California is a community property state, which means that divorcing couples share their marital or community property equally as well as their debts. While property division is a major focal point, every divorce is unique and even a seemingly simple process can become confusing.
If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, here are 10 things you should know as you face your Riverside and San Bernardino Counties divorce.
First, you must confirm that you are eligible to file for an Riverside and San Bernardino Counties divorce. At the time of filing, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of California for at least six months. In addition, if you plan to file in Riverside or San Bernardino Counties County, one of you must have lived in this county for at least three months. However, you do not have to provide a reason for ending your marriage since all California divorces are considered “no-fault.”
The person who files for divorce is the petitioner. He or she must serve the other party, the respondent, with a copy of the petition and any other relevant documents. A respondent who wishes to file a response has 30 days in which to do so and must provide a copy to the petitioner.
You and your spouse will exchange financial information, a process called the preliminary declaration of disclosure. This is essentially a listing of all the assets you own and the debts that you owe. The declaration helps in determining how to divide marital property and debt fairly.
Once you and your spouse list your marital property, a value must be assigned to each item. In some instances, as in determining the value of a home or family business, you may have to engage the services of a professional such as a business or real estate appraiser.
The court always bases its determinations concerning child custody and support on the best interests of the children. A judge takes a number of factors into account, including but not limited to the following:
The amount of child support the judge orders should cover food, clothing and shelter; childcare and healthcare costs; travel costs for the purpose of visitation and extracurricular activity expenses.
In California, spousal support can either be temporary or permanent. Factors the court consider include but are not limited to these:
Litigation is often lengthy, contentious and very expensive. Mediation is a divorce option that has gained in popularity because it is a private process that takes place away from the courtroom in more relaxed surroundings. It is therefore less stressful than a divorce in court and is usually a much faster and less expensive process. Cooperation is key. If you and your spouse feel you can work together to create a successful divorce agreement, you can meet with a trained mediator who assists in overcoming sticking points and guides you in working out terms.
Collaborative divorce is an option similar to mediation. You and your spouse work toward a mutually satisfactory divorce agreement with the help of your respective attorneys and outside professionals such as an accountant, a financial consultant and a child custody specialist.
Since social media is so much a part of our everyday lives, a word of caution is in order: Avoid posting anything on social media concerning your divorce. Any information you put up for the world to see can have a negative impact on your case. Furthermore, do not delete any previous posts, tweets or pictures because the court may interpret this as an effort to destroy evidence, which is illegal.
Sometimes people make decisions in the heat of the moment that ultimately are not for the best. Before you serve your spouse as the petitioner in a divorce action, think about what went wrong in your marriage and consider the consequences of parting ways, especially when children are involved. Before you begin your Riverside or San Bernardino Counties County divorce proceedings, be sure this is what you want. If you wish to proceed, the Michelanne Hrubic family law legal team in Riverside is standing by to help. Reach us online or by phone at 951-888-0631 to arrange a consultation.
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