in Santa Ana, CA
Experienced Divorce Attorneys in Santa Ana, California
Navigating the complexities of ending a marriage is often a challenging experience for many in Santa Ana, California. The journey through a divorce case, fraught with emotional upheaval, requires the guidance of skilled divorce attorneys. In Santa Ana, the Fontes Law Group stands ready to offer their expertise in family law, ensuring that the process is managed efficiently and effectively, avoiding common pitfalls that could otherwise prolong the ordeal and impact your interests negatively.
Divorce doesn’t always have to be a drawn-out, acrimonious battle in the courtroom. Many couples find that they can come to comprehensive agreements through out-of-court negotiations or mediation. The Fontes Law Group, with their deep understanding of family law and divorce proceedings, are well-equipped to guide you through understanding your rights and the legal process.
While our Santa Ana-based divorce attorneys focus on facilitating amicable agreements to sidestep litigation, certain situations may necessitate a trial. If your divorce cannot be settled amicably, our team, proficient in litigation, is prepared to vigorously defend your interests in court, if need be. Reach out to the Fontes Law Group for more information on divorce and related family law matters.
Divorce Laws in California
To initiate a divorce in California, residency requirements, as stated in Cal. Fam. Code § 2320, must be met. Either you or your spouse should have been a California resident for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. Additionally, the filing must occur in the county where one of the parties has lived for a minimum of three months before the filing date. Failure to meet these criteria may result in case dismissal.
After filing your petition in court, it must be served to your spouse, allowing them to respond. According to Cal. Fam. Code § 2339(a), a six-month waiting period is mandated after the respondent is served with the petition and summons before a divorce decree can be issued. This period may be extended if either party demonstrates a valid reason for such an extension.
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Catherine J. Navarro
No-Fault vs. Fault Divorce in California
California In the past, Californians could pursue a fault-based divorce, citing reasons like infidelity, domestic violence, or abandonment. Today, however, the state has shifted to a no-fault divorce system. Under this system, as outlined in Cal. Fam. Code § 2311, divorces are granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, eliminating the need to prove any marital misconduct by either spouse. This shift implies that the division of property during the divorce proceedings remains unaffected by either party’s conduct during the marriage. Nevertheless, certain behaviors, such as substance abuse or domestic violence, may influence decisions regarding visitation and custody in cases involving children.
Division of Property in Santa Ana, California
California differs from many states by adopting a community property approach to marital assets. As per Cal. Fam. Code § 760, all assets and debts accumulated during the marriage by either spouse are considered community property and are subject to equal division during a divorce. This principle applies regardless of which spouse acquired the property.
On the other hand, property obtained by a spouse before marriage is considered separate and is generally not divided during divorce proceedings. However, complications can arise when separate property becomes mixed with community property, potentially altering its classification. For instance, if a spouse enters the marriage with $100,000 in an individual account but later merges these funds into a joint account for shared use, the money may lose its status as separate property and become subject to division.
To equitably divide community property, it’s necessary to first categorize all assets and debts as either community or separate property. Following this, the value of the community property must be assessed. The couple then needs to decide on the division of these assets and liabilities. In situations where an agreement cannot be reached, the court will step in to determine the appropriate division.
Spousal Support in Santa Ana, California
Either spouse can ask for spousal support in a divorce. A request for spousal support will not be automatically granted, however. Instead, judges will consider a number of factors as outlined in Cal. Fam. Code § 4320 to determine whether spousal support is warranted. Some of these factors include the following:
In Santa Ana, California, either party in a divorce can request spousal support, but such requests are not automatically approved. The decision to award spousal support is based on various criteria set forth in Cal. Fam. Code § 4320.
Judges carefully consider these factors, which include:
- The earning potential of each spouse.
- The job-seeking capabilities of the spouse requesting support and their ability to maintain a similar standard of living as experienced during the marriage.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The ages of both spouses.
- Documented instances of domestic violence.
- The assets and liabilities held by each party.
- Any sacrifices made by one spouse, such as career abandonment, to support the other’s career progression and to fulfill domestic roles.
- The financial capacity of the supporting spouse to provide spousal support.
- Tax implications for both parties.
- Hardships encountered by both parties.
- Criminal records pertaining to spousal abuse.
- Other relevant factors.
The Fontes Law Group’s divorce attorneys are adept at navigating the intricacies of spousal support in Santa Ana. They can provide invaluable guidance on whether spousal support is likely to be a factor in your case, including estimations of potential payments or receipts.
Attorney Fees in Santa Ana, California
In Santa Ana, as per Cal. Fam. Code § 2030, a spouse involved in a divorce proceeding may request the court to mandate the other spouse to cover their attorney fees and legal expenses. This consideration comes into play particularly when there’s a significant disparity in income and assets between the spouses, limiting one’s ability to equally access legal representation. In such cases, the court may require the higher-earning spouse to bear the legal costs for both parties, ensuring a more balanced legal process.
Divorce vs. Legal Separation in Santa Ana, California
In some instances, couples in Santa Ana might opt for legal separation instead of a full divorce. Legal separation involves the division of community property and, if applicable, the establishment of child custody and support arrangements. However, unlike divorce, legal separation does not legally end the marriage, restricting both parties from remarrying.
The preference for legal separation over divorce can be due to various reasons, such as:
- Religious beliefs that oppose divorce.
- The need for one spouse to maintain coverage under the other’s health insurance.
- The financial advantage of filing joint tax returns.
- The preservation of eligibility for Social Security or military pension benefits as a spouse.
- The desire to leave room for possible reconciliation in the future.
Legal separation can be an appropriate option for couples facing these situations. If, over time, the decision to divorce is made, having a legal separation in place can simplify the process. However, it is crucial that both parties agree to a legal separation; if one spouse objects, pursuing a divorce becomes the alternative.
Get Help From Our Experienced Child Divorce Lawyers in Riverside
Deciding to terminate your marriage can be difficult. However, if you believe that your marriage can’t be saved or you simply don’t want to remain married, getting a divorce might be the right choice. The divorce lawyers at the Fontes Law Group represent people going through both contested and uncontested divorces and are prepared to answer any questions you might have about the process.
Our attorneys will evaluate your situation and help you understand the best approach to take under your particular circumstances. We will work to protect your financial interests both during your divorce and after you have received your decree and can work with your financial advisor to protect your future ability to retire. To learn more about how we might be able to help, contact the Fontes Law Group today to schedule a consultation.