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We are Inland Empire's premier divorce attorneys law firm. Our dedicated team of divorce lawyers has decades of experience in all San Bernardino and Riverside County family law courts. We have litigated thousands of family law cases and our success rate is second to none. We handle all divorce related family law matters, including spousal support, child custody, child support, and more. Consultations are free and discreet with one of Inland Empire's top divorce lawyers. Call today!

 

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Divorce, or the dissolution of marriage, is the process of dissolving the legal relationship between married persons. Divorce related legal issues often include a discussion and of the following:

  • Reasons for Divorce (No Fault Divorce or Irreconcilable Difference)

  • Division of a community property business

  • Division of community property retirement benefits

  • Stopping a spouse’s sale, transfer, encumbrance, or gift of community or separate property

  • Discovery of a spouse’s hidden assets

  • Dividing, selling, or maintaining a community property family home

  • Tax liability and benefits related to divorce

  • Tort liability of a former spouse (Criminal & Civil Lawsuits)

  • Bigamy Claims & Putative Spouse Status

  • Child move away requests (Relocation of child’s residence after divorce)

  • Family law legal forms

Note: Laws related to a California divorce are complex and ever-changing. Litigants who choose to represent themselves in divorce court without the aid of a divorce lawyer should be aware that family law judges are not lenient on non-lawyers who are unfamiliar the rules of law, legal deadlines, evidence production, preservation and presentation of evidence, and/or legal court procedures. A person considering divorce options should seek the advice of a family law lawyer at his or her earliest opportunity in order to avoid common and costly mistakes that can negatively, and irreversibly, effect your legal rights.

Grounds for California Divorce

There are two legal grounds (reasons) upon which to base a California divorce: 1) Irreconcilable differences, and 2) Incurable insanity. By far, most divorce cases proceed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.

Note: A divorce based on the grounds of incurable insanity is often related to conservatorship legal issues. See Conservatorship.

Irreconcilable Differences: Irreconcilable differences means that the spouses have differences that negatively impact the marriage and that it is not possible for the spouses to continue in the marriage based on those differences. Family law judges rarely inquire into the basis or the validity of the claim of irreconcilable differences. This is true even if one of the spouses to the marriage believes that the marriage might be saved without dissolving the marriage.

No Fault Divorce: California is a no-fault divorce state. No fault divorce means that it does not matter to the family law court who is at fault, if anyone, in causing the divorce; California family law judges will not inquire into areas that attempt to prove fault in a divorce (i.e. infidelity, lack of affection, etc.).

Note: California law requires a six-month waiting period from the time a divorce is filed to the time it is legally recognized in law. This six-month period is created because many California divorce applicants actually change their minds about divorce after filing for a divorce. In addition to the six-month California residency requirement, there is a three-month county residence requirement (i.e. must reside in the state of California for at least six months and in the county where the divorce petition is filed for at least three months).

Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATROs)

The petition for divorce includes automatic temporary restraining orders (ATROs), which are designed to stop a spouse from selling, encumbering, or gifting community property, or from acquiring new community debt, before the family law judge has a chance to make further orders concerning those assets and debts. The automatic temporary restraining orders also forbid a spouse from ceasing to pay for the other spouse’s medical or dental insurance, car payments, etc., so long as the paying spouse regularly paid those bills before he or she was served with the divorce petition. Failure to comply with ATROS can lead to contempt of court.

Community Property & Debt

Community Property: Community property is any property or asset acquired during marriage by either spouse, whether vested or not, and whether or not the property is real, personal, or intellectual. This includes retirement benefits, goodwill value in a business (jointly or solely owned), cash on hand, securities and bonds, accounts receivable, income from employment, money from trusts, and more.

The value of community property, once established, is divided equally at divorce, unless otherwise agreed to under a marital settlement agreement (MSA), prenuptial agreement, or post-nuptial agreement (inter-marital agreement). This does not mean that a particular piece of property is divided equally, but rather, the value of community property as a whole is equally divided equally.

Community Debt: Community debt is any debt acquired by either spouse during marriage. Community debt is usually divided equally at divorce, but family law judges may use equitable factors to assign debt unequally. These equitable factors include, but are not limited to, any or all of the following: 1) which spouses benefited from the community debt, 2) which spouse is more capable of paying for the community debt, 3) and which spouse was primarily sought by third parties to repay the debt.

Community Property v. Separate Property

As stated, all property and debt acquired during the marriage is considered community property, and community debt, respectively. However, there are exceptions to this rule where prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements may predetermine the character of the property. Also, property acquired by inheritance, property acquired before marriage, and property acquired after divorce or legal separation is considered the separate property of the acquiring spouse unless the acquiring spouse has commingled that property with community property, or the post-marital acquisition of property is funded by community property. 

Divorce v. Annulment v. Legal Separation

Divorce is the process of separating the legal relationship between married spouses. On the other hand, an annulment is a legal declaration that declares a marriage void from the beginning (as thought the marriage never took place). A legal separation is a court ordered separation of the spouses’ property, finances, debts, and future legal obligations, but the marriage itself remain in tack after a legal separation.

Note: Annulment is available in limited circumstances (See Annulment); a legal separation option is more common than a divorce option where the parties want to remain married due to either religious reasons, or because the marriage itself is healthy, but the spending habits or substance abuse addiction of one of the spouses subjects his or her spouse to possible financial harm.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Divorce?

Some California divorces cases are relatively straight forward and uncomplicated, while other California divorce cases may require complex litigation and discovery. Either way, if you are considering a California divorce you should proceed with the guidance of an experienced family law and divorce lawyer. Costly mistakes are often made by non-lawyers who attempt to navigate the law, the court process, and the required legal forms that are related to every divorce case. Also, non-licensed attorneys, such as legal aids and paralegals, are not qualified to give legal advice. The family law courts are filled with litigants attempting to correct mistakes made by well-meaning spouses, parents, and paralegals.

In fact, the financial outlay related to retaining a divorce lawyer for use in a divorce case is often much less than the financial (and emotional) price a person pays in the long run for using a non-lawyer paralegal to assist with divorce paperwork only. This is because non-lawyer paralegals are either unfamiliar with family law rights, or they are legally unable to advise as to a person’s family law rights related to a divorce or legal separation.

Note: The lasting negative legal consequences associated with do-it-yourself divorce (or the use of unqualified legal aid divorce paralegals) can add years of unnecessary stress and result in substantial loss of rights, assets, finances, and above all, time with a child or children.  Be aware, failure to timely file or respond to a request for order (RFO) in family law court can have severe and lasting negative effects on your divorce case; this is especially true in domestic violence restraining order, cases spousal support issues, and child custody cases.

Collaborative Divorce: When the parties to a California divorce are amicable and agree on legal issues they might benefit from collaborative or mediated divorce; however, even in the case of an amicable divorce, the parties should first be made aware of their respective legal rights, responsibilities, and consequences through a qualified divorce attorney before initiating or finalizing their California divorce.

At Dorado & Dorado, our experienced divorce attorneys understand that divorce is a highly personal matter and that clients require individualized attention. Our experienced divorce attorneys handle every aspect of your divorce case to make the process less stressful by keeping you up-to-date and informed while competently and aggressively pursuing all of your divorce rights. Most of all, our attorneys will not make matters worse with unnecessary litigation designed to create more hostility and inflexibility between the parties and their children.

If you find yourself contemplating divorce, initiating a divorce, or caught in the middle of a difficult divorce, call the experienced divorce attorneys at Dorado & Dorado. Our divorce attorneys are available six days a week (excluding Sunday) for a free in-office, first-contact consultation. We also offer more detailed review of ongoing divorce cases for a one-time limited and minimal fee. Call today for a free and private consultation with an experienced California divorce attorney.

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Divorce Lawyers (Dissolution of Marriage)
Attorney for divorce or dissolution of marriage

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Divorce & Family Law Lawyers
Inland Empire Cities Served

 
Eastvale, Yucaipa, Perris, Rancho Cucamonga, Beaumont, Fontana, Riverside, Highland, Moreno Valley, San Bernardino, Loma Linda, Colton

 

Important

Information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only. While we strive to provide current and accurate information, we do not guarantee the information to be current and/or accurate. No attorney - client relationship is created by use of this information. If you are in need of a divorce or family law attorney, contact a lawyer without delay. 

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Selected Legal References

for California Divorce 

FL 2310 Grounds for Divorce: Dissolution of the marriage (divorce) or legal separation of the parties may be based on either of the following grounds, which shall be pleaded generally: (a) Irreconcilable differences, which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage; (b) Permanent legal incapacity to make decisions.
 

FL 2311 “Irreconcilable differences” defined: Irreconcilable differences are those grounds which are determined by the court to be substantial reasons for not continuing the marriage and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved.

FL 2312 Permanent legal incapacity to make decisions: A marriage may be dissolved on the grounds of permanent legal incapacity to make decisions only upon proof, including competent medical or psychiatric testimony, that the spouse was at the time the petition was filed, and remains, permanently lack the legal capacity to make decisions.

FL 2313 Support of spouse lacking legal capacity to make decisions: No dissolution of marriage granted on the ground of permanent legal incapacity to make decisions relieves a spouse from any obligation imposed by law as a result of the marriage for the support of the spouse who lacks legal capacity to make decisions, and the court may make an order for support, or require a bond therefore, as the circumstance require.

Residency Requirement for Divorce, Nullity, or Legal Separation

FL 2320(a): Except as provided in subdivision (b), a judgement of dissolution of marriage may not be entered unless one of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of this state for six months and of the county in which the proceeding is filed for three months next preceding the filing of the petition.

FL 2320(b)(1): A judgment for dissolution, nullity, or legal separation of a marriage between persons of the same sex may be entered, even if neither spouse is a resident of, or maintains a domicile in, this state at the time the proceedings are filed, if the following apply:

A) The marriage was entered in California.

 

B) Neither party to the marriage resides in a jurisdiction that will dissolve the marriage. If the jurisdiction does not recognize the marriage, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the jurisdiction will not dissolve the marriage.

FL 2320(b)(2): For the purposes of this subdivision, the superior court in the county where the marriage was entered shall be the proper court for the proceeding. The dissolution, nullity, or legal separation shall be adjudicated in accordance with California law.