Are there rules that my spouse and I must follow during the divorce process?

iStock_000019612153_SmallThere are certain rules you must follow once the divorce begins. When the divorce process begins, there are temporary restraining orders that  immediately go into effect. The restraining orders block either spouse from taking minor children out of state without the other spouse’s written permission, changing the beneficiaries in your insurance policies, and transferring property. In addition, you will be required to notify your spouse before you make any large or out-of-the-ordinary purchases, and you may have to account for those expenses in front of  a judge. There are many rules and aspects of divorce that people should be aware of if they are pursuing a divorce.

First of all, there are two broad grounds for divorce in California. First of all, you can file for divorce because of “irreconcilable differences.” Irreconcilable differences is a very general category which covers most scenarios. You can check this box on the dissolution petition and the court will grant your divorce. You can also get a divorce because of incurable insanity, which is a much less common option. Incurable insanity requires medical proof that one spouse was insane when the petition was filed, It is also important to note that to get a divorce in California, you and your spouse must have lived in California for six months, and in your county for three months.

In addition, you have other options for ending your marriage besides divorce, which are possible without having lived in California for six months. You can obtain a legal separation, where you and your spouse remain married but have your property divided by the court, as well as have other orders issued for child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support. You can also obtain an annulment, which makes it as though you and your spouse were never married.

Many people do not know that you have several alternatives for how you want to handle your divorce. You can choose whether you want full attorney representation, limited attorney representation, mediation, or self-representation. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages in regards to time, cost, the impact on your children, and the communication between you and your spouse. California has a simplified process for getting a divorce called “summary dissolution.” If you qualify for a summary dissolution, you will face less paperwork, and you will not have to appear in court. You will be eligible for a summary dissolution as long as you meet a series of requirements.

When you are dividing up your property during a divorce, all your assets are considered either communal or separate property. In general, community property is any property acquired during the marriage, unless otherwise specified in a contract. Separate property is any property acquired before the marriage, including rents, property, profits, and debts.

The dissolution process is the same for a registered domestic partnership, as long as your domestic partnership is registered with the State of California. However, it is important to note that federal law does not recognize registered domestic partnerships, meaning tax laws do not apply to domestic partners in the same way as they do to married couples.

Family law attorneys can be very important to the divorce process. Property settlements, spousal support, and child custody disputes can be very complicated. A lawyer can help you figure out how to put you property settlement agreement into writing, understand your rights and duties regarding your children, and help you with any unexpected problems.