California Divorce Frequently Asked Questions
Getting divorced is complicated and leads to numerous questions. Scheduling a consultation with an experienced family lawyer is the best way to get the answers you need, but in the meantime, here are some of the California divorce frequently asked questions that we hear on a regular basis:
Can I get a divorce in California if my spouse doesn’t want to?
Yes, California law allows for a divorce as long as one party wants to end the marriage. There is still a legal process that must be followed, however. One spouse must petition the court for divorce and serve notice to the other. Six months after divorce papers have been filed and served, a judge can then rule to dissolve the marriage.
How long does the divorce process take?
Divorce in California takes a minimum of seven months because you will need at least one month to compile the necessary paperwork and agree to terms. The courts then require you to wait six months before the divorce becomes final. Any disagreements, especially regarding child custody and property division, can extend this timeframe substantially.
How do I make it more likely that I’ll get custody of my kids after the divorce?
The judge is required to make a custody ruling in the best interests of the children. Demonstrating your involvement in their life and the stability you offer is helpful, as is staying in the family home and living in their school district. Preserving the bond the child has with both parents and keeping their routine as consistent as possible is something that most judges value.
Will I be able to keep property I owned before getting married?
Typically, yes. In California, property you owned prior to getting married is considered separate and should revert to you in a divorce. However, this can get complicated if you and your spouse were living in or on the property during the marriage.
What do I do if my spouse is hiding assets?
Hiring a family law attorney is your best option. An attorney can complete discovery by submitting interrogatories to be completed by your spouse or by conducting depositions. In a deposition, your spouse will be asked questions under oath where lying would be a crime. A financial forensic audit might also be necessary.
How do I get child support?
Before child support can be calculated, custody will first need to be determined and both of your incomes proven. After the judge determines how much time the children will spend with each of you, a determination of child support to be paid to the custodial parent will also be made.
Why should I get a legal separation if my spouse and I just want a break?
While still married and not separated, any contract or debt taken on by your spouse will also be your responsibility. Additionally, the extra time spent married could negatively affect the division of certain assets.
How do I hire a family law attorney?
When hiring a family lawyer, you want someone who will be invested in you—not someone who treats you like a case number. You also want to make certain that your attorney has experience and knows how to get the results you need. Your consultation can give you a good measure of both of these criteria if you ask the right questions.
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney
If you would like to receive additional information, please contact us to arrange a case evaluation by using the form below or by calling 909-466-7661. The Law Office of Laurence J. Brock is here to help you through your divorce and any other family law issue you might have.