California is a no-fault divorce state, which means that when a couple wishes to dissolve their marriage, they are not required to prove that one of the parties was responsible for its collapse. Instead, either spouse can file for a dissolution of their marriage based on irreconcilable differences. This makes the divorce process much simpler, as it doesn’t force the parties to become adversaries or assert blame. Unfortunately, filing for divorce can still be an emotional and time-consuming process, so if you are considering dissolving your marriage, you should speak with an experienced Pleasanton divorce attorney who can ensure that your interests and the interests of your children are protected.
Types of Divorce
There are two main types of divorce in California: contested and uncontested. Uncontested divorces are those in which a couple has come up with an agreement regarding property division, child custody, and child support. These cases tend to be resolved much more quickly than contested divorces, in which a judge is required to step in and divide assets or set up a child custody schedule according to state guidelines. In some situations, the parties may agree on certain issues, but disagree on others. In these cases, the court will help resolve the remaining issues.
Summary Dissolution of Marriage
Also referred to as a simplified dissolution of marriage, a summary divorce allows couples who fulfill certain requirements to streamline the divorce process. In order to qualify, a couple must meet the following conditions:
- They have been married for fewer than five years;
- They have no children together;
- The wife is not pregnant;
- Neither party has an interest in real estate;
- Their community property cannot be worth more than $41,000 (excluding vehicles);
- Their shared debt is less than $6,000 (excluding car loans);
- The parties have come to an agreement regarding the division of assets and debts; and
- Both parties have signed a joint petition for summary dissolution.
Only when these requirements are met can a couple file for a simplified divorce, which allows them to avoid numerous court appearances and hefty legal fees.
Property Division in California
California is a community property state, which means that any property acquired during the marriage is considered community property and must be divided equitably by the court. The only exception is for bequests or inheritances made during the marriage, as these gifts are considered to be separate property. Separate property includes all assets that were acquired before the marriage or after the date of separation.
It’s important to keep in mind that parties who are able to come to an agreement outside of court can choose to divide their property however they wish regardless of whether it is considered separate or community property. However, the court will still have to give its stamp of approval before it can go into effect.
Contact an Experienced Pleasanton Divorce Attorney Today
Filing for divorce can be a complicated and emotional process, so if you are considering dissolving your marriage, you need an attorney on your side who will walk you through the process and ensure that your interests are protected. To speak with an experienced divorce attorney about your own case, please contact the Law Office of James P. White, by calling (925) 271-0999 today.