining certain benefits.
Of course, one cannot remarry until the legal separation is amended to a complete divorce. A divorce, which is a type of dissolution of marriage, allows both parties to have a total and complete end to all rights and responsibilities of being married so there are no future issues to resolve, other than those relating to minor children and possibly spousal support issues in a long-term marriage.

Will I automatically be divorced in six months?

Posted by on Jul 6, 2017 in Frequently Asked Questions | 0 comments

Will I automatically be divorced in six months?
Will I automatically be divorced in six months?
A divorce is not automatically granted at any time, although the soonest that a divorce can occur is six months and a day from initial service of the summons and dissolution of marriage.
The court does not move the case along for the parties as it is up to them to move the court to accomplish resolution. Attorneys can be very helpful in getting things accomplished efficiently and correctly as the alternative for a self-representing party can be very time consuming, confusing, and frustrating.

Can I get a legal separation or an annulment instead of a divorce?

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017 in Frequently Asked Questions | 0 comments

Can I get a legal separation or an annulment instead of a divorce?
Can I get a legal separation or an annulment instead of a divorce?
Although a divorce, often referred to as a dissolution of marriage, is the most common filing, there are also the options of getting a legal separation or an annulment, which are also methods of dissolving a marriage.  Both parties must agree to a legal separation, which is primarily done to divide the assets and to cut off ongoing community property rights while retaining certain insurance options such as health care for a spouse whereas a divorce cuts off that option given that a spouse no longer exists.  An annulment must be proven in order to be granted so it requires a burden of proof on the party wanting this option, but it essentially treats the marriage as never existing which prevents the community property aspects from coming into play.  It is also done for religious reasons.

Are there rules that my spouse and I must follow during the divorce process?

Posted by on Jun 11, 2017 in Frequently Asked Questions | 0 comments

Are there rules that my spouse and I must follow during the divorce process?
Are there rules that my spouse and I must follow during the divorce process?
During the divorce process it is important for both spouses to be aware of the Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders which automatically go into effect once the divorce has been filed for the Petitioner and once those initial papers have been received for the Respondent. These restraints are designed to keep things in place such as insurance policies, assets, and related community as well as separate property. The court understands that there is a temptation for people to move things around for their own benefit and to want to reduce their expenses, especially if it is for the primary benefit of the other spouse.

What happens if we cannot agree on custody?

Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Frequently Asked Questions | 0 comments

What happens if we cannot agree on custody?
What happens if we cannot agree on custody?
Parties often disagree on custody of their children for obvious reasons, and this is actually the main reason why dissolution’s go to trial. It is extremely emotional for any parent to accept the idea that they cannot see their children every day as many have assumed until a separation occurs. This is why the courts actual mandate mediation for every custody dispute as it becomes critical for parents to understand the norms of their new roles and to minimize the acrimony for the sake of the children’s well-being. Apart from the desire for a parent to be with their children, there are also financial incentives to maximize one’s time with their children, which adds another layer of complication to an already difficult situation.

What is spousal support? Is it the same as alimony?

Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Frequently Asked Questions | 0 comments

What is spousal support? Is it the same as alimony?
What is spousal support? Is it the same as alimony?
Spousal Support, which also encompasses Partner Support, is essentially a replacement for the prior term “alimony”, and stands for the concept that both people in a marriage are assumed to contribute equally regardless of who earns income and deserve equal benefit from the standard of living that the marriage has enjoyed prior to a divorce.  Spousal support is a means by which disposable income is equalized between married persons so that both parties can have financial security upon separation from their spouse.  For public policy reasons this becomes important so that the taxpayers do not have to shoulder the burden of financial support for a spouse that does not earn income while the spouse that does earn income is not provided a windfall while the other spouse is left in a desperate financial situation and requires government assistance.

What is an uncontested divorce?

Posted by on Apr 17, 2017 in Frequently Asked Questions | 0 comments

What is an uncontested divorce?
What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce describes any resolution of a dissolution of marriage that does not involve a trial. Most divorces are uncontested and an effective attorney is one who can effectively negotiate and draft a fair settlement that allows both parties to move on with their lives and have closure.

Keep in mind, however, that one cannot make a settlement agreement with oneself; it takes two parties to make an agreement so some measure of reasonableness and candor in disclosing information is necessary from both parties in order to avoid contested litigation.

What is no-fault divorce?

Posted by on Apr 12, 2017 in Frequently Asked Questions | 0 comments

What is no-fault divorce?
What is no-fault divorce?

A no-fault divorce is a legal term which essentially informs the public that in California the Courts are not going to waste time and money determining who is to blame for the divorce as there is little to no legal consequence to the person who is to blame.  It should be noted, however, that while one’s actions in promoting the divorce are not relevant, one’s lifestyle can have an effect on the welfare of the minor children.

The court is always interested in advocating for the best interests of the children so when it comes to custody of the children it is fair game to consider the home environment of both parents when determining what is best for the children.

What are grounds for divorce in California?

Posted by on Mar 29, 2017 in Frequently Asked Questions | 0 comments

What are grounds for divorce in California?
What are grounds for divorce in California?

The grounds for a divorce in California are either irreconcilable differences or incurable insanity.  There is really no practical advantage to pleading incurable insanity as grounds for divorce because the insane spouse’ rights must still be fully protected and there is a burden on the moving party to prove if someone is legally insane.

This is why you almost always see the primary grounds of irreconcilable differences being used by the moving party as this pleading does not require any burden of proof which often just adds to the legal costs without any meaningful reward.

How long does it typically take to get a divorce?

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Frequently Asked Questions | 0 comments

How long does it typically take to get a divorce?
How long does it typically take to get a divorce?

The soonest that a married couple can be divorced is six months and a day after service of the Petition and Summons.  This is known as the cooling off period in case a couple decides to stay together in which case they would not have to remarry after just a few months of being divorced.

The practical reality is that it takes most people several months to provide all necessary information and to attempt to settle all of the required terms relating to a divorce, so by the time a Final Judgment is submitted to the court the six months and a day rule has typically already elapsed.