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5 Little Known Rules about Divorce in California

San Diego, California

1. 6 Month Waiting Period

You cannot get divorced sooner than 6 months from the date of filing. This means that even if you have a complete settlement on all issues from the beginning of the case, the status of your marriage will not be terminated until the 6 months has passed. This means that although property and support issues have been decided, the parties cannot remarry until they become officially single at the end of the 6 month period.

2. 10 Year Rule on Alimony

In California, the duration of spousal support is generally based on the length of the marriage. As a guideline rule, for a marriage that lasts less than 10 years, the duration of spousal support is ½ the length of the marriage. However, if the marriage lasts at least 10 years, the duration of spousal support is indefinite.

3. 6 month Rule on Child Custody Jurisdiction

California Courts only have jurisdiction to make orders for child custody and visitation if the child has been a resident of California for at least six months prior to the filing of a request for child custody orders. There are limited exceptions. If a parent moves a child from another jurisdiction to California, the former jurisdiction maintains the power to make orders until the child has been in California for 6 months.

4. Child Support Orders Don’t Automatically Change if You Lose Your Job

An order for child support remains in effect until it is modified by a written agreement of the parties or a court order. A change in income does not automatically change the child support obligation. If you are paying child support and you lose your job, then it is on you to file a motion to modify the order. “I have had clients come to me years after having failed to keep up with child support payments because the order was too high. They are sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars deep in back child support and there is little that can be done to help them,” says John Griffith, a San Diego child support lawyer.

5. Your Spouse Can Acquire an Interest in Property That You Brought Into the Marriage

There are many rules that govern the characterization of property in California. In short, if the efforts or earnings of either or both parties to a marriage serve to preserve or add value to any asset, then the community is entitled to that value as a property or reimbursement right. Example: The wife owns a business before marriage. The wife works in the business during the marriage and as a result of the work that she does the business increases in value. If the parties divorce Husband is entitled to half of the increase in the value of the business attributed to the work that Wife did during the marriage. If the Wife wants to keep the business upon the divorce, then she has to buy the Husband’s interest in the business from him.

Divorce in California is a complicated process. Every case is unique. The longer the marriage and the more assets involved, the more important it is for you to consult with a qualified divorce attorney. The San Diego divorce attorneys at Griffith, Young & Lass have experience in every area of family law and can help you develop a case plan that considers your unique circumstances. Call for a consultation 858-345-1720.