Divorce can be a difficult time for all of the parties involved. Being properly informed before you file for divorce will put you on the right track and help put your mind at ease as you enter into the divorce process. It is always a great benefit to have certain questions answered before entering into a major life decision.
Date of Separation
First and foremost, it is extremely vital that you document the date of separation. This date will be the deciding factor in concluding what property and assets can and will be divided between you and your spouse in a California Family Court versus what property and assets belong solely to you.
It’s really as simple as it sounds. Any property and assets acquired before the date of separation can be communally divided between you and your spouse, while anything acquired after the date of separation, cannot.
If you find it is too difficult or impossible to come up with an approximate date of separation, don’t worry. California court will conduct two tests, an objective and a subjective, that will help determine that information for you.
One area of note regarding this matter is the home. California has divorce-related automatic restraining orders prohibiting the sale or mortgaging of the marital home. Even If you or your spouse holds the sole title to your home, the property is considered communal. If this is the case in your situation, make sure to discuss this issue with your Attorney.
Six Month Minimum
Next, it is important for you to know that the state of California will not restore your status to single or complete your divorce until no less than six months has elapsed. This means that you will not be able to remarry or claim ‘single’ on your taxes until six months has passed. While six months is the ultimate minimum, it is a fact that most divorces may take longer.
The six month waiting period begins when the respondent, the spouse being served the divorce petition, receives the paperwork filed by the petitioner, the spouse that is taking action. Since California is a no-fault divorce state, all it takes is one spouse to file for divorce and start the process.
Finally, you might be wondering if you have to live in California to file for a divorce in the state. The answer is yes. Either you or your spouse must have lived in California for at least six months and have resided in the county that you plan to file for divorce in for at least three months. If you have lived in California for six months, but in different counties for the minimum three months, you may file in either county.
If you fail to meet either of these requirements, you may file for a legal separation until you meet them. Once the required time has passed, you may then file an “Amended Petition” and ask the court for a divorce.
If you have any questions or need help regarding any of these issues, contact us to set up a consultation.