What are the Different Types of Divorce in California?

What are the Different Types of Divorce in California?

Are you filing for divorce and unsure of where to start? Or perhaps you are legally separated and interested in exploring your options. Deciding to end a marriage is never easy, especially when there are children involved. Many people don’t know that divorce isn’t a “one size fits all” process. 

Having a thorough understanding of the divorce options available in California can help you determine a choice that is ideal for your situation. Being prepared in the initial stages can ultimately save you time, and put you a step ahead of the game when you meet your divorce attorney. 

Here we’re going to explore five types of divorce in California so that you can make an informed decision when it’s time to call a family law attorney. 

Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested divorces are generally straightforward cases, in which both partners have reached a mutual agreement on all the vital aspects of the divorce. Both parties can negotiate and settle on critical financial matters, the division of property that they owned together, as well as child custody, and a host of other matters. Although both partners desire the dissolution of the marriage, only one can file a divorce petition.

This type of divorce is only an option for parties that can part amicably and cooperate well on a final agreement. 

One of the worst mistakes people make in uncontested divorces is not consulting with a divorce attorney ahead of time, due to the misperception of these cases’ “simple” and “easy” in nature. However, without legal representation, you can end up relinquishing rights to certain benefits that you didn’t know you were entitled to, such as alimony, a portion of your partner’s pension benefits, income from businesses, and real estate. 

In California, all divorces take a minimum of six months to finalize. However, uncontested divorces are still faster and less expensive, because they don’t require a lengthy court process. 

Contested Divorce 

Contested divorces are often very stressful, time-consuming, and can be costly to litigate.  In a contested divorce, one or both spouses can’t agree on important matters such as child support, alimony, and property division. In such cases, mediation may be able to help. In divorce mediation, both spouses and their attorney will meet with a neutral third party to help work out their issues. 

However, if the couple can’t agree on critical matters, the courts will have to intervene. Family law judges do their best to remain impartial and consider the interests of the parties involved. In reality, they don’t know your family personally, and can only make decisions based on what’s on paper. 

Simplified Divorce 

A simplified divorce is a relatively less messy way to dissolve a short-term marriage. To qualify for a simplified divorce, both partners must be residents of California for at least six months at the time of filing. In addition, couples must file a divorce jointly under the no-fault ground of irreconcilable differences. There are additional criteria a married couple must meet to obtain a simplified divorce:

  • Cannot be married for more than five years
  • Couples don’t own joint property or have more than $4,000 in joint debt, excluding car loans.
  • Community property may not exceed $25,000
  • Individual property may not exceed $25,000 

When you agree to a simplified divorce, both parties waive their right to spousal support. Both partners also have to sign a waiver agreeing to divide all the assets they own. 

No-Fault Divorce

California was the first state to permit no-fault divorces. In this type of divorce, the courts don’t consider the misconduct or the wrongdoings of either partner. Therefore, the spouse filing for divorce doesn’t have to prove fault or present evidence as grounds for the divorce. This approach is ideal if the couple wishes to dissolve their marriage due to “irreconcilable differences” or “irreparable breakdown” of the marriage. 

Limited Divorce

A limited divorce is similar to legal separation in that the couple remains married, but they no longer live together. This court-supervised separation temporarily establishes specific responsibilities regarding child support, spousal support, health insurance coverage, and property division. A limited divorce is the least common type of divorce proceeding. If a married couple needs more time to resolve their legal and financial issues, a limited divorce is an ideal option. 

Azemika & Azemika Law is on Your Side

Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotional time. If you are trying to settle outside of court, make sure both party’s attorneys are aware of that. However, if there are issues that the two of you can’t agree on, you may need to get the courts involved. 

The lawyers at Azemika & Azemika have a combined total of over 56 years handling family law cases. This expertise allows our dedicated team to customize each situation to fit our clients’ specific needs. As our client, we will keep you informed on the status of your case, allowing you to make informed decisions as your case progresses.

Let the team at Azemika & Azemika help set you on a path to a better post-divorce future.  Contact us today for a consultation.

Can Divorces Be Resolved Out of Court?

Even if you are ending a marriage amicably, negotiating the terms of a divorce agreement can be challenging. And if there is hostility between the couple, it can make the process even more complicated.

When you think of divorce, you may think of a husband and a wife sitting in court, battling back and forth in front of a judge. However, it is far more common for a couple to settle their divorce outside of court..

If you are in a situation where divorce is inevitable, or if you are in the middle of a divorce now, and settling out of court interests you, there are some important details you should be aware of. In this article, we will cover some of the ways in which you can avoid litigation, advantages of coming to a divorce agreement outside of the courtroom, and touch on what you can expect if your divorce goes to trial.

How to Avoid Litigation

When going through a divorce, couples often don’t realize that they don’t necessarily need the courts to resolve their request. There are options such as mediation, negotiating on your own, or settling out of court that allows couples to come up with a fair divorce settlement without the court’s intervention.  

An uncontested divorce is when you and your spouse agree on the terms of a divorce without the court’s involvement. This route, when possible, can save you and your spouse thousands compared to a trial.

Some of the items that are parts of a marital settlement agreement that a couple can negotiate without going to court are:

  • Division of property
  • Parenting plans
  • Child support
  • Spousal support

If you and your spouse can agree on the conditions of the divorce, the process is simple. First, you must draft a settlement explaining what you have decided. Next, the attorneys for each party should review the document and make revisions until both parties believe that it is fair. The settlement agreement is then submitted to the court to be validated.

There will then be a short, informal hearing held where the judge will review the settlement agreement to ensure that it is fair to both parties and negotiated in good faith. If the judge believes that issues need to be revised, the judge can send the settlement back to the couple for further negotiation.

Since the terms are uncontested, the court has to do nothing more than to accept the terms on which you have agreed. At this point, the settlement will then be formalized into a decree specifying each person’s responsibilities in the future. At that time, the divorce is final.

Remember that even if you are on good terms with your spouse, the emotions involved in a divorce could cause things to go south quickly if you are trying to negotiate a settlement agreement without a lawyer. Involving lawyers (on each side) will help communicate clearly and ensure that each side articulates their requests and receives a fair settlement.

Benefits of Settling Outside of Court

It takes less time to finalize when settling outside of court, so your attorney will not have to do nearly as much as is required by a trial, which will in-turn save you money. It’s also much more likely that you will be happier with the outcome, since you and your spouse are the ones deciding on the terms of the divorce.

If your divorce goes to court and you don’t agree with the judge’s decision, there isn’t much you can do other than file an appeal. Filing an appeal can be challenging to win and be very costly. Working with your attorney in a neutral setting outside of the courtroom gives both parties a chance to come to an amicable agreement without leaving the decision up to a third party.

What Happens if The Case Go to Court?

Should you and your spouse not be able to agree on how the two of you should handle matters on your own, that is considered a contested divorce, and your case will have to go to court. Going to court will take much more time, incur far more fees, and likely cause more stress.

If your divorce goes to trial, your attorney will begin the discovery process. During the discovery process, they will start to collect evidence on unresolved issues, reviewing each side of the case and building an argument supporting your arguments and strategy.

On your hearing date, the judge will hear each side’s testimony regarding the issues and decide on a settlement based on state law. One thing to remember is that the judge’s decision is final.

Azemika & Azemika Law is on Your Side

Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotional time. If you are trying to settle outside of court, make sure both party’s attorneys are aware of that. However, if there are issues that the two of you can’t agree on, you may need to get the courts involved. 

The lawyers at Azemika & Azemika have a combined total of over 56 years handling family law cases. This expertise allows our dedicated team to customize each situation to fit our clients’ specific needs. As our client, we will keep you informed on the status of your case, allowing you to make informed decisions as your case progresses.

Let the team at Azemika & Azemika help set you on a path to a better post-divorce future.  Contact us today for a consultation.

Can a Parent Restore His or Her Parental Rights if They’re Lost?

Every state in the country has laws that dictate the termination of parental rights. Termination is always weighed carefully to focus on what’s best for the child, and it’s a complex process that is irreversible in many cases. However, there are also statutes and procedures in place in some states to restore parental rights in specific circumstances.

Can a parent restore his or her parental rights if they’re lost? The answer to this question is complicated. It depends on individual circumstances and whether or not the state in which you live allows for reinstatement of parental rights.

In California, parental rights that have been terminated may be restored in certain circumstances. While all cases are reviewed and determined based on individual circumstances, there are some situations where restoration of parental rights may be the best option for the child and the parents. 

Why Parental Rights Are Terminated

Termination of parental rights is not done lightly. In most cases, termination of parental rights occurs when there has been serious child abuse or severe child neglect. Occasionally, parents may choose to terminate their own parental rights, but they must petition the courts to do this.

Ultimately, the termination of parental rights is done when it is in the child’s best interests. Typically, once parental rights have been terminated, the child will be placed in foster care or adopted. However, for some children, the foster system does not lead to adoption or the stability that the child needs.

The Best Interests of the Child

When determining whether or not to reinstate parental rights, the courts must determine whether it is in the child’s best interest. Some parents who lose their parental rights may never get them back, but for others, restoring the parental relationship may be what’s best for everyone involved, especially the child.

For children who are not likely to be adopted or aging out of foster care, the options for their future care may be limited. In some cases, it may be in the best interest of these children and adolescents for them to be reunited with their parents.

If parental rights have been terminated, but children are not likely to be adopted for some reason, a parent may have their parental rights reinstated if the courts determine that it is in the child’s best interest.

Restoring Parental Rights in California

In California, parents who wish to have their parental rights reinstated must prove that the child is better off with them than in the foster care system. Other criteria must be met before courts will consider reinstating parental rights.

  • Three years must have passed since parental rights were terminated.
  • If a child is deemed unlikely to be adopted, parental rights restoration may be considered.
  • If a child is younger than 12, the courts must factually identify that restoring parental rights is in the child’s best interests.

Older children aging out of the foster system or who are unlikely to be adopted may wish to restore their relationship with their parents. If the parent can prove that restoring their parental rights is the best option for the child, the courts may agree. But each case is reviewed on an individual basis, and proving that parental rights should be restored can be difficult.

Getting Parental Rights Restored

Losing parental rights can be painful for both parents and children. Parents who make an effort to improve themselves to better care for their children may still face having their rights terminated and lose access to their children.

In California, parental rights can only be restored if the child requests. Parents cannot petition to have their rights restored. A child or the child’s attorney can petition to have parental rights restored three or more years after the termination of parental rights.

While this process may have some parents feeling like their hands are tied, having a skilled and knowledgeable attorney advise them on the process can be invaluable. Family law attorneys can help parents navigate the complex process and help parents better understand the laws surrounding the restoration of parental rights.

Let Us Help You With Your Family Law Case

Matters of restoring parental rights are complicated and it is highly important that they be handled by an experienced family law attorney. You don’t have to navigate the legal challenges and the family court system alone. We have helped many people in your circumstances.

At Azemika & Azemika, we understand the complexities of state laws and the family court system. The issues that you are facing are emotionally, financially, and legally challenging. Our practice is exclusively devoted to the field of family law. As a result, we can handle cases involving divorce, dissolution of domestic partnerships, child custody, visitation, child and spousal support, paternity, abandonment, and adoptions. With efficiency and great attention to detail, our partners at Azemika & Azemika use our vast experience in family law to customize each case to our clients’ needs.

Contact us today for a consultation, and we will work with you to determine the best option for your future.