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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.