The Divorce Process
Divorces in California include not only ending the marital status, but also, custody, support, debt division, asset division, and property division.
How to choose the right family law attorney for you
Every family law attorney is different and unique. While the bones of your matter might stay the same, choosing the best family law lawyer is important. In general, making sure you find an attorney who hears and understands you and your matter are crucial to a smooth divorce process.
Where to Start
Talk to family law lawyers, have a list of questions you want answered, and be ready to take notes. Here at Tierney Law Group, PC, we encourage our clients to seek out multiple opinions, finding the right family law attorney is important and our goal is to find clients who will benefit from our services and personalities. We pride ourselves in serving the Bay Area and East Bay with compassion and understanding – we know you are going through one of the toughest times in your life, and we are here to help you.
Legal Separation or Divorce?
Legal separation is an interesting concept, on it’s own it doesn’t offer much. What legal separation does do, is define a date when community property laws in California can end (provided some basic rules are followed). Do you need to do a legal separation in California if you are considering divorce? The short answer, is no. In order to file for a legal separation, you must pay a fee, usually around $450 just for the filing fee. Clients who are considering divorce but want to avoid that fee, can take steps to separate from their current spouse and become separated (moving into a different bedroom in the house, moving out of the house, changing how finances are handled, ending sexual relations, etc. – consult one of our Bay Area attorneys for a consultation to explain further), following some of these guidelines, couples can separate without having the pay the legal fee.
In terms of Divorce, California law requires six months and one day, at minimum, to finalize a divorce. That means, if you have made up your mind that you want a divorce, you must file and pay the associated fee, to start the clock on the divorce process.
You might have separated from your spouse months ago, should you still file a legal separation? Likely it is not necessary. If you’ve separated and you’re ready to file for divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney in the Bay Area to guide you through the process.
Steps After Filing
Once you’ve filed for divorce, if you’ve used an experienced Bay Area family law attorney, you can sit back and let them guide you. The next step is within thirty days, you’ll need to file your preliminary declarations of disclosure. Preliminary declarations of disclosure are documents where you disclose finances, assets and debts, to your current spouse. In return, your current spouse will have to provide the same information back to you.
Usually after preliminary declarations of disclosure, negotiation will begin. If you and your current spouse are agreeable to some or all items relevant in the divorce, you can start, with the help of your family law attorney, agreeing and drafting a marital settlement agreement.
If your current spouse and you cannot agree on some or all of the items relevant in divorce, this is the step where courts can begin to be involved.
Your family law attorney will assist you in filing motions, preparing you for mediation, and attending hearings with you.
Once things are worked out, if the six months and one day have passed, a judgment can be completed by your family law attorney and then submitted to the court. Once the court reviews the judgment paperwork, a judge will sign it and your divorce is complete.
This is a basic guide to the divorce process, in it’s simplest form. Check out our other articles for an in depth look at what may come up along the way.
If you have questions, give us a call to talk to an experienced family law attorney today.
Katlin N. Law
Attorney at Tierney Law Group, PC