Divorce & Dissolution of Marriage

California law view marriage as a contract, and getting a divorce is like the dissolution of a business.  The problem with this analogy is that a divorce is often one of the most extraordinarily emotional and distressing events a person ever goes through.  Successful legal representation requires sensitivity to the emotional component along with the skills and experience to see that your rights are adequately represented.

Understanding the Divorce Process

In a divorce/dissolution, all property and debt is allocated to the parties in an equitable arrangement.  The parties begin with a full and complete disclosure of assets and debts and have an affirmative obligation to provide detailed information.  Temporary orders may be ordered providing for child support or spousal support, or setting custody and visitation guidelines until a final order is entered by the court.  If domestic violence is involved, temporary restraining orders may also be issued.  If there are no contested issues, the parties may settle the issues between themselves.  If an agreement cannot be reached, the parties will go to court, and following trial the judge will decide issues such as property division, child custody and support, and spousal support.  A divorce may be granted as early as 6 months after a petition is filed, although if the case goes to trial it may take longer.

What Are Grounds for Divorce?

California is a “no-fault” jurisdiction, meaning that one party does not have to prove bad acts on the part of the other to obtain a divorce.  A divorce may instead be granted on the basis of irreconcilable differences (meaning they simply do not get along) between the parties.  Issues such as marital infidelity or habitual drunkenness do not generally come into play in the property division, although these factors may play a role or have an influence in custody and visitation issues.

Child Custody and Support

The courts generally favor granting access for a child to both parents.  Depending upon the age and gender of a child, this may not always be the best option.

Support comes in the form of child and spousal support (spousal support is sometimes called “alimony”).  The courts recognize an obligation to support minor children throughout a child’s minority, but in terms of spousal support, the goal is that parties become self-supporting within a reasonable or given time frame.  More information is provided on the Child Custody, Child Support, and Spousal Support pages.

Jurisdiction/Legal Separation

Even if you haven’t been in California long enough to divorce (6 months), you can still file for legal separation and file for divorce at a later date.  During a legal separation, the judge can grant orders regarding custody and support in the same manner as the temporary orders discussed earlier under the process of divorce.

Be Comfortable with Your Legal Representative

A divorce can be a difficult and emotional time for the people involved, causing severe disruptions to the finances and daily lives of the spouses.  A qualified and experienced divorce attorney can be an invaluable asset to making sure you are treated  fairly and that the process is the least painful it can possibly be.  Call Mr. Hinden for a convenient and confidential consultation.