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Divorce is the legal process by which individuals end their marriage. The legal dissolution of a marriage in California involves detailed processes which must be fulfilled to obtain a court judgment to terminate the relationship. As an area of family law, divorce often involves highly emotional situations and financial concerns, especially when children are involved. A divorce case may involve child custody and support, spousal support, property division, and litigation when matters are contested. Legal guidance is critical for protecting your rights and obtaining the outcome that best suits the needs of your unique family.

Initiating a Divorce in California

There are legal requirements when initiating a divorce in California. First, there is a residency requirement to consider. To obtain a divorce in California, one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. Additionally, one of the spouses must have lived in the county for at least three months. Next, the Petition for Dissolution must be filed. This paperwork includes basic information and a financial disclosure statement. Both spouses are required to identify all assets. After the other spouse is served with the divorce papers, there is a general waiting period. This gives that spouse time to respond and file their forms with the court. There are many elements to consider when dissolving a marriage. If any element is not completed appropriately or within the allotted timeframe, the implications may negatively affect the entire family for a long time. A skilled divorce attorney can effectively and efficiently advocate for your interest in a divorce.

Complex and High Asset Divorce

When couples have significant assets or complicated financial matters, the process of property division, spousal support, child custody and support must be handled carefully. Skilled guidance is critical to protect your rights during the process of evaluating and dividing complex assets such as businesses, investment portfolios, intellectual property, inheritances, trusts, retirement accounts, vehicles, art, jewelry, and real estate. This may include enforcing a prenuptial agreement to identify separate property from marital community property assets. Accurate financial disclosures are necessary. Each of the divorcing spouses must detail all streams of revenue and financial resources, including expense accounts, passive income, and work allowances. This may require investigations if there is a suspected attempt by the other spouse to hide assets. High net worth divorce clients may also need to consider the tax implications in the property division process.  

Contested Divorce and Divorce Litigation

Contested divorce refers to a divorce in which the parties are unable to agree on one or more issues, such as property division, alimony, child custody, or child support. In these cases, the parties may need to go to court and have a judge make decisions on their behalf. This process is known as divorce litigation, which can be long, costly, and emotionally taxing for all involved as it may involve the attorney gathering evidence, and possibly going through multiple court hearings. In some cases, litigation may be necessary to protect the rights and interests of the parties. An experienced attorney can guide you through the legal system, help evaluate the best course of action for your unique situation and be a strong legal advocate for your best interests.

Uncontested, No-Asset Divorce

An uncontested divorce is a type of divorce where both parties have agreed on the terms of the divorce, such as division of assets and custody arrangements. An attorney can guide you through the process and filing of the Marital Settlement Agreement to ensure a smooth end to the marriage. This type of divorce can result in a quicker and less costly divorce process, as there is no need for lengthy court battles over contested issues. A no-asset divorce is a type of uncontested divorce where there are no assets or debts that need to be divided between the parties. Because California considers property obtained during the marriage to be owned by both parties, it is important to identify assets that may be community property. This type of divorce may be a good option for couples who are able to reach a mutual agreement on the terms of their divorce and want to avoid the time and expense of a contested divorce.

Divorce Issues for Parents of Minor Children

One of the primary legal issues in a divorce involving minor children is child custody, which refers to the legal right to make decisions about a child's upbringing, including where they will live and how they will be raised. Physical custody details the child’s living arrangements, and legal custody identifies the parent who will make decisions about the child's upbringing. Another important legal issue for the divorcing parents of minor children is child support. This financial support is paid by one parent to the other to help cover the costs of raising the child. Child support is calculated based on many factors, including the income of both parents and the needs of the child. Additional consideration must also be given to dividing property, paying legal fees, and making arrangements for spousal support which can all affect young children.

Seek Assistance from a Skilled Divorce Attorney

If you are considering divorce, contact the experienced family law attorneys at the Law Office of Robert M. Baskin. Call (805) 658-1000 to arrange your initial consultation. We have decades of experience helping clients like you with a wide range of legal matters. We are dedicated to delivering high quality legal services to individuals and families in Ventura County and throughout California.

Divorce Information Sheet Divorce Info Sheet 2023.pdf