Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Common California Divorce Questions

At Levine Family Law Group, we find that many clients ask the same questions about California Divorces. They seem like simple questions, but sometimes it is difficult to find the right answer. We've done our best to answer some of the most common questions below. 

  • Will my divorce be automatically finalized in 6 months?
No. Once your divorce is filed, you must have a third person serve the petition personally on your spouse. Your divorce may be finalized six months from the date of service. However, all of the mandatory paperwork must be filed prior to obtaining a final judgment of divorce.

  • We were married or domestic partnered in another state, but I live in California now. Can I file for Divorce in California?
It depends. To file for divorce, you must have lived in California for six months and your county for three months just prior to filing your Petition. If your ex still lives in another state, and your children primarily reside in that state, you can file your Petition in California but risk the possibility that some (or all) of your divorce action will be transferred to that state.

  • Can I change my name through my divorce?
Sure. If you are filing a divorce or domestic partnership dissolution in California, you can return to your maiden name through your divorce judgment. If you finalized your divorce in California but did not change your name back, you can still file a request to change your name back to your premarital name.

  • What is a legal separation?
A legal separation resembles a divorce except the parties are  not free to remarry. There are no residency requirements to file a legal separation. Be careful not mistake legal separation for date of separation.

  • What is divorce mediation?
Unlike arbitration or litigation where a judge or arbiter makes a final decision, mediation allows the parties to negotiate an agreement that is satisfactory to both of them. Mediation at Levine Family Law Group involves several joint meetings between spouses wherein we discuss issues which need to be resolved in your case. The mediator facilitates the discussion, assists with communication, provides information and suggestions and uses their specialized training to assist the parties resolve differences. Once an agreement is reached, the mediator can write up the agreement.

  • How is child support determined?
California law provides that parents have an obligation to support their kids -- whether or not the parents were married. In general, child support is based upon the incomes of both parties, the custodial time share and certain tax deductions. The information is collected and a computer program is used to calculate support.

  • What is an annulment?
An annulment, or Judgement of Nullity may be obtained under any of the following circumstances: incest, bigamy, lack of informed consent to the marriage, the husband or wife of the prior marriage was believed to be dead at the time of the subsequent marriage, but in fact was not, unsound mind, fraud, force (unless afterwards the party who was forced freely cohabitated with the other party as husband and wife, or either party, at the time of the marriage, was physically incapable of consummating the marriage, and the incapacity appears to be incurable. If you are seeking an annulment based on fraud, an action must be filed within 4 years of discovering the facts constituting fraud.

In some cases, even though a Judgment of Nullity voids the marriage, a party may be able to obtain support, division of property and/or restraining orders. 

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