Divorce Archives

The Amicable Divorce: A Mythical Creature?

Bigfoot. The Loch Ness Monster. Amicable Divorce. All three are the stuff of legend. In the case of amicable divorce, though, the legend may actually be true. More couples claim to have seen an amicable divorce than either Bigfoot or "Nessie." Humor aside, amicable divorce, a divorce in which both spouses cooperate towards a mutually satisfying resolution, is far from a mythic creature.

Divorce or Legal Separation?

In everyday conversation, the words "divorce" and "separation" are often used interchangeably. Those who are getting a divorce may tell others that they are separating from their husband or wife. This is a mistake. In California, divorce and separation are two distinct legal terms. In fact, technically speaking, the term used in California is "dissolution." A divorce legally ends the marriage between two individuals and divides their property, assets, and finances. The process takes a minimum of six months in California. Also, at least one spouse must have lived in California for the preceding six months and the county in which he or she filed for divorce for at least the preceding three months. If this residency requirement is not met, a spouse can file for legal separation immediately-then later file an amended petition for divorce when the residency requirement is met.

Residency Requirements: Giving Spouses Time to Think

Divorce is not something to be rushed into. This is because divorce usually involves strong emotions, lawyer fees, time in court, the complicated process of dividing assets and the emotionally charged and sometimes heartbreaking allocation of a child's time between the parents. Spouses considering divorce should think carefully about whether this action is necessary or whether the marriage can still be saved. California law, for its part, helps spouses avoid rushing into divorce by imposing a legal residency requirement. In order to file for divorce in California, at least one of spouse must have been a California resident for a minimum of six months.

Bifurcated Divorce: A Faster Way Forward

Speed is not a word that is typically used to describe divorce in California. The process resembles a sluggish crawl more than a rapid sprint. This is due in part to the legal procedures that must be completed to separate and the strong emotions that often flare between separating spouses. Add in scheduling issues for spouses, lawyers, and judges and the general overcrowding of the courts and their ever-decreasing resources and it is easy to understand why it can take many months if not several years to finalize a divorce.

Unhappy with the Judgment In Your Case? Now What?

The banging of a gavel usually symbolizes the end of a court case. When the gavel hits, those involved leave the courtroom and begin to move on with their lives. Judgment has been rendered and it is considered by most people to be final. To some, however, a gavel and the judgment that follows are not the last word. Often, those who have received what they later decide (or learn) is an unsatisfactory result may file an appeal, which is the process that involves a court of higher authority reviewing what went on in the trial court and then deciding if the evidence supports the decision the judge made, or if the judge made any legal errors. That tends to be a very expensive process, however, and it is a process very few parties can afford.

The Facts on Child Support

When two spouses become embroiled in a divorce they often put their children on the "back burner," turning instead to their own personal crises inherent in this kind of a life-changing event. The spouses often devote their attention to hiding and minimizing assets and looking for ways to "get back at" the other spouse. One of the things that bring children squarely into the fray all too often, however, is the issue of is child support. Child support, as its name implies, is a means of providing money from the higher earning parent to the lower earning parent in order to provide for the necessities of life (and other items as well) for the benefit of the minor children. Under California law, parents are required to continue providing financially for their children both during and following a divorce. Children are, after all, dependents of their parents, regardless of whether the parents are married or divorced. As such, both parents are legally responsible for providing for their children's welfare. In the case of a divorce, the clearest way to provide for a child's financial welfare is through a child support order, as this calls for the payment of money on the child's behalf. This leads to the concept of child support, payments that help to support a child during and following divorce.

Omitted Assets: A Magic Trick of Divorce

In the world of magic, one of the hardest tricks is to make an object disappear. Magicians spend countless hours working to convincingly make objects vanish from view. Unfortunately, magicians are not the only ones capable of performing disappearing acts. During divorce, one spouse may try to make assets disappear from the view of the ex-partner. Assets include everything from a piece of property, to a boat, to a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth. Regardless of what form it takes, a hidden asset is an omitted asset.

Spousal Support

One of the most controversial issues of divorce is that of spousal support. Spousal support, commonly known as "alimony," often makes a bitter divorce downright sour. After all, it is a common perception among those who pay spousal support that they should not be required to pay their ex-spouse their hard-earned money each month. Of course, those on the receiving end of these payments are very often dependent upon them and would frankly be in dire financial straits without these payments. Matters can become especially tricky if the earning the more money is required to pay alimony to a spouse that, in the paying spouse's opinion, "caused" the breakup of the marriage (through an extra marital affair, for example). "You mean that not only is he allowed to cheat on me but I now have to actually pay monthly support??? How can that be fair?"

The Realities of a Complex Divorce

On the surface, divorce can seem to be a very simple concept. Two spouses decide for various reasons to end their marriage. The spouses then hire lawyers to work out the legal arrangements and go to court if necessary. Shortly after, the divorce becomes official and each spouse is free to lead a separate life. In theory, this is how a divorce should work. The process should be simple and straightforward, and allow both spouses to move on in a short period of time.

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