In California, divorce is a “no fault” state, meaning that either spouse can elect to terminate the marriage, whether or not both parties are in agreement, and regardless of what went wrong during the marriage.
A divorce legally terminates the marital status of both parties and requires spouses to divide the assets and debts they have acquired during the course of the marriage. Where children are involved, a divorce will address custody related matters and ongoing support.
One of the most daunting aspects of a divorce is the uncertainty it entails. How will you divide the family home, the business, and parenting of the children? Instinctively, you meet with a divorce attorney, or two, in hopes of determining the exact amount of spousal support you are entitled to receive, which properties you will keep, and whether the children can stay with you. However, this thinking is impractical and not helpful to achieving a cooperative settlement, because after all, that should be the ultimate goal in a divorce.
A consultation with a San Diego Family Lawyer should give you the general scope of what your rights are under the law, provide you with the best options given your scenario, and manage your expectations. Ultimately, whatever issues that cannot be resolved in negotiation are litigated. Also, keep in mind that you will approach the divorce proceedings differently if you are the petitioner, initiating the divorce, or the respondent, responding to the petition.
What to bring to the consultation?
In order to get a good understanding of your situation, you should bring with you the following documents:
- Copies of any pleadings or motion papers served on you, if applicable;
- Copies of any settlement agreement drafts, if applicable;
- Copies of most recent tax returns;
- A preliminary list of the community assets and debts;
- An estimate of monthly income and expenses.
*If your spouse is unaware about your intention to file for divorce, we recommend brining copies of financial and legal documents to your consultation.
Contact Braunstein Law for a free 1/2 hour consultation to learn more about the process of filing for a divorce, or responding to a petition for dissolution.