Amelia had been considering leaving her husband for some time. But when it came to actually filing for divorce, she had no idea where to start. Deciding to divorce your spouse is usually a difficult decision. You have to consider a number of different factors – from where to live to how you can go about the business of legally terminating your marriage. Her friends told her one thing; her family told her something totally different. Finally, Amelia decided to ask a California divorce lawyer for guidance based on California family law.
Legal Requirements to File Divorce
First, you might be wondering how California divorce laws will affect your decision. For example, do you have to live in the state for a while before filing?
The answer is yes. There is a residency requirement.
Under California law, there are two:
- you or your spouse must have lived in California for 6 months AND
- in the county where you’re going to file the divorce for at least 3 months.
What if you and your spouse have been living in different counties? You can file in either county – the one you have lived in for 3 months or the one your spouse has lived in for 3 months.
There’s one thing you won’t need – grounds.
Grounds for divorce is the term used for the reason you want to end your marriage. In the past, people had to have a solid reason to get divorced, like adultery or cruelty. Now, at least one spouse just needs to say they can no longer get along so your California divorce lawyer can start proceedings.
There Are Alternatives to Divorce – But Are They Right for You?
Some couples might consider marriage counseling before filing for divorce. And sometimes it works out, and they are able to work out their problems. For everyone else, there are other options.
Legal separation is one way to get some relief from your marriage. People often choose this option if:
- They are not sure about ultimately terminating their relationship.
- Their religion prohibits divorce.
- Personal beliefs are an insurmountable obstacle.
- There are serious financial reasons to avoid divorce.
- Finally, they don’t meet California’s residency requirements.
Not every state recognizes legal separation. Fortunately, California does. Here’s how it works:
Legal separation does not end your marriage, so you cannot marry anyone else.
You can ask a family court for orders about custody, child support, spousal support, and division of property and debts.
An experienced California divorce attorney can explain the advantages and disadvantages of legal separation.
What Information Your California Divorce Lawyer Will Need
Both parties to the divorce will need to complete financial disclosures. It’s absolutely vital to list all property and debts, especially when it comes to property and debt division. Your financial disclosures will be helpful when deciding on spousal support and child support.
When you visit your California divorce lawyer, bring as much of your financial information as possible. Your lawyer could review your records to help you decide between legal separation or divorce if financial reasons are holding you back. More importantly, your attorney will be able to fully complete your financial disclosures.
Deciding to File for Divorce Is Complicated. Your California Divorce Lawyer Can Help.
Advice from friends is sometimes not the best way to make such an important decision. An experienced divorce lawyer can analyze your situation and provide options for you to consider.
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, Marin, San Jose, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.