Information Center California Divorce
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 Bratton & Bratton, Inc. in Riverside, California, can guide you, professionally yet compassionately, through this often difficult time. If you are contemplating dissolution of marriage, call Bratton & Bratton, Inc. 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 process of dissolution of 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 dissolution of marriage 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 marriage 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 have many sub-issues which are resolved on a case-by-case basis in accordance with California statutes and case law.
Jurisdiction and Grounds
California law requires that at least one of the parties has lived in the state for at least 6 months and in the county where the case is filed for at least 3 months prior to filing.
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 person of the opposite sex, 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 and maintained as separate property, and post separation earnings.
Because classification of property and its division can become one of the most contentious issues in a divorce, seek the advice and assistance of a California dissolution of marriage attorney familiar with the particulars of California community property law. The lawyers of Bratton & Bratton, Inc., in Riverside, have the experience to help you.
Child Custody and Visitation
California law requires family law 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 of cases involving domestic violence. 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 Bratton & Bratton, Inc. 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 Bratton & Bratton, Inc. in Riverside today.
Reaching the decision to end your marriage is tremendously difficult. Given the complicated and emotional issues with which you are faced in the process, the best advice is to work with an experienced California family law attorney. The lawyers at Bratton & Bratton, Inc. in Riverside can ease your stress as you move through this emotional legal process.
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