Redondo Beach divorce lawyers
Your divorce need not be angry and chaotic. You can manage matters from the very beginning by hiring a divorce attorney and informing yourself about the process. You will no doubt experience a range of emotions as you dissolve your marriage. But you should not allow these feelings to distract you too much from the work needed to preserve your rights and interests.
Your divorce lawyer will handle the more complicated issues related to your divorce. You can help them by understanding how the process of divorce works in California and by taking quick and decisive steps to protect yourself and your children.
Here are the steps of getting a divorce in California and a few tips to help you along the way:
1. Protecting your rights and interests
If you have small children, you should not leave them to go live somewhere else. Moving out of the house and leaving your kids with your spouse will weaken your claim to custody. If you are primary care giver, then you should remain in the house with your children. If it is impossible for you and your spouse to live together, even for the sake of the kids, then you should ask them to move elsewhere. This is the best way to keep the kids in school and retain a semblance of stability in their lives.
You should also cancel all joint credit cards. You may think you know your spouse, but divorce can make even the most reasonable people do cruel and absurd things. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a large credit card debt because your spouse ran it up out of spite.
You should also seek a court order that prevents the disposal of assets such as houses and investments. As a precaution, you may want to take half the money in your joint bank account and put it into a personal account. If you and your spouse can work out how much money needs to be in the account to pay bills, then you can put some of this back.
2. Verify that you meet the residency requirements
To file for divorce in California, you or your spouse must be legally resident in the state for six months.
3. Secure important documents
You are breaking up your home, and you should start by securing your most important documents. Gather banking statements, mortgage and loan documents, credit card statements, tax returns, property deeds, W-2 forms, and the like and put them in a secure place. You should also know your spouse’s Social Security Number and driver’s license number.
5. Get your finances in order
You should cut back on all expenditures. You may need to support yourself and your children as you go through the divorce. If you do not have any independent income, you may need to request temporary spousal support and child support. Your attorney can help you fill out the forms necessary, and they will represent you before the court.
6. Decide whether to go for a summary dissolution of marriage
It is possible to settle matters quickly with a summary procedure if you have been married for very little time and have no children. To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:
-You and your spouse agree to the divorce and the summary dissolution of marriage
-You have no children
-You were not married more than five years before separating
-You don’t own any real estate
-There are no debts over $6,000 other than car loans
-Your marital estate is valued at less than $41,000
-You and your spouse have worked out an agreement dividing property and debt
-You both waive your right so spousal support
6. File the required forms
There will be a great many forms to fill out as you go through the divorce. Your attorney will help you sort through them, fill them out, and file them in a timely manner.
7. Notify your spouse
Your spouse must receive proper notice of the divorce.
8. Attend court hearings
In the end, all final arrangements must be approved by a family court judge. If you need to attend any hearings, your attorney will ensure that you are on time and that you have the information the judge will request of you.
If you are seeking sole custody of your children, the judge will need to see evidence that proves your spouse is unfit to parent your children. Your attorney can help you gather and present such evidence. You should not attempt to keep your children from your spouse until the judge has made a final ruling. The judge will not look kindly on such a move, and acting precipitously could endanger your own efforts at custody.
You should listen to and take the advice of your attorney. They will ensure that you take the right steps to get the best outcome for you and your children.
How was the divorce finalized if I didn’t sign any papers?
Every state allows for divorce without the consent of the spouse. In the past, it was true that when one’s spouse refused to agree to the divorce or sign divorce papers, the process was delayed or it became very complicated with having to prove that the other spouse was at fault for the failure of the marriage. However, that is not the case today. It is important to know that when children or a significant amount of property are involved, the process could be more complex, but not to the point where it is too burdensome to continue. All 50 states allow for no fault divorces in which the process is simpler for those that are pursing a divorce as there is no burden of proof that the parties did anything wrong. One party can simply be unhappy and be granted a divorce. In some cases, a divorce can be finalized without the other party having to sign anything.
The typical divorce process is that the spouse seeking the divorce, the petitioner, has to complete the divorce paperwork as required by their county. They can do this with or without the assistance of an attorney. A copy of this paperwork is required to be given to the respondent spouse. Usually this is done through certified mail, the sheriff’s office, or a licensed process server. This is documentation to the spouse that their wife/husband has filed for divorce. The papers detail what the petitioning spouse is asking for in terms of division of property, child custody, visitation and any spousal support. This is required so that the respondent can see what the petitioner is asking for and they can either disagree and suggest changes, or agree with what the petitioner has listed and appear it court to let the judge know of their desired changes. If the location of the spouse is not known which prevents them from being served with divorce papers, the court may allow for a notification in a newspaper to be considered as service.
The respondent has a specified time frame in which they can respond to the divorce petition that they were served or what they received via certified mail. They can agree to everything or have changes they want to be made. Even if the respondent does not want a divorce, under the provisions of a no fault divorce, only one spouse has to want a divorce in order for it to be granted. If the respondent does not file an answer with the court, the court can grant the divorce anyway and will likely agree to the provisions the petitioner stated in the papers as long as they are reasonable. In this case, a divorce is granted and the other spouse never signed any papers, nor did they appear in court. The same can be true if the petitioner did not show up in court. The judge could award the divorce and the suggested changes made by the petitioner and the petitioner would be divorced without ever going to court. Simply not showing up in court or responding to divorce papers, does not stop the divorce from taking place.
In general, judges do not allow for one party to delay the granting of a divorce. While each state has their own requirements, it may be that the parties have to attend mediation or parenting classes. Again, judges can grant divorces even though one spouse does not participate in these requirements. It is possible that the party that does not fulfill the requirements not only find themselves divorced, but also find themselves being charged with contempt of court for not doing what the court has required.
After the court receives the divorce papers from the petitioner, a hearing will likely be set. The court will notify both parties of the date and time of the hearing. Again, if the petitioner (or respondent) is the only one to attend the hearing, the divorce can still be granted. The court will notify the parties according to their last known address. Direct service of paperwork by the court is not required, meaning that the court does not have to use a process server or the sheriff’s office to deliver paperwork.
The process above demonstrates that a divorce can be granted without one ever signing any papers. The law does not allow for a person to prevent a divorce from happening if the other spouse desires one. However, the law does require that an attempt be made to notify the respondent of the spouse’s filing of divorce papers. The divorce process can be completed with or without an attorney. Most counties have a divorce liaison that helps people complete their divorce paperwork that do not have an attorney.