Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

Our San Jose Divorce Lawyer Answers Common Questions About Divorce

Picture of divorce lawyer and divorce papers

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for divorce proceedings to bring a tremendous amount of stress and confusion to your life. At the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich, our San Jose divorce lawyer helps clients through the California divorce process.

Below, our San Jose divorce attorney answers common questions about California divorce. Please keep in mind that there are many nuances to divorce and every person’s situation and experience is different. To discuss the best legal options for your specific situation, please contact our divorce lawyer in San Jose for a free initial consultation.

Divorce Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Requirements for Divorce in California?

There are residency requirements you must meet before filing for divorce. At least one spouse must have lived in California for the last six months. In addition, at least one spouse must have lived in the county you file the divorce in for the last three months. If each spouse has lived in a separate county for the last three months, then the divorce can be filed in either county.

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How Long Does a California Divorce Take?

The length of your divorce will depend on your specific situation. After you file divorce papers and serve them, there is a six-month waiting period before the divorce can be finalized. This means that a California divorce will not be shorter than six months.

However, a divorce can take much longer than six months if both parties cannot agree on certain aspects of the divorce such as child custody disputes, property division and alimony disputes.

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What Is the California Divorce Process?

Every state has their own set of regulations for divorce court. However, California’s divorce proceedings involve:

  • Petition. A petition identifies the involved parties and begins the California divorce process. This is a formal application to the court that requests a specific action or form of relief. It can be started by either party.
  • Financial disclosure. Both parties disclose their separate financial information, assets and obligations. This information is usually given to the court at the beginning and end of the divorce court process.
  • Response. If the other party does not respond to the divorce petition, the judgment defaults to the petitioner’s proposed judgment. When both parties come to an agreement, the result will be a stipulated judgment. A stipulated judgment is a legal document by both parties that details the agreement. If both parties respond but cannot come to an agreement, litigation begins. After litigation, the court orders judgment.
  • Negotiations. It may be possible to avoid a trial if both parties can agree to settlement negotiations. Our skilled, San Jose family law attorney can use negotiations to preserve relationships and mitigate court costs.
  • Trial. If both parties cannot agree on certain aspects of their divorce, then a trial may be necessary.

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How Do I Handle a California Abandonment Divorce?

If your spouse abandoned you, contact our San Jose divorce attorney as soon as possible. It can be difficult to start the divorce process if you are unable to serve your spouse with divorce papers. In addition, chances are that he or she will not respond to divorce filings or make necessary court appearances. As a result, you may face unique challenges when protecting your best interests.

Even so, you deserve to have your assets, property, rights and best interests protected. Our divorce attorney in San Jose can help you with all of the legal filings and court appearances that are necessary to finalize your divorce.

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What Are the Benefits of Divorce Mediation?

The main benefit of divorce mediation is that mediation moves quicker than a drawn-out negotiation through counsel. In California, there are two types of mediation that can often apply to divorce actions. Concerning the division of assets and debts, divorce mediation can help you and your spouse come to an agreed upon resolution. It is important to work with a divorce attorney who can review the settlement details. Our San Jose divorce attorney can make sure you do not agree to something that is not in your best interest.

In addition, when both parties cannot agree on a child custody plan, Family Court Services (FCS) provides Child Custody Recommending Counseling (CCRC). CCRC is provided in a private counseling office with a court counselor. The FCS allows both parents to work together toward a mutually acceptable agreement for the best interest of the children.

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Is California a No Fault State for Divorce?

Yes, California is a no-fault divorce state. This means that the spouse requesting a divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse did something wrong. In California, it only takes one party to want a divorce. Though it can make the divorce process easier and quicker, both parties do not need to agree to divorce.

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Is California a Community Property State?

Yes, California is a community property state. Under California Family Code 760, community property is any asset or income acquired during marriage.

There are exceptions to community property called separate property. Gifts and inheritance do not count as community property. In addition, property that was acquired before marriage does not count. There are nuances to community and separate property in California. Our divorce lawyer in San Jose can help you understand these laws and represent your best interests in divorce proceedings.

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How Is Property Divided in a Divorce in California?

If a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement was not signed prior to marriage, then generally, community property is divided equally among both parties during the divorce proceedings. This is usually determined by the total net worth of all community property, rather than dividing each physical item.

Keep in mind that you and your spouse can come up with an agreement to divide your property and debts with the help of an experienced attorney, but a judge will need to approve it.

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Are There Alternatives to Divorce?

Yes. You may be eligible to have your marriage found legally invalid through an annulment. If you cannot divorce due to religious reasons or residency requirements, or you do not want a divorce, then a legal separation may be a better option. Our San Jose family law lawyer can discuss these potential options with you so you can make an informed decision.

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What Are the Requirements for Annulment in California?

You may be eligible for an annulment if the following situations apply to you:

  • You or the other party were under the age of 18 at the time of marriage;
  • The marriage or partnership was a result of force or fraud, or occured while one party was physically or mentally incapacitated;
  • You or the other party are legally married or in a partnership with someone else who has been absent for at least 5 years and was not known to be living.

Keep in mind that a marriage is not valid if incest exists between the parties or if one or both parties are already legally married or in a domestic partnership with someone else.

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What Is the Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation in California?

The main difference is that legal separation does not end your marriage. However, it is similar to a divorce in other ways. For example, you can ask a judge to make orders about property and debt division, child custody and visitation and spousal support. Our San Jose divorce lawyer can help you understand all of the differences between divorce and legal separation in California

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Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer?

Divorce can be very complicated. Issues such as child custody and visitation, child support and spousal support can all complicate the divorce process. In addition, California divorce laws can differ in regard to domestic partnerships and same-sex marriages. 

If you are preparing for divorce, we recommend that you speak with our San Jose divorce lawyer about your situation. We can help you understand your best legal options and your rights and responsibilities under California law.

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Speak With Our Divorce Lawyer in San Jose

At the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich, we understand the stress and complications of divorce. We are here to help. If you have additional questions about the California divorce process or want to speak to our San Jose divorce lawyer about your legal options, please contact us at (408) 404-8656 or fill out our online form.