Our firm guides and represents its clients through every stage of a divorce proceeding.
We dedicate a major focus of our family law practice to helping clients with matters of divorce law. We know that ending a marriage can be a trying period for you and your family while also providing a source of hope for a brighter tomorrow. Through our services, we aim to help you realize that brighter tomorrow by giving you the counsel and support needed to navigate the process with confidence.
Filing a Divorce Petition
The first formal step in ending a marriage is the filing of a divorce petition with the local court that maintains jurisdiction where you reside. California is a no-fault divorce state, which means that parties to a divorce cannot assign blame to one spouse or the other through the petition or response.
Rather, a spouse may file for a divorce due to a partner’s incurable insanity or because of other irreconcilable differences. Despite its label, irreconcilable differences refer to a low standard that could include a variety of reasons, both big and small, that equate to a marriage being beyond repair. Some examples of irreconcilable differences may be:
- Cheating or adultery
- A spouse’s debt or other liabilities
- Other financial disagreements or concerns
- Conflict over lifestyle decisions
- A spouse’s simple desire to no longer be married
Only one spouse must claim the existence of irreconcilable differences to proceed with a divorce. In other words, the other spouse does not also have to agree to end the marriage.
How Long Does It Take to Finalize a Divorce?
Regardless of the amount of conflict between spouses, California mandates that a divorce cannot become final until after at least a six-month cooling-off period, once you file the petition. This rule is in place to give the parties a reasonable amount of time to fully decide that a divorce is what they want. During those six months, the spouses, with their legal counsel, attempt to negotiate and reach an agreement on key terms of their divorce.
Are There Other Requirements to File a Divorce Petition in California?
As a no-fault state, the only true requirement that California places on a married person’s ability to file for divorce in the state is residency. Generally, you or your spouse must have six months of California residency prior to filing for divorce, including three months of residency in the county of the court where you intend to file the petition.
Negotiating Key Divorce Terms
While petitioning the court is a major milestone, it is only the beginning of our divorce law services. Your next step will be to navigate important discussions with your spouse about the resolution of items necessary to end the marriage. Sometimes spouses can reach an agreement through their legal representation about those terms in what is known as a no-contest divorce.
The extent of these discussions will generally depend on the length of the marriage and how commingled your finances are, amongst other factors. In any case, our attorneys are available to negotiate on your behalf and provide counsel on your rights under the law when it comes to key divorce terms.
Division of Property and Spousal Support
California is a community property state, which means that the law assumes that property acquired during the marriage belongs to both spouses equally. Conversely, the law views property acquired prior to the marriage as separate. We help clients identify and classify marital and separate assets to ensure they receive fair value when dividing property.
Related to the issue of property division is spousal support. We provide clients with input on the availability of support based on the law and relevant facts.
Child Custody, Visitation, and Support
If you share any children with your spouse, then those related rights and obligations will become an important part of the divorce process. Matters of child custody, visitation, and support are generally formalized through a court-approved, written agreement known as a parenting plan.
Representation at Divorce Hearings and Other Court Appearances
If a no-contest divorce is unlikely because you and your spouse disagree over key terms, then such decisions may require court intervention. We provide the necessary representation during hearings or other court appearances to advocate for your position on certain terms during a contested divorce.
Seeking Modification of a Divorce Order or Settlement
Sometimes a court order finalizing a divorce is not the end of the story. Terms of a divorce can often be subject to future changes in you or your ex-spouse’s circumstances. When this happens, you may need to pursue a modification of the divorce order or settlement agreement. Some life events that may necessitate or warrant a divorce modification are:
- Substantial changes in income or net worth
- Major medical events
- Changes in your children’s needs
- Information unknown at the time of divorce (e.g., a failed asset disclosure)
Consult with a Divorce Law Attorney at GAJP, P.C. Today
Our attorneys at GAJP, P.C. leverage their 25 years of combined experience to provide the firm’s clients throughout Northern California with real, effective results when it comes to their matters of divorce law. With offices in Roseville and San Francisco, we always welcome the opportunity to meet with prospective clients to discuss their needs and to see how our firm may be able to assist.
Schedule your consultation with one of our divorce law attorneys today.