Every divorce proceeding is unique, which can make it complicated, confusing and a bit difficult to prepare for. Everything from child custody to marital property is discussed, and while no one expects you to be an expert in family law, it’s important to have a decent grasp of what to expect during the divorce process.
Meeting Basic Requirements
Before you can get a divorce in California, either you or your spouse must have resided in the state for at least 6 months before you can file for divorce. Aside from that, there’s nothing else you really need to satisfy. Unlike other states, California is a “no-fault” state, which means you don’t need a specific reason to file for divorce—the court only needs to see that your marriage has fallen apart due to “irreconcilable differences.”
A Divorce Is a Long Process
Depending on your circumstances, your divorce may take several months to years to finalize. However, the process typically takes at least nine months after you’ve filed documents with the court. If you have children, a large amount of property, and other similar factors, the length of the divorce tends to increase.
Preparing for a Day in California Divorce Court
Appearing in a California divorce courtroom can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With adequate preparation, you can help your standing in your case. The best way to prepare is to discuss your appearance and any questions you have with a family law attorney.
When you seek a temporary child custody order, the court wants to hear evidence regarding the child’s best interests, including their health, safety, welfare, education, and stability. If domestic abuse or substance abuse is a problem in the divorce, the court may issue orders that ensure the child’s safety. The court could order a child custody investigation, a child custody evaluation by a psychologist, or a drug or alcohol assessment for the affected parent(s).
Temporary child support orders and temporary spousal support orders are typically based on the state’s formulas for child and spousal support, so this process of divorce is often straightforward if the income of both spouses is undisputed. However, if a spouse is self-employed or is suspected of hiding income or assets, temporary child support orders and temporary spousal support orders can become extremely complicated. Evidence and testimony may be needed, and spouses may need the services of a forensic accountant.
Marital Property Is Shared
California is a community property state, which means any property and debts you acquired during marriage generally belongs to both of you equally. Anything you got before the marriage, and after the separation date, is considered separate property.