Considering Filing for Divorce in California?
Contact Our San Jose Divorce Attorney for a Free Consultation
A divorce may raise a lot of questions and cause a great disruption in your life. Anyone who has been through a divorce can tell you that the decision alone is difficult. The divorce process is one of the most stressful experiences that a person may ever go through. However, once they came out on the other side, free from the constraints of an irreconcilable relationship, they were much happier for undergoing it.
Making the decision to divorce your spouse is stressful, but hiring a divorce lawyer does not have to be. Choose someone who will not only represent you and your best interests, but you can also rely on and trust. An experienced divorce lawyer can offer you support through expert advice and guidance through divorce proceedings. You do not have to do it alone!
Hiring a divorce attorney will help you best protect your loved ones as well as your livelihood. San Jose divorce attorney Nick Cvietkovich utilizes his broad legal experience, which spans across several areas, including family law and criminal law, to provide the best representation possible for his clients.
What Are California’s Community Property Laws?
California law states that “community property” is any asset (car, house, etc) or income incurred while married. Assets received as a gift or inheritance are the only exceptions. Property acquired before marriage is “separate property.” The court does not include it.
If a prenuptial agreement was not signed before marriage, then the court determines the couple’s community property. Then, the court generally divides the property equally during the divorce proceedings. The court usually determines this by the total net worth – or fair market value – of all combined property. California state law does not enforce “in kind” division of property. This means there is no division of each physical item.
For example, if the couple has no children, then the house will be sold and its value included in the final property net worth total. But, if the couple has minor children, one parent may inherit the residence while the other inherits the family business or a car.
You should also be aware of any “quasi-community property” that exists between you. Any real estate purchased outside of California by either spouse is quasi-community property. If you or your spouse have this type of property, then your divorce settlement will not include it as community property.
Was your spouse enrolled in a pension, retirement, or other benefit program while you were married? Any accumulated interest during the marriage is community property. However, if your spouse was enrolled in one (or more) of these programs prior to marriage, then it is not considered community property.
Can I Get Divorced in San Jose?
California only allows “no fault divorce.” This means that an individual can file for divorce based on “irreconcilable differences” even if one party wants to stay in the relationship.
To legally dissolve your marriage, you must provide proof of residence in California. You must have lived in California for at least six months before filing for divorce.
What Is the Divorce Process in San Jose?
Depending on your situation, you may be able to opt for a simpler divorce process. This proceeding does not involve an appearance before a judge. It involves coming to an agreement with your spouse about how to split everything. You may qualify for this type of divorce if your marriage:
- Has limited property involved;
- Has lasted for five years or less; and/or,
- Does not have children or real estate.
If you do not qualify for this limited approach, a typical divorce proceeding goes as follows:
- A spouse (the respondent) files a petition for divorce. The other spouse is served with the petition. Then, the other spouse has 30 days to respond.
- If children and/or domestic violence are involved, the respondent can request an “Order to Show Cause” hearing. During this hearing, a judge can grant temporary custody or a restraining order, if necessary.
- Once the divorce proceedings are underway, you and your spouse will exchange relevant information (including income and expense incursions), discuss all forms of property and how it will be divided. This process is “the discovery.”
- Upon completion of the discovery, you and your spouse (along with your respective divorce attorneys) may come to an agreement to determine a settlement. One or both attorneys will draft a contract called a “Marital Settlement Agreement” which each spouse will then sign.
- After both spouses sign the settlement, one or both attorneys will draft another court document called a “Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage” which contains all agreements and court instructions. Each spouse gets a copy and the original is filed away for official use.
In either type of proceeding, it takes around six months to finalize. Further, if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on all issues, then a trial will have to take place.
Questions? Contact a San Jose Divorce Attorney for a Confidential Case Review
Are you or someone you know getting a divorce? The divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich are here to help during this troublesome time. With their combined expertise, passion, and experience your divorce arbitration is sure to go smoothly- allowing you more time to get back to your life. Contact us today at (408) 404-8656 or fill out our online contact form.