When contemplating divorce, it is hard to ignore the “what-ifs” that inevitably arise. Questions like, “who will get the house?” and “where will our kids end up living?” are complicated, and you will inevitably receive the typical lawyer response from your attorney—“it depends.” This is because most questions regarding divorce really do depend on the circumstances of your case. While there is substantial California family law which the Court will apply to the facts of your particular case, it is impossible to predict or guarantee outcomes with absolute certainty. In some cases it can take months before you see concrete results. Nevertheless, there is one great guarantee with divorce law in California: as long as you are a California resident*, you are entitled to a divorce if you want one.
We have all seen a movie where one party is trying to obtain a divorce, but the other party just won’t sign the divorce papers. Sometimes the other party is a romantic who is holding out for reconciliation, but nine times out of ten, the other party refuses to cooperate out of spite. Worried this could happen to you? Never fear! If the only certainty you have is that you want a divorce, then go ahead and make preparations to file:
“Either spouse or partner can decide to end the marriage, and the other spouse/partner, even if he or she does not want to get a divorce, cannot stop the process by refusing to participate in the case. If a spouse or domestic partner does not participate in the divorce case, the other spouse/partner will still be able to get a “default” judgment and the divorce will go through.”**
The State has your back; California law will not force you to be prisoner to a broken marriage. Unfortunately though, no one can promise that your divorce experience will not resemble a scene from a movie (but there is a way out if your personal life resembles a drama fit for Lifetime). Whether or not anyone is “at fault,” you can file for divorce and either your spouse responds to your papers, or the court will make a decision for him or her. If you are ready to liberate yourself, or are interested in learning more about the divorce process, contact the certified Family Law Specialists (as certified by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization) at Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling complex family law matters and would be happy to meet with you for a free consultation.
Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.
*A “California Resident” is a person who has lived in California for the last 6 months and has lived in the county where the party desiring a divorce has lived for the last 3 months.
**Source: California Courts: Judicial Branch of California, “Options to End a Marriage or Domestic Partnership,” found at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/1224.htm