Category Archives: California Divorce

What Is a No-Fault Divorce

What Is a “No-Fault” Divorce?

After years of dealing with her petty jealousy and drinking problems, Paul decided his marriage to Nancy was over. But Nancy still clung to the possibility they might reconcile. Paul wasn’t sure how he could go about extricating himself from their legal ties. He thought he needed a good reason to divorce Nancy, but she had never assaulted him or committed adultery. Then a friend told him that California allows no-fault divorce. After discussing the situation with his family law attorney, Paul was able to see a path to freedom.

California Divorce Fundamentals

If you want to end a marriage or registered domestic partnership, you have three choices:

  • Divorce,
  • Legal separation, or

Some divorces are fairly collaborative. In fact, the process can be fairly simple. One party files the paperwork. The other party responds. Then you hammer out a marital settlement, and if you have children, a parenting plan. A family court judge reviews your paperwork and approves or denies your divorce petition.

Sometimes only one person wants out of the marriage. In this situation, that person files the paperwork for the divorce. If the other party responds to the petition, they go through the same process of working out the marital settlement and parenting plan, if necessary. If the other party does not respond to the divorce petition, the filing party usually is allowed to go through with the divorce anyway.

One common divorce myth is that you have to have a ‘reason’ to end your marriage.

“Grounds” for Divorce

California divorce law does not require the person filing for divorce to prove that the other partner has done anything wrong.

That’s right – you do not have to prove adultery, domestic violence, or any other reason to end your marriage or registered domestic partnership.

At least one spouse or partner just has to claim that “the couple cannot get along.” This situation is also known as “irreconcilable differences.”

Otherwise, the process for getting your divorce is just as we described it above. As simple as it sounds, however, divorces can become complicated very quickly. That’s why it is best to discuss your situation with an experienced California divorce lawyer before moving forward.

Do You Need to Say Yes to a No-Fault Divorce?

Sometimes a divorce is not really anyone’s fault. People drift apart and just no longer want to continue with their marriage. That’s precisely why we have options like no-fault divorce.

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 Central Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.

Talking About Your Ex-Spouse on Social Media Understanding the Shak vs. Shak Decision Regarding Non-Disparagement Clauses

Talking About Your Ex-Spouse on Social Media: Understanding the Shak vs. Shak Decision Regarding Non-Disparagement Clauses

Social media platforms offer unprecedented views into other people’s lives. We can share everything from pictures of what we had for lunch to our child’s latest soccer success to our favorite motivational messages. But there are times when it’s not a good idea to communicate through social media. Consider people who are divorced or planning to divorce. Social media can provide them with a multitude of ways to talk badly about a co-parent or former spouse. At times, court orders and divorce agreements have included non-disparagement language that prohibits this kind of language. A court case in Massachusetts may have altered how we deal with parents who write negative information about each other online.

Shak vs. Shak

Ronnie and Masha Shak had only been married about fifteen months when Masha filed for divorce. The child they had together was only a year old at the time. A judge issued a temporary order giving sole custody of the child to Masha. Shortly after that, Masha filed a motion asking for additional temporary orders. Among other things, she asked the judge to “prohibit the father from posting disparaging remarks about her and the ongoing litigation on social media.”

The judge did order both parties to refrain from disparaging each other, especially in the presence of their child. The order also stated that neither of them could post anything regarding the divorce on social media.

Ronnie allegedly made additional negative social media posts. Masha filed a complaint for civil contempt against Ronnie for violating the judge’s temporary order. However, another judge decided that Ronnie was not in contempt because the prior order was unlawful prior restraint of speech.

The case moved through Massachusetts courts, eventually reaching the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

The Court’s Decision

After considering the evidence, law, and case law, the Massachusetts Supreme Court (the “Court”) made its decision. The Court vacated the lower court’s orders on future disparagement. Among other things, the Court stated:

“We recognize that the motion judge put careful thought into his orders in an effort to protect a child caught in the middle of a legal dispute who was unable to advocate for himself. However, because there was no showing of an exceptional circumstance that would justify the imposition of a prior restraint, the nondisparagement orders issued here are unconstitutional.”

One reason the Court made this decision is because the child in question was a toddler and unable to understand what his parents had posted on social media. The Court felt the non-disparagement language was not needed and was, in fact, unconstitutional since the child was not directly harmed.

Also, the Court specifically noted that its order does not affect voluntary non-disparagement agreements.

Non-Disparagement, Social Media, and Your Divorce

Court order or not, it’s still a bad idea to say nasty things about your child’s other parent. Your spouse may not get a judge to order you to stop. However, you may be sued for defamation or have other legal action taken against you. But that’s not the worst part.

When you post something nasty (even if you think it is true) on social media, ask yourself if it’s in your child’s best interests. It’s probably not.

Your social media posts could be seen by family and friends or even go viral. The judge who makes decisions about your divorce will always consider your child’s best interests, even when you do not.

Is There a Place in Your Divorce for Non-Disparagement Action?

When your spouse or co-parent uses disparaging language about you online, contact an attorney immediately. Such actions could show a disregard for a court order and for protecting your child’s best interests.

Please call us at 415-293-8314 to discuss your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients with divorce matters. We maintain offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.

My Husband Won’t Respond to My Divorce Petition. What Should I Do

My Husband Won’t Respond to My Divorce Petition. What Should I Do?

Maybe you and your spouse have lived apart for some time and have lost touch. Maybe your spouse does not want the marriage to end. In some cases, you filed for divorce, but your husband won’t respond to your divorce petition. Let’s look at some of the options that are available when something like this happens.

Filing for Divorce in California

First, you will start by completing and filing some or all of the following documents with the court clerk:

  • Petition – Marriage/Domestic Partnership
  • Summons (Family Law)
  • Property Declaration
  • Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (if you have children)
  • Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application Attachment (optional)
  • Any other forms required by the clerk in your county.

Next, you must serve copies of your filed documents on your spouse, along with a blank copy of the Response—Marriage/Domestic Partnership. However, don’t do this yourself. Anyone over the age of 18 can deliver the copies, including a friend, relative, county sheriff, or process server. You can also have someone mail the copies if your spouse agrees to accept service by mail.

Then, file a Proof of Service of Summons with the court. This is important because the court cannot end the marriage at this point if your spouse has not received the documents you filed.

Failing to Respond to a Divorce Petition

Let’s assume that you were able to serve your divorce petition on your spouse. You have filed all the paperwork that is required of you. Your husband or wife now has 30 days to respond to your divorce petition.

When a spouse refuses to take any action, the courts can still end your marriage. In California, both people do not have to agree to get divorced.

After 30 days, you and your attorney can ask the court to give you a judgment of divorce and any other orders you request. You will need to file the following documents:

  • Request to Enter Default,
  • Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation,
  • Judgment, and
  • Notice of Entry of Judgment.

Depending on your situation,  you may need to file documents regarding:

  • child custody and visitation,
  • child support,
  • spousal support, and
  • division of community property and debt.

Remember this: Your divorce does not just disappear because your spouse refuses to respond. His or her previous control over your marriage will not stop your case from proceeding.

When Your Spouse Won’t Respond to Your Divorce Petition, You Still Have Options.

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 with divorce matters. We maintain offices in San Francisco, San Diego, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.

how can i terminate a domestic partnership

How Can I Terminate a Domestic Partnership?

Relationships can get messy. Alexis and Callie found this out as soon as Callie started planning their wedding ceremony four years into their registered domestic partnership. The stress triggered negative feelings, and Alexis started reconsidering their relationship. Unfortunately, the situation ended with one partner picking out a wedding cake and the other trying to figure out how to terminate a domestic partnership. Continue reading

I Just Got Married. How Soon Can I File for Divorce

I Just Got Married. How Soon Can I File for Divorce?

Sophie and Liam decided to move to California and get married, in that order. Liam moved to San Jose in January to find them a place to live and get a job, but Sophie had unfinished business in their home state of Kentucky. Sophie planned to follow in May so that she could prepare for their June wedding. Everything seemed to run smoothly until July when Sophie learned that her marriage had been a big mistake. She quickly contacted a California divorce attorney to ask how soon she could file for divorce from Liam, even though she had just gotten married. Her attorney helped her understand California residency requirements as they explored solutions to her problem. Continue reading

homeschooling divorce and the coronavirus shut down

Homeschooling, Divorce, and the Coronavirus Shut Down

Most parents focus on keeping their children safe from harm and preparing them for the future. How you handle this during a divorce becomes complicated even without the extra concerns associated with a public health emergency. For example, education is essential, but so is protecting your kids from COVID-19. How can you educate your children without sending them to school?  We need to find ways for homeschooling, divorce, and the coronavirus shut down to co-exist peacefully for the sake of our children. Continue reading

California restraining orders

4 Types of California Restraining Orders

California restraining orders are available to help people in various circumstances. For example, Todd’s partner, Zach, has threatened him with violence, shoved him during arguments, and violently pulled his hair. Amanda has suffered the same kind of behavior but from her former roommate. At age 78, Dan is trying to live in his own home for as long as possible, but his grandson has been stealing his possessions and money. Finally, Maryann’s boss at the diner noticed a customer was stalking Maryann at work and waiting for her in the parking lot. A restraining order might help any of these individuals feel more protected. In fact, there are four different types of California restraining orders. Continue reading

Frozen Embryos and Divorce Who Gets Custody

Frozen Embryos and Divorce: Who Gets Custody?

On the day Daria and David agreed to store frozen embryos for future use, divorce was far from their minds. They were in perfect agreement, deeply in love, and looking forward to future parenthood. However, things didn’t work out exactly as they had planned. Daria and David put off becoming parents for several years, but unfortunately, their relationship faltered in the interim. After David filed for divorce, he realized they had to make some difficult decisions about what to do with their frozen embryos. Continue reading

COVID-19 Divorce

COVID-19 Divorce: Will This Be the Newest Social Trend?

Many working couples spend a large part of their day away from home and each other, yet their marriage works just fine. During the coronavirus pandemic, however, spouses were forced to see each other 24/7. In some cases, people had little interaction with the outside world. When faced with isolation and fear, some couples grow stronger while others watch as cracks in their relationship seem to grow each day. As we recover from the recent public health emergency, will COVID-19 divorce become more common? Continue reading