What should spouses know about the divorce process in California?
Most Californians are loosely familiar with the legal issues involved at the end of a marriage. Some have experienced them firsthand, and others have seen friends or family members experience the range of emotions that comes with the end of this most intimate relationship. However, before divorce papers are filed and a couple is forced to deal with issues such as child custody, spousal support and asset and property division, they might want to look more closely at what the process entails.
By definition, a divorce is the process of dissolving the marriage or, as is now allowed under California law, the domestic partnership of two individuals. Once the divorce is complete, both parties are considered single again and can remarry.
Divorce can occur for a variety of reasons, including infidelity. Regardless of the reason, California courts do not require spouses to state a reason for divorce other than irreconcilable differences. This basic feature of no-fault divorce removes blame from the legal process, although more often than not one spouse does blame the other. The law’s only concern is helping the spouses reach fair results with respect to the issues that must be resolved before they can divorce and rebuild their lives.
For that reason, the divorcing spouses should resolve issues about spousal support, property division and child custody or visitation if minor children are involved, as soon as possible. They can then request that a judge create an order that accepts their decisions. Child support orders, however, are in the hands of judges who determine how much support will be paid using state-sanctioned formulas.
California law requires a mandatory waiting period of 6 months before the dissolution is considered final. A couple can still effectively end their marriage in all but name if they agree to work out the details of their divorce before filing papers.
Source: Courts.Ca.gov, “Options to End Marriage or Domestic Partnership“, Accessed on Feb. 16, 2015