Santa Barbara Family Law Lawyer Helps With All Legal Aspects Getting Divorced in California
Divorce is the legal end to a marriage as ordered by a court. In the state of California, there are three ways to end a marriage: divorce, legal separation and annulment. Divorce is the most common tool used to end a marriage, and either spouse can decide to file a petition for divorce. It is not necessary for both parties to agree in divorce, and an unwilling spouse cannot stop the process by refusing participation. The unwilling spouse may be able to delay proceedings, but the petitioning spouse will be able to get a “default” judgement if the other spouse refuses to participate. The filing spouse is known as the petitioner and the other is known as the respondent.
California is considered a “no fault” divorce state, meaning that the petitioning spouse does not need to prove that the respondent spouse did something wrong in order to get a divorce. A lesser known fact, however, is that there are two reasons that can be sited when filing divorced in California, and one of them does require proof:
- Spouse suffers from incurable insanity
- Irreconcilable differences
Divorce citing incurable insanity requires that the insanity be proven in court, and represents a very small minority of divorce proceedings in California. Irreconcilable differences represents the vast majority of cases and is basically a bucket that all other reasons for divorce are placed in. It is not necessary to differentiate between the many reasons for divorce, because CA is a no fault state and does not require proof of any wrongdoing by a spouse. This means that by law, the reason for divorce is not supposed to affect the judge’s decisions regarding the proceedings and judgement. As we all know, “not supposed to” and “doesn’t happen” are two very different things, and behavior before, during and after a divorce filing can have significant consequences even in a no fault state like California.
Once a petition to end the marriage has been filed, court proceedings will begin and end with a ruling governing the splitting of the marriage and providing for:
- Custody of Children
- Division of Property
- Payment of Alimony
- Payment of Child Support
- Use of Last Name
As you can see above, divorce proceedings will govern the most important aspects of your life and need to be treated with the appropriate level of respect. There is a significant and proven first-mover advantage when it comes to divorce in California – it is imperative that you act quickly if you believe you and your spouse to be on the path to separation or divorce. The Santa Barbara family law lawyers at this firm are Certified Family Law Specialist by State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization and are here to answer any questions you may have regarding acceptable grounds for divorce. Please give our office a call today!