Divorce is a complicated process, and you likely feel uncertain about what’s ahead. Whether your divorce is a mutual decision or a contentious one, our firm has the experience you need to create a new future. The Morris Law Firm is in constant pursuit of integrity, professionalism, and excellence in legal practice. Our team has helped countless families work through the divorce process, and in doing so, we have seen a variety of diverse cases throughout our years in practice.
When you need an advocate, call our Orange County divorce lawyer at (626) 587-2677.
I Want a Divorce, Where Do I Start?
More often than not, divorce results from years of emotional, financial, or relational issues that have built up over time. The most important place to start when considering a divorce is to think about what you want your future to look like.
The following are questions to ask yourself before filing:
- Do I want to end my marriage or domestic partnership with divorce, legal separation, or annulment?
- Do we qualify for summary dissolution?
- How much will filing for divorce cost?
- Can I ask the court to order my spouse to pay for a lawyer?
- Are there any special procedures that apply in my local court?
No divorce is the same, and many spouses have different goals for the outcome of their case. By asking these questions before officially filing, you can evaluate your legal and financial options to better anticipate how and where your divorce will take place.
California Divorce Procedures
If you are filing in California, there are several parts of the divorce process that you should be aware of. Keep in mind that some filing requirements may differ based on your unique circumstances and the rules in your county.
Summary dissolution is a simplified version of the divorce process with less paperwork and fewer court appearances that takes less time xx. Essentially, this is a more streamlined divorce settlement for spouses with little to no disputes over property or other issues. Often, divorces that involve a summary dissolution take less time and money, but you should always consult a lawyer before you attempt to end your marriage.
To qualify for summary dissolution, both spouses must:
- Have been married for less than five years
- Have no birth or adopted children
- Not owe more than $6,000 in debts acquired since the date of marriage
- Have less than $45,000 worth of community property
- Have no separate property worth more than $45,000
- Agree that neither spouse will receive spousal support
- Sign an agreement that divides property, cars, and debts
Either spouse needs to have lived in the state for at least six months, or the state will not dissolve the marriage. However, same-sex couples who were married in California but live in another state that does not allow the dissolution of same-sex marriage can file to end their marriage in California regardless of the residency requirements in their new state.
Another critical part of the divorce process is property division. California is a communal property state, which means any property or assets gained during the marriage is community property, whereas property purchased before the marriage is separate. For example, a car that you bought with your own money after college would be classified as separate property that belongs exclusively to you. However, if you purchased the car with money from a joint bank account, it would be classified as community property and subject to division by the court during divorce.
One of the most emotionally difficult elements in any divorce case is child custody. The judge’s decision in custody matters is always based on the child’s best interests. The judge will sign off on the parenting plan, including time-sharing and responsibilities for each parent.
Custody in California depends on the following factors:
- The child’s age
- The child’s health
- The emotional ties between each parent and the child
- History of family violence and substance abuse
- The child’s ties to school, home, and the community
Determining whether you should get a divorce or legal separation, understanding property division, and navigating child custody are incredibly complex, so you should always consult a qualified legal professional.
Guidance at Every Step of the Way
Whether you are thinking about a divorce or are ready to file, the Morris Law Firm is here to help. Our team has extensive experience with divorce cases, and founding attorney Charles J. Morris, Jr. is a Certified Family Law Specialist. Put excellence on your side with the Morris Law Firm.
Schedule a consultationwith our Orange County divorce team at Morris Law Firm to find out more information.