My Spouse Left Me. Can I Claim Desertion as Grounds for Divorce

My Spouse Left Me. Can I Claim Desertion as Grounds for Divorce?

TV shows and movies often talk about people having ‘grounds for divorce.’ Sometimes, you might even see a distressed spouse hiring a private investigator to get photos of their spouse’s wrongdoing to firm up their plan to end their marriage. In some states, couples might have to choose one of several reasons they want a divorce, including cruelty or adultery. But if your spouse has left you, and you live in California, can you claim desertion as the grounds for your divorce?

California is a No-Fault Divorce State

But does ‘no-fault’ means you don’t have to have grounds for divorce when you file your petition?

No-fault means that neither party has to prove that the other party did anything wrong. For example, you don’t have to prove that your spouse committed adultery. You also don’t have to provide evidence that your husband or wife has deserted you.

Under California law, you can state two basic reasons for your divorce:

  • Irreconcilable differences. This means that your marital bond is completely broken as you and your spouse can no longer live together.
  • Permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. You are divorcing your spouse due to mental illness or insanity.

Limiting divorce to the two reasons listed above can make the process easier for the spouse who wants the divorce. Also, keep this in mind:  It is not necessary for both spouses to want to terminate the marriage. Only one spouse has to file the divorce petition. The other party cannot stop the divorce by simply refusing to participate in the process.

Other Issues Related to Desertion and Abandonment Issues

While you do not have to claim desertion to get your divorce, it can affect your divorce proceedings.

For example, California law requires that you serve your divorce papers on your spouse. You don’t have to prove desertion as grounds for divorce, but you do need to know where your spouse is living if at all possible. If you cannot locate your spouse, you and your family law attorney can explore other options to finalize your divorce.

When one spouse abandons the other, financial support might become an immediate problem. If you have been left with no financial support because of desertion, talk to your attorney to see if temporary orders will help.

Likewise, you might need temporary orders to clarify child custody and visitation. Again, tell your attorney everything so he or she can give you the right advice.

Talk to Us About Your Grounds for Divorce

California family law attorneys understand how the law will apply to your situation. At least you can end your marriage without having to prove that your spouse did anything wrong, like desertion.

Talk to an experienced California divorce attorney today. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys.

Please call us at 415-293-8314 to discuss your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients along California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.

Planning Your Children’s Summer Holidays with Your Ex-Spouse

Planning Your Children’s Summer Holidays with Your Ex-Spouse

Amanda likes to schedule her children’s summer holidays far in advance. This year, she plans to take them to a camp in Colorado for two weeks in July. In fact, she has already made the reservations. However, the children’s father, Jacob, disagrees with her plan. He was already planning stuff for the kids to do in July and has put down several non-refundable deposits. Since the divorce, Amanda and Jacob have handled their children’s schedules amicably for the most part. But planning your children’s summer holidays with your ex-spouse is no picnic, and they can’t get past their current disagreement. What can divorced parents who disagree about their children’s schedules do?

Look to the Parenting Plan

Parents must negotiate a parenting plan before their divorce can be finalized. There are good reasons for this.

Parenting plans make sure both parents know where they stand when it comes to some very important issues, including their children’s holidays. During negotiations, parents can stake out holidays that mean the most to them. Most people include their children’s summer schedule in their parenting plan.  

Under Amanda and Jacob’s parenting plan, Amanda should have the children in June and August. Jacob is supposed to have them the entire month of July. In the current scenario, Amanda’s planned vacation contradicts the negotiated parenting plan.

But Life Changes

Sometimes parenting plans no longer fit. Jacob and Amanda can speak to their attorneys about revising the plan at any time. The children’s summer plans can be changed, as well as any other holidays. If divorced parents cannot settle their disagreements, then mediation or court intervention might be necessary. However, it’s generally best for the children if parents can work out minor disagreements on their own.

Being proactive also can go a long way toward preventing disputes from blowing out of proportion. Had Amanda discussed her plans with Jacob before either of them made reservations or put down non-refundable deposits, they might have reached an amicable compromise. As it stands now, their disagreement could spoil the children’s summer holiday and create tension between the parents and their kids.

Are You and Your Ex-Spouse Fighting Over the Children’s Summer Holidays?

Hopefully not. But if you find yourselves at odds over any aspect of your parenting plan, talk to a family law attorney as soon as possible. And always remember that courts make decisions based on what is best for the children.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, legal separation, and annulment. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We assist clients along California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.

Can You Legally Snoop on Your Spouse

Can You Legally Snoop on Your Spouse?

Simon felt his wife, Terry, was behaving suspiciously. He felt the strong urge to find out what she was up to, but he wasn’t sure what to do. Simon wondered if you can legally snoop on your spouse. Hopefully, he will check with an attorney before doing anything.

Wiretapping, Eavesdropping, and Surveillance – Oh, My!

Some of the ways you might use to snoop on your spouse include:

  • Installing hidden cameras,
  • Putting a tracking device on their car,
  • Adding keylogging software to electronic devices,
  • Accessing private email and bank accounts, and
  • Hacking into password-protected devices.

All of these are a terrible idea and could violate a number of laws.

For example, in California, you can put up security cameras around and even in your home. However, audio recordings are prohibited unless all parties give their consent.

More importantly, recording devices cannot be installed where your spouse or other parties have the right to expect privacy.

Right to Privacy in a Marriage

You and your spouse share a home, a bed, and probably at least one bank account. However, you each have the right to keep certain information private. Your spouse is bound by the same surveillance or snooping laws that keep your neighbor from wiretapping your phone.

Grounds Not Required – So Why Snoop on Your Spouse?

You might be tempted to legally snoop on your spouse.

But why?

What you find might firm up your decision to file for divorce – while causing a lot more heartbreak. However, not only will the information probably be inadmissible in court, but you don’t even need it. California is a no-fault divorce state, which means you do not need grounds for divorce.

Breaking the Law Hurts You

Depending on what you find, your spouse might not be held accountable for his or her actions. However, you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law. When you snoop on your spouse, you could be breaking laws regarding illegal surveillance and the right to privacy.

Anyone else you happen to surveil could be angry enough to press charges if you broke the law. It’s simply better all-around to talk to an experienced California divorce attorney before doing anything. There might be ways to legally investigate your spouse’s activities.

Talk to Us Before Trying to Legally Snoop on Your Spouse

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are well-versed in divorce and the dissolution of registered domestic partnerships. Judy Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call our offices at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients with divorce matters in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Diego, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.
Understanding California Paternity Laws

Understanding California Paternity Laws

Divorce is fraught with sensitive issues. One of the most delicate involves the parenthood of children whose parents are divorcing. If you are thinking of ending your marriage – and you have kids — understanding California’s paternity laws is a must.

Why Paternity Matters

A child’s parentage affects child support, custody, and visitation. In some cases, courts will not sign orders related to a child when paternity is in question. Unless a person is legally established as the father or mother, that person has no rights or responsibilities regarding the child.

Confirming parentage is also important because children have the right to:

  • Financial support from mom and dad,
  • Legal documents that identify both parents,
  • An accurate birth certificate listing both mom and dad,
  • Insurance coverage,
  • Inherit from their parents, and
  • Receive social security, veteran’s benefits, and other government benefits based on their parents.

From an emotional standpoint, most people want to know who their father and mother are. Legally speaking, parentage makes a difference also.

When Courts Get Involved

Generally, children born during a marriage are assumed to be the husband and wife’s biological children. Family court judges usually establish parentage automatically.

However, fathers of children who are not married to the mother when the child was born must legally establish their paternity. Other situations where a man might establish parentage include:

  • The child was conceived while the father was trying to marry the mother or thought he was married to her.
  • The man agreed to serve as the father on the birth certificate or agreed to provide financial support to the child.
  • The man acted as if the child were his own, even though the child is not biologically his.

Family courts may be involved in any case where questions about a child’s paternity exist. For example, a married man who doesn’t believe he is the father of his wife’s child might ask for a determination in order to avoid responsibilities for someone else’s child.

What the Law Says

Some sections of the California Family Code specifically address the parent-child relationship. Frankly, most if not all of the laws related to parents apply to our topic. Before laws related to the rights and responsibilities of a parent take effect, parentage must be established.

We Can Help Decipher California Paternity Laws for You

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced at all phases of divorce, legal separation, and annulment. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.