How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce?

It’s almost impossible to give a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Just as some marriages last 30 years while others last 30 days, some divorces are fast and others – not so much. However, we can look at the minimum time it takes to get a divorce, as well as any factors that could delay your divorce proceeding.

A ‘Typical’ Timeline

After someone decides to get divorced, the next step is usually to get started on the paperwork. An experienced California divorce attorney can advise on the best course of action and do all the paperwork for you.

So, once the divorce petition is filed, how long does it take to get a divorce?

California has a six-month waiting period, so the earliest you could get a final order is six months after filing your divorce petition. However, you may encounter roadblocks along the way.

Issues That Could Prolong Your Case

You must serve your divorce petition on your spouse. When your spouse is on board with your decision to terminate the marriage, he or she might agree to accept service. However, a reluctant spouse could refuse service or dodge a process server. In some cases, your spouse may live out of state or out of the country, potentially making it difficult to serve the petition.

Your spouse has 30 days from the date served to respond to your divorce petition. If your spouse refuses to answer, you might ask the judge to consider your case a default or uncontested divorce. The judge will review your paperwork before deciding to grant the declaration of disclosure and terminate your marriage.

It can take longer to get a divorce if you and/or your spouse have a high net worth. Property division can become a contentious issue when there is a lot of money or property involved. More negotiation might be involved, and forensic accountants and investigators may be hired. A lawyer with property division experience can help wade through a high-net-worth divorce.

Spousal support can also be a hot issue. Deciding whether one spouse deserves support from the other can be difficult. Calculating the amount of support and length of time it will be paid is often challenging.

Finally, divorces can take longer when children are involved. Both parents must negotiate a parenting plan. If they cannot reach an agreement, they might participate in mediation or attend a court hearing. Any additional meetings or hearings could delay your final decree.

You Need Experienced Legal Advice If You Decide to Get a Divorce

We can’t tell you that your divorce will be final 6 months, 3 days, and 2 hours after filing your petition. We can tell you that we understand the urgency behind many divorce petitions and that we understand all the issues that you will be facing.

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.

Establishing Parental Rights in a Same-Sex Marriage

Establishing Parental Rights in a Same-Sex Marriage

Children need their parents, even after a divorce. That’s why California courts focus so much on doing what is in the child’s best interest when deciding on child support and visitation issues. Another important and basic issue that pops up in many divorces involving children – parental rights. It’s not always an easy situation for the parents or their children. With the rise of legal same-sex marriages, establishing parental rights became a little more challenging for some couples.

Opposite-Sex Couples and Parenthood

Before same-sex marriage became legal, establishing parental rights usually meant proving the father’s identity. This step is usually easy for married couples because the law generally assumes that the mother’s husband is the baby’s father. When there is uncertainty, however, an opposite-sex couple can establish fatherhood through:

  • Testing,
  • Signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity,
  • Obtaining a court order.

In the past, same-sex parents sometimes found it difficult for both partners to be accepted as a child’s legal parent.

California Law and Presumed Parents

Generally, one spouse is presumably the parent of the other spouse’s child under the following conditions:

  • He or she was married to the child’s mother when the child was conceived or born.
  • The presumed parent attempted to marry the child’s mother or was engaged in a marriage later deemed invalid when the child was conceived or born.
  • They married the mom after the child was born and agreed to be added to the birth certificate or to support the mom’s child.
  • One spouse treats the other spouse’s child as his or her child.

These legal presumptions apply to all married couples and people who registered a domestic partnership after January 2005. Couples in same-sex marriages have the same right to be a presumed parent under the conditions mentioned above.

Potential Roadblocks to Establishing Parental Rights

In marriages where the spouses are of the same sex, they might become parents through:

  • In vitro fertilization,
  • Using a surrogate mother, or

In the past, the spouse that gave birth to a child was considered the child’s parent. The same-sex partner did not automatically get parental rights. Instead, they would have to adopt the child their partner gave birth to, even though they acted as the child’s parent. Without the right legal framework, partners could be denied access, visitation, or custody to the child they had raised from birth.

Using the assumptions that California law allows, it would appear that same-sex couples would both have parental rights, regardless of the biological origin of their children or whether one gives birth. However, other states and countries may not recognize parenthood given the same set of circumstances.  It may be best to err on the side of caution. After all, you want to make sure your parent-child bond stands up in court if necessary.

Call to Learn More About Establishing Parental Rights in a Same-Sex Marriage.

Establishing parental rights is best done well before a breakup. Most people can save time, money, and some serious angst by ensuring both halves of a same-sex marriage are considered parents of any children born during the marriage.

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.

Do These 5 Things Immediately After Divorce

Do These 5 Things Immediately After Divorce

Divorce seems to come in several stages:  First, you try to decide whether to end your marriage or not. That’s sometimes a huge decision. Then you contact an attorney and start the paperwork. After negotiating a settlement, and a parenting plan if you have children, you get your final divorce order. Instead of breathing a sigh of relief, and planning your next party, take some time to do these things immediately after your divorce is final.

#1.  Make Sure You Understand the Terms of Your Settlement or Decree.

Even if you actively participated in the entire divorce process, give your divorce settlement a final, thorough review. Take note of anything you are required to do or not do. It’s also important to know your ex-spouse’s obligations, particularly those related to your children. Contact your California divorce attorney if you have any questions.

#2.  Change Beneficiaries on Financial Accounts.

Naming beneficiaries for your financial, insurance and investment accounts is always a best practice. But it’s easy to forget that your beneficiary designations probably include your ex and maybe even some of your former in-laws.

Contact each institution to learn how to change your beneficiary designations. It’s usually a relatively easy step that people often overlook.

#3.  Change All Usernames and Passwords.

Most people have several online accounts that require usernames and passwords. If you have not already done so, change all your logins immediately after your divorce. Make sure that you don’t use passwords that your ex-spouse could easily guess.

#4.  Let Your Employer Know About Your New Status.

It’s important that you tell your boss that your marital status has changed. However, you do not have to tell your employer every detail of your divorce. Only share what is necessary and what you feel comfortable revealing.

#5.  Change Your Estate Planning.

Estate plans typically include a Will, a durable power of attorney for finances, and an advance health care directive. Other common documents are the living will and the revocable living trust.

These documents reflect your last wishes and how you want your financial and medical decisions to be handled if you become incapacitated. Not many people would want their ex-spouse to be in charge of their bank accounts or deciding when to pull the plug.

It’s usually best to contact your estate planning attorney during your divorce. Immediately after your divorce, though, make sure you change these important documents.

Help with Your Divorce Is Available

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 along the Northern to Southern California Coast.

Should I Avoid Social Media During My Divorce

Should I Avoid Social Media During My Divorce?

Social media is fun – until it isn’t. The news is filled every day with people who have been harmed because someone shared too much online. If you plan to file for divorce or have already done so, this is not the time to air your dirty laundry on social media platforms. In fact, we encourage you to consider the following as you decide whether to avoid social media altogether.

Is Just Needing to Vent a Reason to Avoid Social Media?

Possibly. ‘Think before you post’ is a good practice during your divorce. If you are angry or upset,  you might post something that could backfire on you. Also, what you say about your spouse could get back to them.

Another reason to avoid social media if you feel like venting is because of how the courts might view your post. This is especially true if you have children. Courts generally take a dim view of disparagement because it could hurt your children’s relationship with their other parent.

Maybe just meet a close friend or family member for coffee or lunch if you need to vent about your spouse’s latest escapade.

How Friendly Are Your Friends?

If you have been married a while, you and your soon-to-be-ex probably have mutual friends. At some point, you might have added your spouse’s friends and family members to your friends list. Their loyalty might be divided after you announce your pending divorce. At the very least, an angry social media post could make them uncomfortable. However, the worst-case scenario is that they might forward your post to others and tell your spouse what you are saying.

And angry words are not the only thing you should avoid posting on social media. Talking about a new love interest or an expensive vacation could spell trouble during settlement negotiations.

Will Your Posts Negatively Affect Your Divorce?

We’ve already mentioned a few. For example, disparagement could influence how a family court judge views you. So, avoid social media posts that harm your spouse’s reputation. They could actually hurt your reputation more.

Child custody, visitation, and support could be affected if your social media accounts are full of inappropriate pictures and stories. This could be especially hurtful if your children are in any of the pictures.

Also, most if not all of your online activities are discoverable. This means that you might have to give information from your accounts to your spouse’s attorney. If you avoid social media posts that are too revealing, your spouse won’t have anything to work with.

Will Social Media Posts Upset Anyone?

You and your spouse might be at each other’s throats, figuratively, but remember that more than two people are involved in most divorces. If you have children, they could definitely be embarrassed and upset by your social media. Your parents, extended family, and family friends might be exposed to information that would be deeply upsetting. It’s probably just safer to avoid social media use as much as possible from the time you decide to file for divorce until you receive your final order.

Avoid Social Media and Contact Us if You Want to File for Divorce

Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys. Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. 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.