Today, we wanted to switch things up a bit. Instead of taking a more focused look at one topic, we thought it might be useful to compile a brief vocabulary list that can help anyone involved in a CA divorce. This post contains some of the more common terms you should be familiar with, though keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list!
As always, we invite you to reach out to the reputable attorneys at the Law Offices of James P. White for more advice and information. With that said, here’s some essential terms you ought to familiarize yourself with before making any drastic or concrete steps in your divorce.
Date of Separation: Court-determined date that impacts the distribution of all marital property. Courts usually consider when a spouse expressed intent to leave the marriage as well as behavior that is consistent with this intent in order to assess when this date was.
Petitioner: The person who filed the family law action, whether it’s a petition for divorce, custody, and more. Can also be equated as the “plaintiff.”
Respondent: The person opposite of the petitioner. Known as a respondent because they are required to respond to the other party unless he/she wants to risk a default judgment.
Community Property: As per California Family Law Code § 760: all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in this state.” Essentially, everything that was accumulated or gained during the marriage is subject to be divided equally.
Separate Property: Property that is not subject to asset division, the person claiming separate property must be able to prove this. To qualify, separate property must have been owned or acquired before the marriage. Exceptions include gifts acquired via inheritance and more.
Income & Expense Declaration: An official form, known as Form FL-150, where parties list their assets and expenses. Courts use these forms to determine each party’s financial needs and whether spousal support, etc. is in order.
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