Divorce is very nuanced. There are many things to consider which can make an already difficult situation more challenging. Lonich Patton Ehlich Policastri has put together a comprehensive guide of the most commonly asked questions. Get an answer to your divorce question now.
1.What Is The Difference Between Divorce Mediation And Divorce Collaboration?
Mediation is when a neutral third party is hired to facilitate resolution of issues between two people during a divorce. The mediator helps with paperwork, mutual communication between all parties, and securing 60%-70% of goals or desires are met for each party.
Collaboration is a binding contract between both parties and their attorneys stating neither will go to court. If this contract is breached, the parties will have to fire their attorneys and start the process over. Attorneys can help clients identify what’s important to them and how to work through issues. It is common to have non lawyer professionals involved in collaborative divorce. Mental health professionals, divorce coaches and financial specials can add clarity to emotions and difficulties that arise during the resolution of a marriage.
2. How Much Does It Cost To Get Divorced?
This is probably the most common divorce question. The answer is different for everyone. It depends on what issues you have. Do you have children? If so, you will need to deal with the issue of custody. How will your property be divided? Do you own a business together? What if one of you needs spousal support? Is there a post nuptial or a prenuptial agreement? All of these factors impact the cost of your divorce. The best way to find out what cost you’re looking at is to call an attorney. If you live in San Jose, Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri offers a free 30 minute consultation that can answer tough questions like this.
3. How Long Will A Divorce Take?
The answer for this divorce question is similar to the question above. It depends on your unique situation. The attorney you work with will need to know of any estate plans, businesses or property you and your spouse own. They will also need to consider any children and custody agreements involved. It depends on how much you and your spouse agree upon. If you go through mediation or collaboration, it could take less time than going through litigation.
4. How Is Property Divided In A Divorce?
In California, this comes down to two rules: Community property and Separate property. Separate property is anything you acquired before your marriage and that hasn’t been commingled or shared between the two parties during the marriage. If you owned a house before your marriage and have kept it separate from community property, that is added to your separate income when division begins.
Community property is anything acquired during the marriage or shared during the marriage. This includes a family home, cars, debts or anything earned or gifted during the marriage. Community property is divided during the dissolution of the marriage. This doesn’t mean it is necessarily divided in half. If you have two assets of equal value, one person may receive one while the other party receives the other; an example being a house and a retirement savings plan.
5. What Are My Rights During A Divorce?
You have rights protected under the Bill of Rights. You have the right to a fair trial; the right to a safe trial free of harassment from a spouse or their attorney. You have the right to see your child unless a court states otherwise. Speaking with an experienced attorney such as the ones at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri is the best way to learn about your rights during your divorce. Get your questions answered in a free 30 minute consultation.
6. How Does The Court Decide On Child Custody During A Divorce?
Child custody is decided based on many factors. Often, during the case, temporary custody is assigned. This allows the child to have a stable routine they can depend upon and prevents their lives from being upended. Judges can be hesitant to change this plan when deciding on permanent custody as they don’t want to remove that stability from the child’s life. Temporary custody can be an indicator of the end result of child custody, but it isn’t guaranteed. Once divorce is filed, the state your child currently resides in becomes their home state. If a parent wants to move out of the state or relocate, this can affect the outcome as well.
Judges consider the wellbeing of the child over everything else. This means they will look into any history of mental illness, drug abuse or addiction, and financial stability (to name a few). Courts tend to favor the spouse who is able to put their differences and issues from the divorce aside for the betterment of the child. This means the more level headed you are, the better.
7. Does My State Have A Separation Requirement?
This is a crucial divorce question to research before filing. In San Jose, CA, there is no separation requirement. You must have lived in CA for 6 months before filing for divorce however. Once you have filed, you must wait another 6 months before the finalization of your divorce. If you file for legal separation in the state of California, there is no waiting period making it a great option for those who haven’t lived in the state for 6 months.
If you don’t know if your state has a separation requirement, the best way to find out is to research your state laws or contact a local divorce attorney.
8. How Do I File For Divorce?
This is another common divorce question clients ask. To be eligible for a divorce in CA, you must have lived in the state for 6 months. When it comes to counties, you must have lived in the specific county you file in for 3 months.
Before no fault divorce existed, a spouse had to provide a reason for the dissolution of marriage. This typically involves extramarital affairs or domestic violence and the practice is still common in some states. In California, all divorces are no fault which means one party can simply want a divorce from the other without providing a “fault.” This means that wrongdoing has no impact on the division of assets according to the judge.
After filing, there’s a 6 month waiting period for the finalization of divorce. You and your spouse can work collaboratively to make a plan for child custody and property division without legal assistance and if that doesn’t work you can seek help from a mediator. This is where you might consider collaborative divorce or mediation. The last option is divorce litigation which is also the messiest. This should be a last option if you and your spouse cannot agree on anything.
For help filing in Santa Clara county, contact Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri.
9. Will I Have To Go To Court?
You may not need to go to court if you are able to resolve issues and division of assets through mediation or collaboration. This is an ideal situation and all papers can be filed with the court with a judgement on your case sent in the mail. Sometimes you may still be required to show up for a hearing in these cases.
If you opt for divorce litigation, the matter will be handled in court and this can be pricey. If you can avoid litigation, it’s in the best interest of everyone involved. However, at LPEP Law, they know how contentious divorces can get and understand not everyone will be able to settle their issues out of court.
10. How Do I Decide On A Divorce Lawyer?
You should make sure your divorce attorney specializes in family law and divorce cases. You want someone who has handled a myriad of divorce situations and will work to get you the best possible outcome.
Ask how many years of experience they have. If you’re going to court, do they know the court and the judges who preside there? Are they board certified? These are all important questions to ask when deciding on a lawyer.
If you’re considering divorce in San Jose, contact Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri for a free 30 minute consultation. They can help you decide if mediation, collaboration or litigation is the right option for you. Get any divorce question you have answered.