Answers from a Roseville Divorce Lawyer
The Law Offices of Evan Samuelson understands that going through a
divorce is one of the most confusing and overwhelming time periods. You are no
doubt plagued with fears, doubts, and questions. For your benefit, I have
put together a list of common questions concerning divorce and the appropriate
answers. Keep in mind, however, that your circumstances are unique and
in order to receive the most relevant and helpful answers, I recommend you
contact me today for a consultation! With
over 20 years of legal experience as a Roseville divorce attorney, I have the knowledge and legal expertise
you can rely upon.
What are the grounds for divorce in California?
California is a no-fault state which means you can cite "irreconcilable
differences" as the basis for your divorce. In other words, if either
party believes that a marriage has broken down, they can pursue a divorce.
Are there any residency requirements in order to obtain a divorce in California?
Yes. At least one of the parties to the dissolution action must have been
a resident in California for at least six months prior to the filing of
the action and a resident of the county, in which you file the divorce
petition, at least three months prior to the action being filed.
What does the divorce process entail?
The first step you must take is to file and serve the divorce paperwork.
Then the six month waiting period will commence. During this time, you
will have to make important decisions about whether you need temporary
financial support, whether you should sell your home, whether you need
an order to determine the
custody of your children, etc.
If you are the one who has been served the paperwork and you do not wish
to divorce your spouse, you have 30 days to file a response with the court.
If you choose to not file a response, the court will decide the outcome
of the case based only on the person's view who served the divorce
paperwork. If you file a response, you and your spouse will both be able
to conduct "discovery" which is when both parties ask the person
questions about his/her income, assets and debts,
property, etc. After the discovery process is over, the divorce case is ready for
trial. At the divorce trial, each side will have a chance to speak with
the judge and present evidence. The judge will make a decision based on
the evidence presented.
What does the divorce timeline look like?
A typical divorce process goes as follows:
- One spouse files a divorce petition and serves it on the other spouse
- The receiving spouse has 30 days to respond to the petition
- One of the spouses can request temporary court orders (concerning child
custody, support, and restraining orders)
- The spouses engage in discovery
- The spouses and their attorneys will discuss settlement of the case
- If the case is resolved by agreement, a Marital Settlement Agreement will
- If the parties cannot agree on all issues, a trial takes place
- After the Marital Settlement Agreement has been signed or the trial has
concluded, one of the attorneys prepares a Judgment of Dissolution of
Marriage (the document that contains all court orders)
- This judgment is filed and a Notice of Entry of Judgment is mailed to each attorney
How long does the divorce process take?
Usually about six months after the time your spouse has been served his/her
divorce papers. This is the minimum "waiting period" in the
state of California. This waiting period is so that you and your spouse
don't change your mind about getting a divorce.
Typically, if you have been married for less than five years, have no children,
don't own real estate and have few property debts, you can qualify
for a summary dissolution. This is a simpler process in which you do not
have to appear before a judge. You must simply agree with your spouse
about how you will divide your property and the debts and follow the necessary
forms with the court. You will still have to wait six months, however,
before the divorce is finalized.
In other cases (such as a high-net divorce), the divorce process can be
extremely dragged out, but hiring an experienced divorce attorney can
help make this process as simple and speedy as possible!
How are custody and visitation determined?
child custody on "the best interests of the children." Usually, California
courts prefer joint custody, as this allows the child to maintain a deep
relationship with both of his/her parents.
Mediation is often used when a couple cannot come to an agreement on custody and
visitation issues; if no agreement can be reached the court can step in and decide
what is in the best interests of the children.
Will I get spousal support?
Spousal support is determined based upon the earnings of both parties, the contributions
both parties made in the marriage, the supporting party's assets and
ability to pay support, the assets and separate property of each party,
how long the marriage lasted, the ability of both parties to obtain employment,
the education and work experience of both parties, the age of both parties,
the standard of living maintained during the marriage and the hardships
of both parties. If you are awarded spousal support, this is usually temporary
as the court always desires that the supported party become self-sustaining,
within a reasonable period of time.
How will our property be divided?
California is a
community property state which means that all assets and liabilities acquired in marriage
are split evenly between both parties. If separate property is involved,
the court usually steps in. In cases like these, it is helpful to have
a divorce attorney on your side so that your arguments are voiced and
your best interests are properly represented.
How is child support determined?
Child support is based upon the income and expenses of both parties and the amount of
time which the children spend with each parent. The state of California
has enacted child support guidelines which govern the correct amount of
child support due.
What is a legal separation?
Legal separation does not terminate a marriage and thus
legal separations are usually viable options for individuals who wish to live apart but
want to legally determine property issues, money issues, and parenting
decisions together. There is no waiting period for a legal separation
and you do not have to be a legal resident of California. While all property
is divided, child and spousal support are ordered, custody/visitation
is resolved, and a divorce judgment is entered at the end, the couple
is not divorced in the end. Unlike in a
divorce, you cannot legally separate unless both parties agree to it. A legal
separation can be a good option if you need time and space to think through
the implications of divorce before taking the plunge. At a later time,
the separated parties can elect to file an amended petition for the dissolution
of their marriage.
What are the pros and cons of mediation?
Mediation can be much more effective as you will get the chance to fully
discuss issues, learn to communicate better, and take time in between
each appointment to think about the proposed solutions.
Mediation is usually faster as well and allows you and your spouse to discuss your
goals and the future in more in-depth manner. In mediation, your attorney
can advise you, clarify legal issues and help draw up agreements, but
mediation allows you and your spouse to have more control and input.
Should I hire a divorce attorney?
It is always advised that you secure legal assistance before navigating
through the murky waters of a divorce. Issues such as property settlements,
spousal support, and child custody can be complex, difficult and usually,
emotionally charged subjects that you will have to determine before obtaining
Why hire a divorce attorney? A family law attorney can provide the following services for you:
- A lawyer can divide your property and put a property settlement agreement
- A lawyer can explain to you your rights and duties as a parent
- A lawyer can assist you, should any unforeseen problem arise
- A lawyer can advise you on how much money (if any!) you should be paying
for spousal or child support
To find out more information on why it is advisable to hire a divorce attorney
and to receive further information on the divorce process and what you
contact the Law Offices of Evan Samuelson today for the trusted answers you can rely upon!