Divorce Lawyer – Carlsbad
Filing For Divorce In San Diego
Petition for Dissolution
Divorce in California can be a complicated process. You should have a basic understanding of the law and process before jumping in. Below is some basic information on the process and procedure involved in getting a divorce in California. Of course, every case is unique and you will want to consult with a qualified divorce lawyer in your area for questions.
What Does California Law Say About the Divorce Process?
Service of the Petition for Dissolution
The party that files the petition is known as the Petitioner and the opposing spouse is known as the Respondent. The Respondent must be served with the Petition in order for the divorce process to commence. Once served, the Respondent must file a response within 30 days of service. If this is not done, then the Petitioner may choose to request that a default be entered against Respondent. (This tool is effective when the opposing spouse is refusing to participate and wants to make the divorce difficult).
Once the Petition is properly served, the Divorce proceedings begin and your case either moves toward settlement or trial.
Sixth Month Waiting Period
In California, parties cannot officially divorce until sixth months have passed from the date of service of the Petition for Dissolution. This does not mean that the case cannot settle within the sixth month waiting period. It only means that the marital status will not terminate until that time.
Often, divorce cases may settle relatively quickly and a judgment of dissolution will be entered by the court prior to the sixth month time period lapsing. In cases such as this, all provisions of the settlement go into effect upon the judgment being entered, and the judgment will note a date in the future when marital status is actually terminated. To find out why you have to wait 6 months to divorce in California, click here.
If you are considering filing for divorce or have been served with a Petition for Divorce, call Griffith, Young & Lass for a free consultation. Ask about our flat fee divorce option and our discounted billing rates.
Control of Assets After Filing for Divorce
Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders
Once the Petition for Divorce has been filed and served, there are automatic restraining orders that go into place immediately. Divorce lawyers call these “ATROS.” These orders enjoin either party from moving assets including cash, stocks, retirement accounts, etc; they also enjoin either spouse from canceling or changing any health insurance plans, auto insurance plans, and life insurance plans without the express consent of the other spouse or an order from the court. Get more information by reading this article.
It is very important that you understand the ATROS and abide by them. Violation of the ATROS could result in sanctions and attorney’s fee orders against you.
Fiduciary Duties During Divorce
Each spouse in a Divorce proceeding owes the same fiduciary duty to the other spouse as he or she would owe to a business partner. The marital assets must be regarded as business assets and managed and cared for as such. If the parties own a house together, then the house must continue to be maintained by the party living in the house. If the parties own a business together, then the business must continue to be run with as much responsibility and due care as it was during the marriage. In short, damage to a marital asset due to the neglect of one spouse amounts to a breach of that spouse’s fiduciary duty to the community and to the other spouse.
Breach of fiduciary duty is taken very seriously by California Divorce Courts. In egregious cases, the court may award an entire asset to the non-offending spouse in a case of breach of fiduciary duty.
If you are not sure what you can and cannot do once a Divorce has been filed, call now for a free consultation with an experienced San Diego Divorce Lawyer at 858-345-1720.
Financial Disclosure Requirements in Divorce Cases
Full Disclosure Requirement
California has very strict requirements when it comes to financial disclosures between parties in a divorce case. Within 45 days of the filing of a petition for divorce, each party is required to make 100% disclosure of all assets and debts as of the date of disclosure and to serve on the other party what is called a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure along with the financial disclosure documents themselves.
Financial Disclosure Documents
The two most common financial disclosure forms used as part of the divorce process in California are the Schedule of Assets and Debts (SAD), and the Income and Expense Declaration (IED). The Schedule of Assets and Debts is a full list of all assets and all debts including the date of acquisition, the fair market value, and any money owed on an asset. The Income and Expense Declaration is a snapshot of each party’s monthly income and monthly expenses. This document will include information related to earnings, expenses, educational background as well as asset holdings such as bank account balance.
Full financial disclosure is perhaps the most important aspect of the preparation of a divorce case. Both parties should have everything on the table when negotiating the terms of settlement. if one party discovers that the opposing party has willfully failed to disclose assets or income this can have devastating consequences on the non-disclosing party including sanctions, attorney’s fees and the setting aside of a judgment of dissolution.
There is a famous case in California of a woman that failed to disclose a winning lottery ticket of over a million dollars. She held onto the ticket until the divorce was final and then cashed it in. When her ex-husband discovered that this lottery ticket was purchased during the marriage and thus considered community property he filed a motion with the court. The court awarded the ex-husband 100% of the lottery winnings as a sanction against the wife!
If you have questions about California’s strict laws regarding financial disclosures in divorce cases call now to speak with an experienced Divorce Attorney.
Some of the local areas we service are:
- Del Mar
- La Jolla
Divorce can also be a stressful process. You need to take care of yourself and see it through. Click here for some helpful tips for handling the stress of a divorce: Handling Divorce Stress