Divorce Attorney

Feeling lost in the legal minutiae of your divorce proceedings? As an experienced divorce attorney in California, I can help you through this difficult and uncertain period in your life. Reach out today to schedule a consultation with a compassionate family law attorney.

Deciding to go forward with a divorce is never easy. Ending a marriage is always a sensitive and emotional time for everyone, including the children. With so much at stake—including your financial security and the future of your children—it is vital to have an experienced divorce lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process from start to finish.

At the Law Office of Cherish Om, I strive to provide personalized representation to people who go through something as painful and stressful as divorce. I understand the emotional burden that divorce places on the entire family, which is why I offer an empathetic and supportive service to every client I represent.

This article will explain everything you need to know about the role of a divorce attorney in California, including types of a divorces, how to file for divorce, differences between divorce, separation, and annulment, and more.

With years of experience in divorce law, our family lawyers have the resources and expertise you need to find an equitable solution. Call our law office at (831) 291-5315 to schedule a consultation and get the answers you deserve.

Grounds for Divorce

The State of California follows the no-fault divorce system and recognizes only two grounds for divorce under California Family Code § 2310:

  1. Irreconcilable differences (the spouses cannot get along to keep the marriage); and
  2. Permanent legal incapacity to make decisions (this can be as a result of mental illness, traumatic injury, or psychological disorder).

Unlike states that follow the fault-based system, California does not require any spouse to show wrongdoing by the other party. While there is no requirement to demonstrate proof of fault, allegations of fault may still be relevant in certain aspects of the divorce, including spousal support and child custody.

Types of Divorce

There is more than one way to end a marriage in the State of California. The Golden State recognizes three main ways to end a marriage:

  1. Uncontested divorce. As the name implies, a divorce is “uncontested” when both spouses agree on all aspects of their divorce, including property division, spousal support, visitation rights, child custody, child support, and others.
  2. Contested divorce. In a contested divorce, spouses cannot agree on the terms of their divorce and turn to the court to determine the final outcome for them. Spouses may also try alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as mediation to resolve disputed matters.
  3. Simplified divorce. Also known as summary dissolution, a simplified divorce is an easier, more straightforward way to end a marriage. According to the official website of the Judicial Branch of California, a couple must meet several conditions to qualify for a summary dissolution, including having no children, being married for no longer than five years, having less than $7,000 in shared debt and less than $53,000 worth of community and separate property, among others.

As you can see, couples may not always have a choice as to which type of divorce to pursue. For example, spouses who share children and have been married for more than five years but cannot agree on major issues of divorce will have no choice but to pursue a contested divorce.

Filing for Divorce

Before you file a divorce petition, you must ensure that you meet California’s residence requirements. California Family Code § 2320(a) mandates that at least one spouse must have resided in the State of California for no less than six months and at least three months in the county in which the proceeding is initiated before filing for divorce.

If you meet the state’s residence requirements, you can proceed with filing the paperwork, including:

  • The petition for divorce (Form FL-100) requires you to provide basic information about the marriage and which, if any, orders you want the court to issue; and
  • The summons (Form FL-110) informs the other spouse that the divorce proceeding has been initiated and that they have 30 days to submit their response.

In legal terminology, the spouse initiating the divorce is called the “Petitioner,” while the spouse who receives divorce papers is the “Respondent.”

How the Divorce Process Works

Getting a divorce can be a complex and emotionally draining process. In addition to the stress of ending a marriage, divorcing couples must navigate the complexities of the legal process, which includes the following steps:

  1. Meet the state’s residence requirements.
  2. File a petition for divorce and summons.
  3. Serve the summons on the Respondent.
  4. The Respondent must respond to the petition within 30 days.
  5. The parties negotiate a settlement.
  6. If the settlement is reached, the parties prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement.
  7. The parties submit all forms to the court and wait for the court’s approval.
  8. The divorce is finalized (a) on the date the court approves the forms or (b) six months and one day after the Respondent is served, whichever occurs later.

The divorce process may involve additional steps if the parties cannot negotiate a settlement on their own and need the court’s involvement to decide on disputed issues and end their marriage. Either way, no divorce can be finalized until at least six months and one day have passed since the date the Respondent has been served with the summons under California Family Code § 2339.

Difference Between Divorce, Legal Separation, and Annulment

Those who want to terminate their marital relationship in California have three options to choose from:

  1. Divorce, also called the dissolution of marriage, is a legal action that officially dissolves the marriage. In the eyes of the law, the marriage ends when the parties get a divorce.
  2. Legal separation allows a couple to retain the status of being legally married while living apart and having a court order that determines matters such as the division of marital assets and finances, visitation rights, child custody, child support, and spousal support.
  3. Annulment means that the court declares the marriage to be null and void. In other words, if you get an annulment, it means that the union was never legally valid from its inception.

If you cannot decide between these three ways to end your marital relationship, you might want to consult with a divorce attorney. At the Law Office of Cherish Om, I can explain the differences as well as the advantages and disadvantages of terminating your marital relationship through a divorce, legal separation, and annulment.

Divorce Attorney FAQs

When going through a divorce, it is understandable that you may have questions about the proceedings, your rights, and other aspects of ending your marriage. The FAQ section below may answer some of your questions, but if you need further guidance, reach out to the Law Office of Cherish Om and schedule a personalized consultation so I can provide you with more detailed answers and specific information related to your case.

  • How do I file for divorce?

In California, you must file a petition (Form FL-100) and a summons (Form FL-110) to initiate the divorce proceedings. However, before you file for divorce, make sure you meet the state’s divorce residence requirements as discussed in the “Filing for Divorce” section above.

  • How long does the divorce process take?

Getting a divorce is a notoriously long and paperwork-heavy process. Even if you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse agree on every aspect of the divorce, your divorce cannot be finalized until at least six months (and one day) after the Respondent is served with divorce papers. The length of the divorce process varies from one case to another and depends on multiple factors, including the complexity of the divorce, the spouses’ willingness to compromise, and others.

  • How much does divorce cost?

The cost of divorce can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the way parties choose to go about their divorce proceedings, the number of contested issues, the level of conflict between the spouses, and others.

  • What is the difference between legal separation and divorce?

A divorce legally dissolves the marriage, while a legal separation means that the couple remains married but the court makes orders regarding property division, spousal support, child custody, and other matters.

  • What is the difference between annulment and divorce?

An annulment declares that the couple’s marriage was never valid, while a divorce legally dissolves a valid marriage.

  • Will I have to pay alimony/spousal support?

Whether or not either spouse will be ordered to pay spousal support, also known as alimony, depends on whether one spouse is financially disadvantaged and other factors like the length of the marriage, the age and health of the spouses, and their income levels, among others.

  • What are the grounds for divorce?

California is a no-fault divorce state where neither spouse must prove that the other spouse did something wrong to justify the dissolution of the marriage. Most divorces in the state are dissolved based on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences.”

The Law Office of Cherish Om: Trusted Divorce Attorney in Watsonville, California

A client’s decision to end a marriage is not something I take lightly. As a divorce attorney at the Law Office of Cherish Om, I strive to get to know each client personally to learn more about their situation so that I can cater my legal services to their individual circumstances.

As a result, I have earned a reputation throughout the State of California as a caring, compassionate, and accomplished divorce attorney who provides top-tier legal advice to clients on a wide range of legal issues.

When you’re ready to discuss the details of your divorce case, choose an attorney-client relationship you can count on: Call our law firm at (831) 291-5315 to schedule an initial consultation with the trusted attorney today.

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