Facing the prospect of a divorce may be daunting. Not only are you experiencing the emotional toll of a breakup, but you may also be worried about your future finances and the well-being of your children. You shouldn’t also have to stress about navigating California’s complicated divorce laws on your own.

Our experienced and compassionate Woodland, California, divorce lawyers at Pakpour Banks LLP, is here to help you during this stressful time. We develop relationships with our clients and always keep their needs at the forefront of our representation. We provide reasonable, caring, and cost-effective advocacy for all of our clients. 

California Divorce Requirement

Every state has some preliminary requirements that you must meet before filing for divorce. Under California law, you must fulfill California residency requirements and have a legal reason for a divorce. 

California Residency Requirements

The first step in a divorce is ensuring you fulfill California’s residence requirements. These requirements permit California courts to have jurisdiction over your divorce. The court will dismiss your case if you do not meet the following criteria: 

  • You or your spouse must be a resident of California for at least six months, and
  • You or your spouse must be a resident of the county where you file the divorce for at least three months.

Your or your spouse’s residence time in the state and county must be for the specified periods before you can file for the divorce. There are slightly different ways of calculating residence time for active duty service members. It would be best if you spoke with a Woodland, California, divorce lawyer for questions about military divorce. 

Legal Grounds for Divorce in California

You’ll also have to show that you have a legal reason or “grounds” for a divorce in California. California’s grounds for divorce are:

  • Irreconcilable differences, and
  • Permanent mental incapacity.

“Irreconcilable differences” is California’s no-fault grounds for divorce. California is primarily a no-fault divorce state. This means you don’t have to blame either spouse for the end of the marriage. You simply must state that the marital relationship has broken down and is not capable of reconciliation.  

If you allege permanent mental incapacity, you must prove that your spouse legally can’t make decisions. You’ll likely need a medical expert to prove this allegation.

Marriage Nullification

Perhaps you’d like to nullify your marriage instead of getting a divorce. You can ask a California court to nullify or void your marriage under certain circumstances, including the following:

  • Bigamy,
  • Incest,
  • Unsound mind,
  • A spouse wasn’t of the legal age to consent,
  • Force,
  • Fraud, and
  • Physical incapacity.

You must be able to prove your reason for the nullification to a judge through the presentation of credible evidence. If you are considering whether to divorce or nullify your marriage, speak with a Woodland divorce attorney

Divorce Waiting Period

Although you may feel that your marriage happened relatively quickly, divorce doesn’t operate in the same manner. Even if you and your spouse agree to all of the terms of the divorce quickly, California law has a mandatory six-month waiting period before a court will issue a divorce decree. This six-month waiting period starts on either the date the filing spouse serves the other spouse with the divorce petition or the date that the other spouse appears in the case, whichever is first. 

Division of Marital Assets

One of the issues that can cause a great deal of conflict in a divorce is the division of assets. California is a community property state. That means that most property, including debts, acquired by either spouse during the marriage is jointly owned by both spouses. 

Separate property is not considered community property. Separate property includes the following:

  • Property that either spouse acquired before the marriage;
  • Property acquired by one spouse from an inheritance;
  • Property acquired by one spouse as an individual gift; and
  • Profits, rents, or royalties from a spouse’s separate property.

In a divorce, the court will first split the couple’s estate into separate and community property. Then, the court will divide the community property equally between the spouses.

If you are concerned about whether your separate property will be assessed as community property, you should consult with a Woodland, California, divorce lawyer about a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.  

Spousal Support

Spousal support or alimony is another hotly contested issue in a divorce. Spousal support is a court order for one spouse to pay the other a certain amount to cover their monthly expenses. The court can order temporary spousal support while the divorce is pending and long-term spousal support after the divorce is final. 

Not all divorces include spousal support. Whether a court will order long-term spousal support largely depends on the length of the marriage and whether one spouse makes significantly more money than the other. The court will examine a number of factors to determine whether a spouse should pay support, including:

  • The length of the marriage,
  • The age and health of each spouse,
  • Each spouse’s income and earning capacity,
  • The standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage,
  • Whether one spouse needs time to gain employment or education,
  • The impact of child-rearing on the income potential of each spouse, and
  • Any history of abuse.

A court limits spousal support to a reasonable period. But regardless of the period set by the court, the support obligation generally ends when the recipient spouse remarries or when either spouse dies. 

Child Custody and Support

A divorce decree also addresses child custody and child support if the spouses share children. The spouses can agree to various forms of custody, such as joint or shared custody. But if the couple cannot agree, the court will make custody decisions based on the children’s best interest

A court determines child support based on the custody arrangements and income differences between the spouses. California’s Child Support Services calculator can help you estimate potential child support payments. 

Contact Our Compassionate and Skilled Woodland Divorce Attorneys

Pakpour Banks LLP has experienced attorneys who practice Woodland divorce law. These professionals understand that divorce is one of the most difficult things a person can go through. Therefore, we lead with compassion as we work aggressively to ensure that our clients’ needs are met. We are good negotiators and will strive to work things out without going to court. But if the case needs to go to trial, we will be ready to protect your rights. Contact us today. Se habla español.