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Divorce Processes in California: Before, During, and After

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

The Crucial Steps Of Filing Divorce Claims In California

Family law is a broad area that encompasses far more than divorce, and it's important to realize that not every Family Law Attorney would be able to provide you with the expert advice and help you need when dealing with family law issues like paternity claims or domestic violence cases.

A California Family Lawyer will be prepared to support you regardless of the stage of your family's life, as these conflicts are sometimes emotional and often complex matters that can have long-term consequences for you and your loved ones.

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It's Easier to Have a Simplified Divorce When Everybody Agrees

California requires couples who meet certain conditions to experience a streamlined divorce to simplify the divorce process for newly married couples. Couples must file a Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage to do so. While a simplified divorce is quick and easy, it might not be the best option for everyone.

California Simplified Divorce

Both partners must meet several conditions to apply for a simpler divorce in California, including:

  • Both partners must accept that the marriage is over.

  • Both partners must agree on how the property will be divided.

  • There may or may not be any small children in the marriage.

  • Neither partner must own a substantial amount of real estate or land.

When considering a streamlined divorce, it's important to understand all of the legal provisions and ensure that the settlements reached are legal and equitable to all parties. As a result, many people want to enlist the assistance of an experienced solicitor who can guide them through the process.

  • The Divorce Process

    • Divorce is a lengthy procedure, and you may have several questions about what happens after you file for divorce. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get through this tough time.

  • Divorce Petition (Petition for Divorce)

    • You will usually need to file a petition to start the divorce process. This document will recognize you, your partner, and any children you might have in common. There must be a justification for the divorce at all times.

    • Most divorce cases say that you and your partner have "irreconcilable differences" or are "incompatible." You will serve the divorce papers in a variety of ways. They can be served to your partner by a sheriff or a professional who specializes in serving divorce petitions.

  • Orders for Divorce

    • Divorce orders will specify what must be finalized for the divorce to be finalized. These orders cover various topics, including child support obligations, custody, and spousal support.

  • Divorce Details

    • Divorce discovery varies by state and normally takes up most of the divorce proceedings. The aim of this phase of the divorce is to collect information from both parties. Bank statements and income statements are examples of information.

    • Since one party might be afraid to give up too much personal information for such a case, this stage of the divorce may also be the longest.

  • Court of Divorce

    • If mediation fails, the case will be taken to divorce court. A judge will hear the unresolved argument. You will present your case to a judge at this point. The judge would then decide how to proceed with the divorce based on the facts and documentation gathered during the divorce discovery process.

  • Bringing the Divorce to a Close

  • Objecting to a Court Order

    • If you are dissatisfied with the final divorce settlement, you can file a petition for appeal. You'll file your appeal with the judge who handled your divorce case. Keep in mind that the more money you have and the more children you have, the longer the divorce will take.

What is Collaborative Divorce, and how does it work?

Collaborative divorce is a relatively new way to end a relationship. This form of divorce, which was established in the early 1990s, is focused on the divorcing partners and their respective California Family Lawyer mutually agreeing on a divorce arrangement that both parties consider to be equitable.

Instead of focusing on lawsuits and court orders, all members of the couple and each of their Family Attorney plan to work cooperatively to settle the situation in joint divorce. This assists the couple in reaching an amicable agreement without the usual adversarial situations and reducing the trauma of an invariably challenging situation.

The divorce terms are finalized when both parties consent to the Participation Agreement, which states that the divorcing spouses:

  • Come up with settlement options.

  • Avoid getting into a legal fight.

  • Ensure that all divorce-related conversations are kept private.

  • Private and confidential

  • Make all related process information available to the public.

  • Are granted complete control over the situation

  • Determine their divorce-related goals and/or desires.

  • The Agreement will also likely include conversations about economics, parenting, and mental health.

A Collaborative Approach

Since a collaborative divorce does not rely on litigation, the best interests of the divorcing couple are actually at the center of the process. The Los Angeles Family Lawyer in charge of the process aren't driven by a desire to see their clients get the bulk of their money, properties, and finances. Rather, if the couple has children, they work together to ensure the whole family's resolution benefits. The collective divorce process is characterized by cooperation.

Participation Agreement in Collaborative Divorce

Each party signs a participation agreement during a collaborative divorce that specifies the terms of the negotiations, which include:

Discussions will be conducted in a non-adversarial, positive, and equitable manner.

The emphasis of the talks will be on the best interests of the couple's children (if any) and maintaining a healthy relationship between and parent and child. Each California Family Lawyer will work with their client to negotiate a fair settlement for both parties.

After the negotiation, none of the California Family Lawyers can be involved in the proceedings if either of the spouses wishes to seek litigation. Many couples end their marriage happily and collaboratively, both for their own sake and for the sake of their children. If you want to explore this option, we recommend speaking with a Los Angeles Family Law Attorney.

Collaboration is commonly regarded as the healthiest and most advantageous divorce choice. Since it prevents contentious litigation, the partnership often avoids the potential for acrimony that may occur in traditional divorce proceedings. The California Family Law Litigation Lawyer for each side hopes to assist the pair in the following ways:

  • Assist with both emotional and financial needs

  • Allow for a minimum of financial and emotional stress during the divorce process

  • Provide assistance in meeting the needs of children, if any exist, through reciprocal agreements between the couple

  • To keep the proceedings civil, keep the dispute to a minimum

  • Ensure that the couple's post-divorce relationship is secure

  • First and foremost, both legal counsels want to hold a constructive, optimistic, and fair hearing

4 Stages of Divorce

When a couple realizes their marriage isn't working and decides to split, they should be well-informed about the steps of the divorce process and how they will be affected before, during, and after the divorce.

To face their new life head-on, all couples who decide to end their relationship should become acquainted with the four stages of divorce.

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  • Accept the End of Your Relationship

    • Coming to terms with the fact that the marriage is truly over may come as a shock to some, but it can be a blessing to others. If you're in the first party, feelings of helplessness and fear are normal at this point after a divorce. It's also normal to have ideas about how you might have saved the marriage, such as mediation or therapy. However, rather than focusing on the what-ifs, it is preferable to focus on what is to come.

  • Consult with a California Family Lawyer

    • This is where the California Divorce Lawyer can come in handy. Your legal consultation will cover topics such as court or hearing procedures, proper court etiquette, the reason(s) for the divorce, circumstances that your spouse's counsel could use against you, and more. The consultation's aim is to help you set goals that will help you in the courtroom. When divorce proceedings begin, your California Family Law Attorney will be an invaluable friend, as he or she will do everything possible to be an efficient California Family Lawyer for your case.

  • Disagreements with your ex-spouse should be resolved amicably.

    • The divorce is now officially over. Your assets have been dispersed, and your visitation rights with your children, if any, have been resolved. If you have children, however, you and your ex-spouse are inextricably linked by them. It's important not to make the situation about you and your partner. Instead, for the sake of your children, work out your differences. If you have shared custody, remember that your partner has the same rights to see his or her children as you do.

  • Now is the time to move on.

    • The most difficult part is over, and it's time to begin again. It's not unusual for a former wife to keep her marital surname if she wishes. However, if you want to reclaim your maiden name as a way to move forward, it's easier to do so after a divorce. If your spouse has moved out, finding a new place to live can be daunting at first, but it can help you get back on your feet. It would also benefit you if you make new friends or keep the ones you have with your partner.

Motions for Divorce

Irreconcilable disagreements may put a couple in a deadlock, necessitating the use of a judge to decide the terms of their divorce settlement. During this time, a couple's attorneys would often file "motions" attempting to resolve a specific point of contention.

If you're getting ready for a contentious divorce, talk to a professional and knowledgeable solicitor about handling a case that's about to go to trial. A Los Angeles Family Lawyer will help you better understand your rights and take steps that can help you get a better result.

Common Divorce Disputes

A motion is a formal written appeal to the court asking for a ruling on a particular part of the case. The following are some of the problems that motions can resolve during a divorce:

  • Child Support

  • Insurance for health and life

  • Orders of Defense

  • Reimbursements

A temporary solution achieved through a successful motion may be able to facilitate the protection and well-being of all parties involved in certain cases. They can also play a role in bringing some important issues to light. Motions for proof, for example, can require one or both parties to agree to substance checks, physical assessments, or mental health evaluations.

Any people may refuse to take part in these tests of their own volition. As a result, a court order might be required to obtain the proof needed to prove critical facts in your case. The findings may have an effect on both provisional orders and final divorce settlements.

Irreconcilable Differences

According to divorce figures, almost 60% of divorces are pursued because of irreconcilable differences. Irreconcilable variations are a just and accepted cause of divorce in many jurisdictions, including California, and are commonly seen in no-fault divorce proceedings. Any dispute that the couple cannot or may not want to overcome to save their marriage is deemed irreconcilable.

In a case of irreconcilable disagreements, neither the husband nor the wife admits or recognizes blame for the breakup. If each party insists on blaming the other, this may lead to increased conflict and stress, resulting in a frayed and irreparable relationship. Irreconcilable differences may have a variety of causes, but some of them include:

  • Debt or bad spending habits are examples of financial issues

  • Trust has been shattered as a result of lies or the discovery of previously unknown knowledge

  • Emotional clashes

  • Separation over a long distance

  • Resentment for one another

The divorce process can be daunting on many levels, and if you do not have the guidance, counsel, and representation of an L.A. Family Law Attorney, a favorable outcome is impossible.

Multiple Divorces

Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States divorce their partners yearly. Marriage and divorce are common occurrences in many people's lives, and they may be planning their second, third, or even fourth divorce.

If you're divorcing for the second, third, or fourth time, you probably have many valid questions about how your past divorces will impact this one.

Consulting with an experienced Los Angeles Law Attorney may help you understand how the various divorce cases can affect one another and avoid making critical mistakes. If you or someone you know is considering divorce for the first time, you understand how important it is to have competent legal counsel.

Multiple Divorces Cause Complications

Unfortunately, past divorces can affect the current one in various ways, so getting an experienced California Divorce Lawyers on your side can be extremely beneficial. With multiple divorces, issues like child custody, finances, and property division can become more complicated.

With multiple divorces, there are a variety of difficult issues to consider, including:

  • Multiple alimony payments are possible.

  • Ownership disputes in vehicles and real estate

  • Assets are divided.

  • Custody and visitation schedules for children and stepchildren

  • The right to own money

  • Innocent unless proven guilty

A no-fault divorce is when neither party is expected to show that the other partner is at fault. This form of divorce is often attributed to irreconcilable differences or incompatibility.

In 1970, California was the first state to legalize no-fault divorce. Married couples seeking to end their marriage no longer need a justification for divorce other than "irreconcilable differences," according to the statute. But what does this mean for the divorce process? What effect will this have on the divorce settlement? Who would have custody of the children, for example, if there are any?

No-Fault Divorce

When filing for divorce in California, you do not need to show that your partner did anything wrong to justify the divorce. In California, fault-based divorces are prohibited, as are divorces that result from one partner committing an act that would serve as a justification for divorce, such as adultery.

Since California is a collective property state with no blame for divorces, all property obtained during the marriage is shared equitably in the divorce process unless a separate arrangement, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, exists.

The fault has no bearing on the property division, so it doesn't matter if there was a fault that led to the divorce. Furthermore, blame is not taken into account when deciding on spousal support because even though your partner was at fault for the divorce, you will still be required to pay spousal support.


This is the polar opposite of the no-fault type. In this case, one partner will explain why the other spouse is to blame for the marriage's demise. Some examples of such factors include, but are not limited to:

  1. Adultery

  2. Domestic abuse

  3. One of the partners' mental health issues

  4. One of the partners has committed an illegal act

The reasons for filing an at-fault claim differ by state. California is a no-fault jurisdiction, so making a fault-based claim is not a choice.

When a couple agrees that divorce is the best way to end their marriage's discontent, they rarely compromise on anything, including property division, debt distribution, alimony, and child custody and support.

And the advice of their individual Divorce Attorneys may not be enough to help them find a consensus in certain situations. A disputed divorce occurs when a divorce case must be brought to court for a final settlement.

The Reasons for Filing a Divorce Dispute

Divorces that are contested are normal since a court order is often the only way to resolve an ongoing conflict between the divorcing parties. Disagreements over the following topics can lead to a couple going to court to finalize their divorce:

  • Custody and visitation rights for children

  • Child maintenance and alimony fees

  • Land and loans are divided.

You will need to take your divorce to court if you and your partner have trouble making equitable terms in your divorce settlement. It is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles Family Lawyer on your side to assist you in reaching a fair and equitable settlement.

Legal Procedure for an Uncontested Divorce

Even though an uncontested divorce is less complicated than a contested divorce, there are still some legal pitfalls to be aware of. An experienced Los Angeles Divorce Attorney will assist you in protecting your rights and interests in the arbitration process, ensuring that you obtain a reasonable settlement.

When the couples are unable to resolve all of the above problems, a disputed divorce occurs, and third parties are forced to make a decision. When going through an uncontested divorce, it's important to have a California Family Lawyer you can rely on to represent you during mediation and settlement proceedings so that you can reach a reasonable agreement.

Our prescreened California Divorce Attorneys will work tirelessly on your behalf to achieve a favorable outcome in your case. We recognize the importance of a complete and equitable settlement for your post-divorce life, and we are prepared to provide you with the individualized legal representation you need.

Summary Divorce

And if you're getting divorced, there's a fair chance you've never heard of a summary divorce. A very specific form of divorce available in some jurisdictions makes the process much easier and less stressful.

Because of the essence of a summary divorce, there are a number of conditions that must be met before you can apply for one. However, if you qualify, it can save you a lot of time and money compared to a more conventional divorce.

The Fundamentals of a Summary Divorce

Summary divorce is a simple option available in some jurisdictions, including California, for couples with no children and few properties. Since these are typically the most contentious issues in a divorce, summary divorces avoid many of the most complicated aspects of a traditional divorce.

The following are the typical requirements for a summary divorce:

  • The relationship had to have lasted less than five years.

  • The couple did not have any children as a result of their union.

  • There is little to no real estate; that is, there is little to no real estate.

  • The total value of all assets is less than a certain amount, typically about $35,000.

  • Individual assets are below a certain limit, which is normally the same as the total assets.

If you apply for a summary divorce, you would have to deal with much less paperwork than you would for a conventional divorce. The hearings are usually much shorter and only include a few court appearances.

If you meet the requirements, you should seriously consider this form of divorce because it is much less costly and inconvenient.

Spousal Alimony

The court and both parties must address two primary issues when deciding spousal support in California. The first is the amount of support that will be provided, and the second is the length of time the support will be provided.

When it comes to deciding how long an individual must pay spousal support, California's family courts have a lot of leeways. Marriages of less than ten years must pay spousal support for half the duration of the marriage, according to a general rule of thumb that does not have to be enforced by the court.

It's anyone's guess how long the court will conclude spousal support is required in relationships that have lasted more than ten years. However, beginning in the late 1990s, courts began to relate the length of spousal support to a time of transition from married to single life. The courts began to disapprove of lifetime funding.

In addition to having a lot of say over the length of spousal support, the courts often have a lot of say over the amount of spousal support that must be charged monthly. Many counties have implemented rules that specify appropriate spousal support payments to limit the court's discretion.

When deciding on spousal assistance, the courts must weigh several laws. They must think about the following:

  • Individuals earning potential. This is used to decide if the parties can sustain their previous living standards after the divorce.

  • The degree to which the supported spouse assisted the supporting spouse in obtaining an education, training, a professional role, or a license.

  • The helping spouse's willingness to pay spousal support

  • The requirements of each party as determined by the marital standard of living

  • Each party's financial obligations and assets

  • The marriage's length

Information on Alimony

Marriage is, in part, a legally binding arrangement between two individuals to help each other financially. This duty will also apply if a couple wishes to divorce, and one partner will be obligated to support the other through alimony payments.

Some couples decide on alimony during the prenuptial and postnuptial settlements, while others decide on alimony during the divorce proceedings. When two people marry, they enter into a legally binding financial contract. This ensures that even if a couple chooses to split or divorce, they must continue to support each other financially through alimony.

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You are entitled to financial protection and a comfortable lifestyle if you have divorced and are awaiting alimony. You may be liable for increased alimony if your circumstances have changed. Your L.A. Divorce Lawyer might be willing to assist you if your circumstances have changed and you feel you now deserve more alimony than you are currently obtaining.

  • Divorce is a difficult procedure that has both social and legal implications. Child support, divorce decrees, and perhaps even restraining orders are examples of these. alimony is another problem that often arises in divorces.

  • Alimony is a straightforward term. It's similar to child support, except it's only for partners. Alimony payments are made when the higher-earning spouse pays the lower-earning spouse money to support his or her survival.

  • Alimony payments supplement child support payments. Furthermore, alimony payments are not measured using a simple formula, unlike child support. A judge considers a variety of variables when determining how much, if any, alimony one partner may pay the other.

For example, he or she will weigh both spouses' age and health, what both spouses are expected to receive in the future; the length of time a couple has been married, and how both spouses have acted during the divorce process and during the marriage.

Even though alimony laws differ by state, the general trend across the country is that alimony payments are higher in relationships where one partner has been financially dependent on the other for a long time. While it might seem that one partner profits entirely from alimony while the other suffers completely, this is not the case.

The spouse who pays alimony will subtract the payments from their income, while the spouse who collects alimony must pay taxes on the money collected.

Factors That Could Cause Alimony Payments To Be Terminated Or Suspended

The amount of alimony or spousal support an ex-spouse receives depends on a number of factors.

  • Income Levels

    • The amount of income each party receives can be considered by the court when determining alimony. For instance, if a wife earns marginally more than her husband and it is decided that he will most likely be able to support himself after the marriage, the wife will not be expected to pay support.

  • When it comes to infidelity

    • In most states, infidelity has no bearing on whether or not alimony will be awarded. One such state is California. According to Section 4343 of the California Family Code, the court can dismiss the need for support if it can be shown that the wronged party is cohabiting with someone else before the marriage is nullified, as this may show that he or she no longer requires financial support.

  • Getting remarried

    • If the partner who needs financial assistance remarries, alimony payments must stop by statute. While there is nothing that a supportive partner can do to start or speed up the process of an ex-spouse remarrying, it is important to remember.

  • Temporary Alimony

    • A big part of negotiating a divorce settlement is determining alimony payments. Temporary alimony payments allow the vulnerable spouse to get compensated until the actual sum is worked out.

    • The laws governing temporary alimony payments are designed to allow each spouse to retain their lifestyle before and after a divorce is completed. In this case, financial considerations typically take precedence.

Permanent and Temporary Alimony

After a divorce, permanent alimony is a payout that continues indefinitely. Unless a person remarries, they must make these payments until they die. Permanent alimony is a sum of money that must be accrued regularly. On the other hand, periodic alimony is given to a former partner to help them rebuild their lives following a divorce. Remarriage may also bring it to an end.

Periodic alimony, on the other hand, can be changed over time. As the divorcee's financial situation changes over time, the amount and frequency of payments are changed.

Permanent Alimony and the Factors Affecting It

Permanent alimony agreements are less common now than they were previously. However, if a couple has agreed to the form of alimony in a prenuptial or postnuptial arrangement, they will still be allocated. Generally, the longer a couple has been together, the more likely they will be granted permanent alimony. The court can determine the value of alimony payments based on a variety of factors, including:

  • The duration of the marriage

  • How much money each partner makes now or has the potential to make after the divorce

  • The value of the property and debts received as part of the divorce settlement

  • Each spouse's age and health

  • Each spouse's contribution to the other's education or career

In certain situations, one partner leaves the marriage with slightly fewer work skills or earnings opportunities than the other, necessitating alimony payments for financial assistance, education, or other obstacles.

Alimony Payments: Determining Factors

A variety of factors determines alimony payments. This may involve the following:

  • Salary Structure

  • Real estate

  • State of the body

  • Debt that has accumulated

  • the duration of the marriage

  • Distance between them

Any of these factors can carry different weights depending on the circumstances of the divorcing couple. Calculating alimony payments is a difficult procedure that necessitates a thorough understanding of several different aspects of the couple's marriage and divorce. Alimony can be charged for a long time and can be very expensive. It can also be beneficial to those going through a divorce.

Choosing a Temporary Alimony Payment

When deciding on temporary alimony, payments on bills such as electricity, mortgage payments, and other debts are usually considered. Aspects of a couple's history will also be taken into account. The following variables are examples of details that may be considered when calculating temporary alimony:

  • Marriage length

  • Divorce for various reasons

  • Financial resources

  • Level of living

  • Couple's health

  • The reason for the requirement

  • Certain loans, such as a mortgage

Making Provisions for Temporary Alimony Payments

A settlement can be negotiated between the two parties, but it normally involves a lot of back-and-forth between L.A. Divorce Lawyers. When the two sides cannot reach an agreement, the courts must decide on temporary alimony payments.

When determining temporary alimony compensation, a California Family Lawyer will look at a couple's financial condition and the cause for divorce. It would almost certainly represent the dollar sum of permanent alimony payments after the divorce, but the figures can differ slightly.

Payments of temporary alimony will make a significant difference in the divorce process. The final divorce settlement will be greatly influenced if one spouse cannot pay their bills or employ a Family Law Attorney.

Alimony Taxes

Alimony is taxable in the United States. Payments must be included in the recipient's gross income, although the payer's gross income may be omitted. Any alimony paid can be written off as a tax loss by the IRS.

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