Deciding to get a divorce in San Francisco or Marin County is often complicated and difficult. You want what’s best for yourself and your family, but you also don’t want to go through all of the legal hassles if you don’t have to. Our experienced divorce attorneys can help make this transition as smooth as possible if you’re located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Just give us a call at (415) 286-5440.
With over 17 years of experience between them, our attorneys have helped numerous families in the San Francisco bay area with their personal family law problems. If your divorce impacts your children, it is paramount that you find a sympathetic attorney. Get in touch today to schedule an initial consultation with our caring legal team.
Understanding Divorce In California
If you want to end your marriage, you will likely have to file for divorce and go through the legal process. You and your spouse must negotiate the terms of your split during this difficult time. A court will review the request to dissolve your marriage if everything goes well. Once all steps are completed, it will enter a final divorce judgment.
California Family Code §2300 explains that this final judgment “restore[s] the parties to the state of unmarried persons.” Put simply: divorce nullifies your marriage and makes you single once again. When you are single, you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits extended to married couples.
Ending a Same-Sex Marriage
The Obergefell v. Hodges decision by the Supreme Court permits all same-sex couples in America to marry if they choose. If you’re a part of a gay or lesbian couple considering divorce, you must speak with an attorney as soon as possible—divorce procedures can be quite confusing, and our team wants to make sure your rights are upheld every step along the way. Call us now for more information on how we can help ease this process.
Residency Requirements For Divorce
The state of California requires that residents seeking a divorce must meet physical residency requirements in the county where they wish to file. According to Family Code §2320, those filing for divorce in San Francisco County and Marin County must:
- Be a resident of California: 6 months before the petition is filed.
- Be a San Francisco County or Marin County resident: 3 months before the petition is filed.
Only one spouse must satisfy these residency requirements.
Residency Requirements for Same-Sex Couples
If you are a same-sex couple and want to divorce, the procedure may differ from conventional couples. Most of the time, you must have been married in California. If you reside in another state, California can only end your marriage if your home state denies it.
Divorce Waiting Period
According to Family Code §2339, you must wait a minimum of six months for your divorce to be finalized. This waiting period generally starts after the non-filing spouse has been served with divorce papers.
Grounds For Divorce In California
California is a “no-fault” divorce state, allowing divorcing spouses to end their marriages without blaming each other. This can be beneficial as it may help the couple approach the divorce more amicably and work together to negotiate fair terms without ill feelings.
If you do not need to prove fault, what are the grounds for divorce? There are two primary grounds: irreconcilable differences and incurable insanity.
This term is used when two spouses have differences that will not change over the course of their marriage. Irreconcilable differences are a broad way to describe any reason why a couple might want to get divorced.
If your spouse has a mental illness that cannot be cured, you can still get a divorce. You must have evidence of the mental illness and that it cannot be cured.
Scope Of Divorce Proceedings
If you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, there are more than just emotions at stake. You will also need to agree to the terms of your split, which can include the following:
If you and your spouse cannot come to an understanding, the court system can get involved and make binding decisions. It is then required that you follow whatever the court decides.
Many issues can arise during a divorce, which is why it’s so important to have an experienced San Francisco family law attorney by your side. At Warren Major LLP, our attorneys are prepared to help you with any and all family law matters, including:
- Grandparent rights
- Move-away and relocations
- Military divorce
- Contested divorce
- Uncontested divorce
- High-net-worth divorce, and
- Domestic violence
Please don’t hesitate to contact us today to set up your case assessment. We’ll be glad to look over your unique situation and work out which legal options will serve you best.
Starting Your Divorce
The first step is when one party, called the petitioner, files paperwork at their local courthouse. Afterward, the other spouse or partner must be given these same documents; this person is now known as the respondent. The respondent has 30 days to decide whether they would like to file a response.
After the parties agree to mediate, they must exchange financial information in a ”preliminary declaration of disclosure.”
Depending on the situation, a quick resolution or years of hearings and motions may pass until the final divorce is granted.
Divorce doesn’t have to deplete your bank account and consume all your time. You might be able to work out the terms of the divorce amicably with your spouse, which can then be filed with the court for enforceability down the road.
Keep in mind that courts are overwhelmed with cases and encourage parties to negotiate a settlement. Having an experienced attorney can help you make decisions during the process. Even if you cannot settle all issues, it is usually better to resolve as many issues with the opposing party before going to trial.
If you’re considering ending your marriage or registered domestic partnership, you may be eligible for a summary dissolution. A summary dissolution is available to couples married or in a partnership for less than five years, provided certain requirements are met. You can learn more about the process by reading this article or speaking with a member of our legal team.
Is A Divorce Public Record?
Though divorce records are public, you can take out a protective order to keep some details private. Often, celebrities or high-net-worth individuals in the bay area will get a protective order to prevent sensitive information from becoming public. If you’re worried about personal facts appearing in public records, give our office a call so we can review your options.
Devices To Assist The Divorce Process
The choices you make during your divorce will have short-term and long-lasting consequences. You should always try to compromise with your spouse and come to an agreement about the details of your split on your own. This way, you can keep as much control over your future as possible.
If you want to maintain control over important decisions in your marriage while saving some money, there are practices you and your spouse can use to come to agreeable conclusions.
Divorce Mediation can be beneficial if you and your spouse are close to agreeing upon the terms of your divorce. With the help of an unbiased mediator, you will be able to resolve issues together while also gaining clarity on the situation. Eventually, the mediator will create an agreement outlining all the decisions made during mediation – which both spouses must sign. This contract becomes binding once signed by both parties.
Collaborative divorce is similar to mediation, except that both spouses are represented by attorneys who guide them through the process. If you agree to a collaborative divorce, you can resolve your issues outside of court. If it’s unsuccessful, though, you’ll have to start over with a new attorney–from square one.
Arbitration is a private legal proceeding that occurs outside of the courtroom. With arbitration, you waive your right to make decisions about your divorce–a neutral third party, known as an arbitrator, hears both sides’ arguments and makes decisions on your behalf.
Do you and your spouse need help communicating but want to avoid the fees of going to trial? Warren Major LLP offers tools that may help resolve problems in your divorce.
Alternatives To Divorce
Although divorce is often thought of as the only way to end a marriage, there are actually three ways to do so in California: dissolution, annulment, and separation. Depending on your unique circumstances, one of these methods may be better for you than getting a divorce.
Dissolution, or divorce, is the legal process of ending a marriage. You will regain your single status in the state once your divorce is finalized.
Annulments are a way for married couples to avoid the long and costly process of getting a divorce. If an annulment is granted, it means that the marriage never happened in the first place. There are only a few situations where an annulment can be given.
Unsure about getting a divorce? Want to live apart from your spouse but still reap the benefits of being married? Divorce might go against your moral or religious beliefs. In these cases, legal separation is often the first step toward divorce.
Are you considering a divorce? If so, familiarize yourself with the legal options at your disposal. Schedule a case evaluation with Warren Major LLP. With years of experience, our divorce attorneys will help you find the best solution possible given your unique circumstances..
Call Warren Major LLP Today
Getting a Divorce in San Francisco can be scary and seem like it will take over your life, but our San Francisco divorce attorneys are here to help make it as painless as possible. We know everyone wants different things from their divorce, so we fight for the best outcome for you and what you want. Because children can often get caught in the middle of divorces, we try to protect them from any negative aspects of the process.
An attorney you trust is vital. After all, they will be working on one of the most personal aspects of your life. Contact us today to schedule a free initial case evaluation with our passionate legal team.
Remember, the first meeting comes at no cost to you and commits you to nothing further, so call now for more information.
Warren Major LLP