California Dissolution of Marriage – An Overview
The breakdown of a marriage is likely one of the most stressful times in a person’s life, and divorce is a daunting task to undertake alone. An experienced California family law attorney from Cullen & Murphy in Riverside, CA, can guide you, professionally yet compassionately, through this often-difficult time. If you are contemplating dissolution of marriage, call Cullen & Murphy today.
Many individuals experiencing divorce find themselves so involved in the emotional and psychological aspects of the breakup of their family that they are unable to focus on the fact that the dissolution of a marriage is a legal process. It is wise for parties to have a working knowledge of the legal issues involved in the divorce to avoid being overwhelmed by the emotional aspects. An experienced California divorce lawyer will work to protect your legal interests, allowing you to focus on yourself and your family.
Legal issues addressed by the dissolution process
In California, before making an order dissolving a marital relationship, a judge must address the following legal issues: jurisdiction and grounds; spousal support; property division; and, if there are children, custody, visitation and child support. Each of these issues has many sub-issues which are resolved on a case-by-case basis in accordance with California statutes and case law.
Jurisdiction and grounds for dissolution of marriage
- Residency requirements: California law requires that one of the parties has lived in the state for at least six months and in the county where the case is filed for at least three months prior to filing.
- Grounds: Because California is a so-called “no-fault divorce” state, the only determination the court must make regarding grounds is that the parties have irreconcilable differences or that one of the spouses has incurable insanity.
Under California law, the court must consider a number of factors in determining whether, what duration and how much one spouse will be required to pay towards the support of the other spouse. Some factors are objective, such as the age, education and ability of each spouse to be self-supporting. Other factors are less objective, such as whether there are convictions for acts of domestic violence by one spouse towards the other, whether either party is cohabiting with a new partner, and such other factors specific to the case that the court determines “just and equitable.”
California is a community property state. In a community property state, property is classified as either community property or separate property. Community property is everything that a husband and wife own together from the start of their marriage until the date they separate. Generally, community property includes all income and assets that either spouse acquired during the marriage.
Separate property is anything the husband or wife owns separately, such as property owned before the marriage, gifts or inheritances received during the marriage but maintained as separate property and post-separation earnings.
Child custody and visitation
California law requires family court judges to consider the best interests of the child in making any determination regarding custody and visitation. California law also presumes that joint legal custody is in the best interests of the child, with the exception being cases involving domestic violence or other abuse. Child custody matters can become emotionally charged to the detriment of both the parents and children involved. Because this is so, if you and your spouse have a dispute over custody of your children, obtain the guidance of an attorney well versed in California child custody matters, like those at Cullen & Murphy in Riverside.
California child support guidelines include a complicated formula used to calculate which parent, if either, shall pay child support. The guidelines are presumptively fair and equitable and take into account several factors, including the general standard of living in the state, the cost of raising children in the state, both parents’ income and resources as well as other factors. If a judge deviates from the guidelines, specific reasons for the deviation must be set forth in the child support order. Child support matters are often contentious. Seek advice and assistance from a lawyer experienced in California child support law. Contact Cullen & Murphy in Riverside today to schedule a consultation.
Speak to a California family law attorney
Reaching the decision to end your marriage is tremendously difficult. Given the complicated and emotional issues with which you are faced in the process, it is a good idea to work with an experienced California family law attorney. The lawyers at Cullen & Murphy in Riverside can ease your stress as you move through this emotional legal process.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.