Best Divorce Lawyers Sacramento, CA Of 2024 (2024)

In Sacramento, you file for divorce by starting a court case. As California has a no-fault divorce law, couples don’t have to prove that one spouse did something wrong to file for divorce. Here are some other crucial California divorce laws and regulations:

California Divorce Requirements

If you’re looking to get divorced in Sacramento, there are some specific requirements to note:

Residency. You or your spouse must be a California resident for at least six months and a Sacramento County resident for at least three months before you can file for divorce in the city.

Separation. California law does not mandate a specific separation period before you can file for divorce. To begin the process, the petitioner (the spouse filing for divorce) must cite irreconcilable differences or their spouse’s permanent legal incapacity as grounds for divorce.

Types of Divorce and Separation in California

In California, divorces are considered no-fault, meaning you can simply state irreconcilable differences to get divorced. There are numerous pathways to obtaining a divorce.

  • Legal Separation. Legal separation in California allows couples to live apart while remaining legally married. While separation does not terminate the marriage on paper, it can address the same issues as a “proper” divorce, including property division, spousal support and custody.
  • Summary Dissolution. Summary dissolution is a simplified divorce process for couples meeting specific eligibility criteria, such as having no marital children, having been married for less than five years and having few assets for property division.
  • Default Divorce. If your spouse fails to respond to the divorce petition within the determined time frame, you can pursue a default divorce. In a default divorce, the court grants the marriage dissolution based only on the petitioner’s request.
  • Collaborative Divorce. In a collaborative divorce, couples work to reach an agreement on all major issues without going to court. Attorneys agree to take the case only to settle it and will not go to trial.

Child Custody, Support and Visitation in California

Here’s a brief run-down of the California laws surrounding child custody, support and visitation:

  • Child Custody. California law recognizes two types of child custody: legal and physical. The parent with legal custody makes essential decisions for the child, such as those involving education and healthcare. Physical custody determines where the children live most of the time. Both physical and legal custody can be joint or sole.
  • Child Support. Child support is the amount a parent pays every month for a child’s living expenses. In California, the person primarily caring for the child usually receives child support. However, the amount may be adjusted according to each parent’s income. The duty to pay support typically ends when the child graduates high school or turns 19.
  • Visitation. Parenting time, also called visitation, can be open, with a schedule, supervised or not applicable in California. The type of visitation ordered depends on the child’s best interests. If you and your spouse can’t agree on a parenting plan, a judge will decide what’s best for the child.

Property Division in California

California follows the principle of community property, meaning that assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered marital property and divided equitably. Gifts or inheritances received by one party are typically not considered community property. Marital assets can include property, income, vehicles, investments and more. Rather than dividing property 50/50, equitable division aims to achieve fairness by considering both party’s circ*mstances and needs.

When determining spousal support, California courts consider factors such as each spouse’s earning capacity, health and contributions to the marriage. A court may award spousal support to help the lower-earning spouse maintain their standard of living or assist them with re-entering the labor market. For example, if one spouse sacrificed their career to bring up children, they may be entitled to alimony to help them obtain updated qualifications and find suitable employment.

Filing and Serving Your Divorce Papers

The main divorce filing documents in California include the petition for dissolution (FL-100) and summons (FL-110). If you have children, you’ll also need to complete the declaration under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJEA) (Form FL-105/GC-120). Once completed, you can submit the forms with the applicable filing fee to the Sacramento Superior Court.

After filing, you must serve the divorce papers to your spouse. You can’t serve the documents yourself in California and must engage a server. A server can be a friend, your county sheriff or a professional process server. However, they must be at least 18 and not involved in your divorce case.

Finalizing Your Divorce

Finalizing a divorce in California involves a waiting period of six months from the date you serve your spouse with the divorce papers or you’re served. In uncontested divorces, where the spouses agree on all issues, a court hearing may not be necessary to finalize the divorce.

In contested or complex divorces, such as those involving child custody or considerable marital assets, a court hearing is typically required before the court issues a final divorce judgment. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of the marital dissolution, your divorce case may go to trial. A trial could significantly increase the length of your divorce case.

Best Divorce Lawyers Sacramento, CA Of 2024 (2024)
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