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San Diego Divorce Attorneys

Helping Clients File for Divorcee in California

We understand the overwhelming emotions that may come with ending a marriage. At the Law Office of George Gedulin, our San Diego divorce lawyers remain sensitive to the matters at hand at all times. Our proven San Diego divorce lawyers are here to guide you through this challenging time and protect your rights. Divorces can become extremely complicated, so we recommend you enlist our attorneys' help.

Call the Law Office of George Gedulin today at (858) 281-4605 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our divorce lawyers in San Diego! 

What Is Divorce?

Divorce is the legal dissolution or termination of a marriage by a court or other competent body. It is a process by which a married couple ends their marital relationship and frees themselves from the legal obligations and responsibilities of marriage. Divorce can be initiated by one or both spouses, and it usually involves the division of property and assets, as well as arrangements for child custody, visitation, and support. The reasons for divorce can vary, but they often include irreconcilable differences, infidelity, financial problems, and incompatibility. Divorce can be a complex and emotional process for all parties involved, and it is essential to seek legal and emotional support during this time.

California Divorce Requirements

To file for divorce in California, you must meet certain requirements, which include:

  • Residency requirements: You or your spouse must have been a resident of California for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. Additionally, you must have been a county resident planning to file for at least three months.
  • Legal grounds: California also recognizes "legal separation," which does not end the marriage but does divide the couple's property and debts and can also make provisions for child custody and support. Legal separation may be preferable for couples who don't want to divorce for religious or other personal reasons but still need legal separation.
  • Jurisdiction: California must have jurisdiction over both spouses to grant a divorce. The process can become complicated if one spouse lives in another state or country.
  • Agreement on key issues: Both parties will need to agree on the key issues of the divorce, including property division, spousal support, and child custody and support. A judge will decide if the parties cannot agree on these issues.
  • Filing and service: The spouse who wants to initiate the divorce must file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court and provide the other spouse with a copy of the petition and a summons.
  • Waiting period: California has a six-month waiting period from the time the petition is filed until the divorce can be finalized. This waiting period is intended to allow both parties time to reflect and make decisions about the future.

These are some of the key requirements for obtaining a divorce in California. It is important to consult with a qualified family law attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected.

Is California a No-Fault Divorce State?

California is a no-fault divorce state. If you seek to dissolve your marriage, you don't have to prove that your spouse did anything to warrant such action. Instead, you can say that the marriage is broken beyond repair – there were irreconcilable differences.

Filing For Divorce in California

Once you decide to move forward with a divorce, you need to begin the filing process. The filing process requires careful attention to detail, preparation, and patience. In California, to file for dissolution of a marriage, you or your spouse must be a resident of California for at least six months and a resident of the county in which you are filing for divorce for at least three months.

There are many forms to fill out to begin a court case for divorce. Our San Diego divorce attorneys team can help you comb through each form to ensure everything is properly filled out and filed.

To file your divorce case in CA, you must follow four steps:

  • Complete all court forms: To effectively file for a divorce, you must fill out several forms. You must ensure that all information is complete and correct, as it affects how your case progresses. The documents you may be required to complete include:
    • Petition: On this document, you indicate to the court that you are requesting a divorce.
    • Summons: This form contains the conditions you and your spouse must abide by during the divorce proceedings. For instance, you may have limits on what you can do with your property.
    • Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act: You must complete this document if you have children with your spouse. If you are seeking a court-ordered visitation and custody arrangement, you have the option of submitting the Child Custody and Visitation form.
  • File all forms with the court: You must submit the originals and copies of all completed forms to the clerk in the county you're seeking a divorce. At this time, you must also submit a filing fee.
  • Serve the first set of court forms to notify your spouse of the divorce: Before a judge can make any orders concerning your divorce, your spouse must be notified that you have filed to dissolve your marriage. You must "serve" them with copies of the forms you filed with the court. You cannot do this yourself, but you can have an adult friend or relative do so. You may also ask the county sheriff or a process server to deliver the documents to your spouse.
  • Complete and serve your financial disclosure forms: As part of the divorce proceedings, you and your spouse must document all assets and debts. This is required for property division purposes. You must submit your financial disclosure forms to the court within 60 days of filing your divorce petition.

Upon filing, you must see if and how your spouse responds and whether or not the two of you can agree. There are different procedures to follow depending on whether or not your spouse files a response with the court and whether or not you have agreed. To help you comb through the details and ensure you are never being taken advantage of, you need an experienced San Diego divorce attorney.

How Is Property Divided in a California Divorce?

In California, when two people get married, any property and debt they acquire during the marriage is community property. Upon divorce, community property is divided fairly and equally between both spouses. This may mean that you each get half of the assets or debts. But typically, it will be split equitably. For instance, if you get a house, which has a high value, you might also get a line of credit with a high balance to even out the distribution.

Anything a person owned or owed before their marriage is considered separate property. These types of debts and assets are not divided in the divorce. You keep what you had, and your spouse keeps what they had.

It's important to note that even if you and your spouse can agree on how your property and debt should be divided, the decision is only final once a judge reviews and signs off on it.

How Long Does a Divorce Take in California?

The time it takes to complete a divorce in California can vary depending on several factors. Generally, the minimum time to finalize a divorce in California is six months, the required waiting period after the petition for dissolution of marriage is filed. However, most divorces take longer than six months to complete.

The amount of time it takes to complete a divorce can be affected by a variety of factors, including:

  • The complexity of the issues involved: If the parties have significant assets, debts, or property to divide, or if there are disagreements over child custody or support, the divorce process may take longer.
  • Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested: If the parties can reach an agreement on all key issues, the divorce process may be quicker than if the parties dispute one or more issues.
  • Court backlog: The time it takes to schedule court hearings and has documents reviewed by a judge can vary depending on the court's caseload and the judges' availability.
  • The degree of cooperation between the parties: If both parties can work together and communicate effectively, the divorce process may be quicker than if there is significant conflict and disagreement.
  • Attorney involvement: If attorneys represent the parties, the time it takes to complete a divorce may be longer than if the parties represent themselves.

What to Do Once Your Divorce Is Finalized

Once your divorce is finalized, you may still have a few things that need to be taken care of. If you have a will in which your ex-spouse is a beneficiary, consider altering it. You can also close shared banking accounts, adjust your income tax withholding status, change the title on shared vehicles, and more. Ensuring all ties are cut will help you start fresh and move on from your divorce.

Contact Our San Diego Divorce Lawyers Today

The divorce lawyers in San Diego at the Law Office of George Gedulin are here to fight for you. We always strive to settle family cases outside of court to prevent further hurt or stress. We have a proven record of success and extensive trial experience. We are here to help you navigate through this overwhelming time in your life.

Contact the Law Office of George Gedulin today to schedule a FREE consultation with one of our divorce attorneys in San Diego! 

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