The experienced Marin Family County attorneys at The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., understand the divorce process and can offer straightforward answers to your questions about divorce in Marin County. It is crucial to find the right legal team to represent you during this significant life change. We handle all divorce cases from any city in Marin County from San Rafael to Stinson Beach and more.
Our attorneys work with you to secure your family and financial assets for now and in the years to come. With over thirty-five years of experience handling complicated divorce and family law issues, we will protect your rights and act as vigorous advocates for your interests.
At The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., we will explain your legal rights and help you identify your goals in the divorce process. Our attorneys offer help on all family law matters in divorce, including:
- Child custody
- Domestic violence
- Visitation rights
- Property division and finding hidden assets
- Child support
Contact our office today and allow us to demonstrate our commitment to exceptional client service.
How is Divorce Defined & What Laws Apply to Divorce in Marin County?
Divorce is a legal end to a marriage or domestic partnership. In California, spouses divorce due to “irreconcilable differences.” The court places blame on neither spouse for the breakdown of the marriage.
California courts are interested in restructuring and settling matters about the following:
- Custody and visitation;
- Child support;
- Spousal or partner support;
- The division of property; and
- Responsibility for debts.
WAITING PERIODS FOR DIVORCE IN MARIN COUNTY:
California requires a six month waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. This waiting period is a mandatory length of time a couple must wait from the time the Respondent is served with the Petition for Divorce to the time a judge grants the request. Waiting periods are meant to give the couple a chance to reconcile before going through with a divorce, as it is easier to halt the divorce process than to remarry. A waiting period also allows a couple to negotiate a settlement before the matter has to proceed to trial in Marin County. No couple can get a divorce sooner than in six months in California.
Are there Residency Requirements for a Marin County Divorce?
To divorce in California, one of the spouses must meet California’s residency requirements. One spouse needs to live:
- In California for the last six months; and
- In the county where divorce is planned for the previous three months; however,
- If both spouses live in California for at least six months, but in different counties for at least three months, filing is allowed in either county.
Divorce is possible without meeting the residency requirement by filing a petition for legal separation, then submitting an amended petition for divorce once the residency requirement is met.
There is an exception for same-sex couples who married in California but do not live in California and live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage. These couples can file a divorce in the California county where they married.
What is the Divorce Process in California & Marin County?
Couples married less than five years with no children, no real property, and limited marital property and debts may qualify for a summary dissolution. This is an agreement filed at the court, along with a joint divorce petition and other required forms. It is simpler than the traditional divorce process.
Otherwise, the divorce process in California typically proceeds along the following path:
- One spouse files a divorce petition and serves it on the other spouse (the Respondent);
- The Respondent then has thirty days to file a Response to the Petition;
- One party requests a temporary hearing where the judge makes temporary child custody, support, and restraining orders;
- The parties engage in discovery or the exchange of information and documents relevant to the divorce including lists of community and separate property and income and expense declarations;
- Settlement is discussed;
- A Marital Settlement Agreement is signed by the spouses and their attorneys;
- If the parties cannot agree on all of the issues in the case, a trial takes place;
- One of the attorneys prepares a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage;
- The judgment is filed; and
- The court mails a Notice of Entry of Judgment to each attorney.
What Happens in Marin County when my Spouse and I Cannot Reach an Agreement
Most Marin County divorce cases settle without going to trial. Divorcing couples can reach a compromise amongst themselves, through their attorneys, or in an alternative setting like mediation. Divorce is adversarial by nature; therefore, many couples are unable to reach terms on their own.
Divorce attorneys are skilled negotiators and will work diligently at the beginning of a divorce case to reach an agreement. If they are unable to do so, attorneys will take their clients’ cases to court and fight for the best possible outcome.
When a divorce case is put before a judge, the judge decides any unresolved issues. This is risky. Therefore, where settlement is possible, it is best to do so.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in Marin
Whether you have a contested or uncontested divorce will determine whether your divorce case has to go to trial in Marin County. Reaching a settlement with your ex-partner without going to trial is an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce case, you and your ex agree on all the terms of the split. Neither contests the proposed terms of child custody, child support, alimony or property division.
If your ex does not contest the terms of your divorce from the beginning, you can proceed with a default divorce. A default divorce in California is an easy process in which the courts will grant your divorce petition as is, without the need for further negotiations with your ex-spouse or a trial. If your ex does wish to contest one or more terms, your case may require further negotiations – often through alternative dispute resolution – to settle.
A contested divorce is one in which you and your ex-spouse cannot compromise on the terms of the dissolution. You and your ex-spouse will have to go to trial in Marin County to resolve your case rather than working it out during alternative dispute resolution. A contested divorce takes more time and money to resolve than an uncontested divorce in California.
You can improve your chances of having a successful uncontested divorce case by working with an attorney. A lawyer from the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. can advise you while you mediate with your former spouse. Your lawyer will work hard to come up with compromises that work for both of you. If you wish to save time, money and stress with an uncontested divorce in Marin, hire an attorney for assistance.
What is Mediation? Is Mediation Required in California?
Mediation is an informal process to resolve divorce without conflict and the need for litigation. The goal is a compromised solution.
Benefits to divorce mediation may include:
- Lower cost than litigation;
- Informal atmosphere; and
- Autonomy in decision-making.
California requires mediation in all child custody disputes before the court makes a child custody ruling. The mediation must be with a court-appointed counselor trained in these issues. The parents’ divorce case may go through traditional litigation or continue through mediation alongside their custody issues.
What Factors Impact the Cost of a Divorce in Marin?
A frequently asked question we receive at the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. is, “How much will my divorce cost?” In California, you have to pay a $435 filing fee for your divorce petition. You may qualify for a fee waiver if you can prove you are a low-income individual. This is just the fee for filing the paperwork, however. You will face more expenses before your divorce is final, such as court costs and attorney’s fees. Several factors could impact the price tag on your divorce case.
- Whether you hire an attorney
- Hiring accountants, witnesses and other experts
- If you can compromise with your spouse during mediation
- Whether your case has to go to trial in Marin County
- How long your case will take to complete
- Whether the courts order your spouse to pay any of your legal fees
- If your divorce ends in an alimony award
- Your family’s custody agreement
- How the courts divide your marital assets and debts
SCHEDULE A CASE REVIEW WITH AN EXPERT MARIN COUNTY DIVORCE PROFESSIONAL
At The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., we pursue equitable and fair divorce judgments for our clients. Our attorneys will answer your most pressing questions involving divorce or legal separation proceedings. Allow us to relieve you of the legal burdens of a divorce so you can focus on living your best life.
Today’s decisions will affect your future. Our attorneys will work with you individually to understand your needs and create a divorce plan tailored for you. Regardless of your needs, we can help you. Contact our Marin County Family Lawyers or call to schedule a consultation.