Santa Cruz Family Law Attorney

What do I need to do to get Divorced?

In California a divorce petition cannot be finalized until four issues to be resolved. In addition temporary orders will likely be needed during the divorce proceedings. These are child custody, child support, spousal support and division of community property. The parties are free to reach private agreements regarding all of these issues, but if they are unable the court will help them resolve the issues.

  1. Child Support: This generally is determined by use of a computer program called DissoMaster. Numerous factors including: (a) child custody, (b) financial situations of both parents and (c) who will claim the children on taxes are be used to determine the proper amount.
  2. Child Custody: Child custody is generally the most emotional and difficult issue to resolve during a divorce. Parents will generally be required to participate in mandatory mediation and parenting classes as they progress through the court system.
  3. Spousal Support: Temporary spousal support will be determined using the DissoMaster program used for child support. A permanent order will be crafted by the judge based on numerous statutory factors including: length of the marriage, standard of living, marketable skills and earning capacity.
  4. Division of Marital Property: This requires inventorying all the community property of the married couple and dividing it evenly. Couples are free to split up the property evenly or the court will grant each party a 50% interest in each asset.

These 4 issues all must be resolved before a divorce can be finalized. Also a statutory waiting period of 6 months and 1 day is applicable. Once the proper documents have been filed and served, the 4 issues are resolved and the waiting period has passed a divorce will be finalized by the court.

DISCLAIMER: This article is meant only to provide information and is not intended as legal advice. If you have questions concerning your particular case you should make an appointment to talk to an attorney or mediator about your options. I would love to hear what other estate planning or familily law issues you find important.

by Keith Dysart, Santa Cruz Family Law Attorney and Mediator

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