If you are ending a marriage or domestic partnership, it is emotional enough without having to figure out the courts on your own. I can help you fight for what is important to you in a divorce. I encourage my clients to be open and honest about all assets. This is because there can be severe penalties for hiding property from the other spouse or partner.
Is Summary Dissolution an Option?
Summary Dissolution is an option for short marriages with little to no assets. However, it only works for relationships shorter than 5 years. And, you must not have children together. In theory, summary dissolution is easier and less expensive. I don’t suggest summary dissolution even if you quality. You need to complete all financial disclosures before filing the divorce. I worked on a summary dissolution in one case. It would have been easier to just file for divorce.
What if I have children?
If you have children, you are going to have to deal with child custody and support issues. This is because you can’t waive your child support obligations. Child support is based on the children’s needs. I recommend parents start by going to mediation. Through mediation you learn to work together from the start. If you do agree, you will have a detailed plan to submit to the court. If you come to an agreement on child support, you can include that too. You can agree to any amount of child support if together you meet your children’s needs.
Is the Divorce process any different for same-sex couples?
There is no separate thing called gay divorce in California. Many gay or lesbian couples are both registered domestic partners and married. You can dissolve your domestic partnership and end your marriage in one divorce filing. The length of the domestic partnership is just as important as the length of the marriage. If you were domestic partners for 2 years and then got married and separated two years later, you would list both the date of forming the domestic partnership and the date of marriage and then finally the date of separation. The total length of the relationship would be four years. For retirement accounts courts may not be able to consider your time as domestic partners. Federal law still does not recognize domestic partnerships.
What is the traditional divorce process?
To start a divorce you need to file a petition for dissolution and summons. You then need to serve your spouse personally with the forms. The next step is exchanging financial disclosures. In simple cases, clients waive final disclosures. I help clients reach an agreement whenever I can. The agreement is commonly known as a marital settlement agreement or MSA. I file the MSA with some additional judgment forms. When the court approves everything, they enter a judgment of divorce. To learn more, read my post The 8 Steps of an Uncontested Divorce.
Can’t I do it all myself?
It is tempting to think you can handle everything yourself. It seems expensive to pay for a San Diego Divorce Attorney. However, doing things yourself takes a lot of time. Plus you will also have many questions as you go. An attorney answers your questions throughout the process. I can advise you on your case, but only if you hire me. There are many things to learn. California community property rules are confusing. Your spouse may file for spousal support. Or you may need child support.
In my blog post on divorce resources, I link to a few useful websites that will help you. If you have children, think of the impact your actions can have on them. I am here to help when you decide to hire me. In a recent blog post I explain 5 Reasons you Should File Divorce Right Away.