San Francisco Divorce Attorney
You did your part to contribute to the success of the marriage and make it work, whether earning income for the family or raising the kids, running the household and providing vital support to help your spouse further their career. Now that the marriage is breaking apart, you need to do all you can to protect yourself, your children, and all that you have worked for during the time you were together. CSY Family Law Group can help you fight for what you want and need and be there for you during this stressful, emotional time. Our team includes distinguished Super Lawyers and a Board-Certified Specialist in California family law, and we all work together to provide excellent representation that meets your needs. If you are considering filing for divorce in the Bay Area or have been served with divorce papers filed by your spouse, call our San Francisco divorce attorney today.
What the California Divorce Process Looks Like
The divorce process begins with one spouse filing a summons and petition for dissolution of marriage in court. To get divorced in California, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least six months prior to filing the petition. The petition is properly filed in the county where one of the spouses has resided for at least three months.
In the petition, the petitioner will state the grounds for divorce. In California, this is nearly always “irreconcilable differences.” This is a “no-fault” ground for divorce. The petitioner doesn’t have to prove that one party is to blame for the breakup through marital misconduct. One only needs to allege grounds that the court determines are substantial reasons for not continuing the marriage and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved.
The only other ground for divorce in California is permanent legal incapacity. To get a divorce on this ground requires providing proof from medical or psychiatric testimony that the incapacitated spouse lacks the legal capacity to make decisions and that this incapacity is permanent.
Once the summons and petition are filed with the court, these papers need to be served on the other spouse. It’s best to let your attorney or a process server serve these papers to avoid a confrontation and make sure that the process service is completed successfully in accordance with legal requirements.
The spouse who was served with the petition then files an answer with the court and serves the petitioner with the answer. The petition and answer say what each party wants from the divorce and sets up whether there are any contested issues related to matters such as child custody or spousal support. If the respondent doesn’t file an answer, the petitioner can file for a default judgment in the petitioner’s favor.
At this point, either party can ask the court for temporary orders regarding child custody or spousal support while the divorce proceeding is pending. Both parties submit financial disclosures, and the judge holds a hearing to decide whether the requested orders should be put in place.
The parties then enter a period of litigation leading up to a courtroom trial where a judge will decide any contested matters concerning issues such as the division of community property, child custody, and the payment of alimony or child support. During the litigation phase, each party gathers evidence, takes statements from other parties (depositions), or requests documents from the other side to build their cases. Parties might also make pre-trial motions to the court during this time.
How CSY Family Law Group Can Help With Your Bay Area Divorce
At any point throughout the divorce process, all the way up to the date set for trial, the parties can settle the issues in the divorce between themselves without going to court. If the spouses can agree on how to divide the property, how to share custody, and issues of support, they can create their own agreement and submit it to the judge for review and approval. Settlement negotiations are often preferred to litigation as they create solutions that meet the needs of both parties in a fair and practical manner.
Our Bay Area family law attorneys can advise you and represent you in settlement talks informally or through mediation to help you get a result that meets your needs and works for your family. Our lawyers are trained and experienced in conflict resolution and can help keep negotiations moving forward on a rational, practical level. If a settlement is not possible because the parties suffer from too much conflict, the issues are too complex, or the parties simply want different outcomes, our experienced litigators provide strong and effective representation in court to make sure your rights are protected and help you reach your goals in the final judgment of divorce.
Call Cardwell Steigerwald Young LLP Today
Regardless of whether your divorce is amicable or high-conflict, straightforward or dealing with high-value and complex assets, the family law attorneys at CSY Family Law Group have the knowledge, skills, experience and dedication to achieve a result that works for you and meets your needs. Contact our San Francisco divorce attorneys today.