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Frequently Asked Questions about California Dissolution of Marriage
Q: What is dissolution of marriage?
A: Rather than referring to "divorce," California law refers to "dissolution of marriage." There is no fundamental difference between what is called "divorce" in another state and what is called "dissolution of marriage" in California. Both terms refer to the process by which a marriage between parties is terminated and their respective legal rights and obligations regarding property, child custody, and child and spousal support are determined.
Q: Because California is a so-called "no-fault" divorce state, does misconduct by either spouse ever come into play in the final judgment of the court?
A: Perhaps, in some circumstances; for example, under California law, when making a custody determination, the court must consider whether there is evidence of domestic violence. Also, a determination of whether one party will be awarded spousal support may hinge on the issue of a domestic violence conviction. California law also provides that in making a property award, the court may consider misappropriation of an asset by one party to the detriment of the other.
Answers to Your Divorce Questions
There are a lot of things to consider as you go through a divorce. At the Riverside law offices of Bratton & Bratton, we will take you through the whole process and make sure you are doing what is best for your family and for your future. If you have any questions about your divorce, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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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 attorney experienced in California family law can guide you, professionally yet compassionately, through this often-difficult time. If you are contemplating dissolution of marriage, call an attorney today.
Division of Property
California is a community property state. California defines community property as all that property, both real and personal, which a married person living in the state acquires during the marriage. This includes property that is located outside the state as well as within the state. With the exception of separate property, no matter how property is titled, and, in the case of income, no matter who earned it, if it is acquired during the marriage it is considered part of the marital community estate. Upon dissolution of the marriage, community property, absent an agreement between the parties, is divided equally between them. However, an absolute equal division of each asset would not be possible or even reasonable in many cases. For example, to achieve an equal division of every asset would require sale of each asset and division of the proceeds. For many families, forcing sale of the family residence at the time of the dissolution can cause disruption to the family and result in even more inequity than awarding the residence to one spouse while awarding another asset of equal value to the other spouse. As a result, valuation of properties may become one of the major points of dispute between parties.
Domestic Violence and Child Custody
Even though California is a no-fault state for dissolution of marriage, evidence of domestic violence in a marriage can play a major role in decisions regarding the children of the parties.
In California, married persons have a right and an obligation to support each other during their marriage. Depending upon numerous factors taken into consideration by a court in a dissolution case, this obligation may extend beyond the marriage.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in California Dissolution Cases
In California, parties wishing to lessen conflict and work toward more win-win solutions to their disputes can take advantage of many modes of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including, in the larger counties, conciliation court (in larger counties), mediation, and collaborative law.