Divorce or Dissolution Actions
Divorce or Dissolution Actions
Not every divorce requires a lawyer, but if you are looking for a Divorce attorney, one of a number of things has happened:
• Your spouse hired a divorce lawyer.
• There will be a custody battle for the children.
• You are afraid of being taken advantage of.
• You need to protect your financial assets and your professional business.
• You require a post-Judgment modification.
• You are in fear for your life and need a restraining order.
Divorce is never easy, but for you, the stakes are especially high. You need an experienced family law attorney to explain what is happening legally and why, so that you can prepare for the process. You need a team of seasoned professionals who understand your business and financial needs. You need an attorney who will partner with you to help you achieve an equitable resolution and most importantly, closure. Our approach to family law comes from a place of reasonableness. Our family law attorney has helped enough clients through a divorce to understand that this is a “no win” situation for anyone. We offer flexibility to devise an individualized approach for your specific family law case which addresses your precise needs, issues and fears. However, being reasonable doesn’t mean that we won’t fight for you- we will. With years of Big Firm experience and the benefit of Small Firm agility, we will be your advocate and champion throughout this process so that you are able to arrive at the end with your sanity intact, your finances secure, and your family mending.
Can I Handle My Divorce on My Own?
Family Law court system is built to be accessible to non-lawyers but dissolution actions can be legally intensive and may require a great deal of paperwork to file, appearances to make and information to gather. It can be daunting and stressful- something you don’t need in the midst of the most stressful time of your life.
What is the Difference Between Dissolution and Divorce?
In California, the terms dissolution of marriage and divorce are interchangeable and California is a no-fault state, meaning that the court will not make a finding of wrongdoing against either spouse. Dissolution of marriage (or “no fault divorce”) can be granted if the court finds there are “Irreconcilable differences” that have caused the breakdown of the marriage. This means that if one spouse wishes to end your marriage, he or she can do so, even if the other spouse disagrees.
What are the Requirements to Get Divorced in California?
Residency requirements state that in order to qualify for dissolution of marriage or a divorce, one of you must have been a resident of California for six continuous months and a resident of the county in which you are filing for three continuous months prior to the filing of the Family Law Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage. The Petitioner is the spouse requesting the divorce or dissolution. The Respondent is the spouse being served with the Summons and Petition. A minimum period of six months must transpire for the divorce to be granted and the marriage to be terminated, once the Respondent is served with the Summons and Petition.
California is a community property state. All property that was acquired during the marriage, including your home, income, and personal property is presumptively considered community to be property and will be divided equally by the court. The court will also equally divide any debts acquired during the marriage. Any property that was acquired before marriage, after the date of separation, or by bequest or inheritance is presumptively the separate property of the spouse who acquired it.
A typical dissolution of marriage or divorce requires the following steps and we will be right there with you every step of the way:
- The Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage is filed and personally served on the Respondent.
- The Respondent has thirty days to file a Response to Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage.
- Request temporary court orders by filing for an Order to Show Cause hearing. At this hearing, the judge can make temporary awards of child custody, child and or spousal support, attorney’s fees, or property orders, if appropriate.
- The discovery process begins, and both spouses exchange financial information and documents that are relevant to the case. The Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure is mandatory for both sides. This is a court form in which each of you lists the community and separate property, provide estimates of value for each asset and debt, exchange current income and expense declarations setting forth employment earnings and personal expense information.
- Other forms of discovery are form interrogatories, special interrogatories, demands for inspection of dowments or things, requests for admission and depositions (oral examination under penalty of perjury).
- Both spouses have a fiduciary obligation to the other to provide financial information to the other upon demand. Discovery is an on-going process until the dissolution case is almost ready for trial. If the parties are in agreement, then a settlement has been reached.
- Once discovery is largely complete, settlement of the case can be discussed. If the case is resolved by agreement, one of the attorneys will prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement, which will contain all of the terms of the agreement. This is a contract that is signed by you and your lawyers.
- If you do not agree on all of the issues in the case, a trial will take place.
- After both of you sign the Marital Settlement Agreement or after the trial has concluded, one of the attorneys will prepare a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. This is the document that contains all of the court’s orders. The judgment is filed and the court mails a Notice of Entry of Judgment to each attorney. This means the divorce has been finalized.
Divorce Frequently Asked Questions
Contact Us for a Complimentary Intake Interview of your California Divorce or Dissolution Action by calling our Sacramento office at 916-851-1900 or emailing Family Law attorney, Neil Forester, Certified Family Law Specialist* & Head of Goyette & Associates Family Law Division.*Consultations with Mr. Forester will be billed at his hourly rate
Goyette & Associates is able to provide our Family Law Services to all of California, with a focus on El Dorado County including Placerville and El Dorado Hills , Placer County including Granite Bay, Roseville, Rocklin, Loomis, Auburn and Penryn; Sacramento County including Folsom and Sacramento; Nevada County including Tahoe, Truckee, Nevada City and Grass Valley; San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties.
* Certified Family Law Specialist – California Board of Legal Specialization