Ending a marriage or domestic partnership in San Jose, Silicon Valley, and the surrounding Bay Area can be a difficult, emotional and complex process. Even the most amicable divorces can quickly turn contentious, putting an emotional and mental strain on both spouses and children alike. We are certified specialists in all San Jose family law matters.
Having a compassionate, experienced legal professional by your side is an effective way to remedy this stress and uncertainty. If you are exploring your options for divorce, please consult the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. to discuss your situation. We understand that divorce can not only be complicated but also stressful to all involved. Our experienced San Jose divorce attorneys can help you devise comprehensive legal strategies to assist you through the process.
Trusted, Experienced Legal Counsel for All Aspects of Divorce in San Jose
At Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., we maintain full transparency and open lines of communication to effectively address your concerns. Our strategies are informed by your unique needs, and we make sure to detail our intentions through every step of the dissolution process. Our team of legal professionals has intimate knowledge of all aspects of divorce, including:
- The viability of mediation in more contentious circumstances.
- Temporary orders for marital property, spousal support, and child custody
- Any disagreements regarding the division of assets and property
- Evaluating and determining appropriate child support, custody, and visitation rights
- All matters involving financial support, such as spousal support and Marvin action
- Any LGBT-related proceedings, such as same-sex marriages
- Pre- and postnuptial agreements
- Restraining orders and other immediate actions against domestic violence
- Bankruptcy as a result of divorce
- Any post-divorce modifications or actions
- Appealing any court orders, such as those in civil or family court
- Domestic torts of any kind
By utilizing our comprehensive knowledge of family law in San Jose and maintaining an open line of communication at all times, we hope to dispel any of the stress from your divorce, giving you peace of mind during a tumultuous phase of your life.
Your Options for Getting a Divorce in San Jose, CA
Before starting the filing process for dissolution, there may be other, more appropriate options for separation for your circumstances. The state of California details three ways to officially terminate a marriage or registered domestic partnership:
- A San Jose divorce can be filed to officially dissolve your marriage – once a divorce is finalized, you are single and may legally marry again.
- A legal separation can be a viable alternative for those who do not want to divorce for personal, religious, or other reasons, such as reconciling the relationship at a later time. It does not officially terminate a marriage – when legally separated, you are not allowed to marry or enter a domestic partnership.
- In cases of a legally invalid marriage, an annulment may be an option. In California, marriages are not legally valid if they are bigamous, incestuous, or under minimum age requirements (typically 18 years old). Additionally, an annulment may be granted in cases where the marriage was a result of fraud or coercion.
In exceptional circumstances, spouses or partners may be eligible for a summary dissolution, an expedited form of divorce without the influence of courts of judges. Not everyone is eligible for a summary dissolution – it requires very stringent requirements that vary from marriage to marriage.
The San Jose family law attorney team at Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. have extensive knowledge of all your divorce options, ensuring that you are well-informed of your choices before officially beginning the dissolution process. We understand that this decision may have far-reaching ramifications for you and your family, so we give you all the information that is necessary for you to make a decision.
How Nullity, Dissolution and Legal Separation Works in San Jose
Nullifying your marriage means to invalidate it. Rather than dissolving the marriage, an annulment makes it as though the marriage never happened. It states the marriage was invalid from the start –due to an issue such as fraud or coercion. If one of the spouses was technically already married at the time of the second marriage, it is grounds for nullification. Other reasons for annulment include unsound mind, fraud, deceit, coercion, force, physical incapacity that prevents one spouse from consummating the marriage and one spouse was too young to legally marry.
Dissolution of marriage is the legal phrase for divorce. A dissolution of marriage is the formal ending of a marriage by court decree. It terminates the relationship as married spouses and brings it to a legal close. Unlike annulment, dissolution does not erase a marriage as if it never existed. The marriage will still exist on record, it will just have formally ended. The dissolution process involves serving divorce papers on one spouse, negotiating the terms of the divorce, potentially going to trial and getting a judge to sign the official decree ending the marriage.
Legal separation in San Jose means the couple will technically remain married but live in separate households. They will still retain all the benefits of marriage, including health care benefits. Both spouses will retain their married statuses on paper, meaning they cannot remarry unless they proceed with a dissolution. It is possible to receive payments from one spouse for spousal maintenance during a legal separation. Let a divorce lawyer help walk you through this complex process.
Requirements for Divorce in San Jose, CA
The state of California puts general requirements in place in order to petition for divorce or separation.
Fault in a San Jose divorces
California is a “no-fault” state regarding divorce: a spouse or partner need not display gross negligence or wrongdoing in order to file for divorce. Additionally, both partners do not need to agree to a divorce before initiating the process.
In the state of California, each type of separation has residency requirements in order to file.
- Divorces in California require that at least one of the spouses or partners must have resided in the state for the last 6 months, and the county where you plan to file for the last 3 months.
- Filing for a legal separation requires one of you to reside in the state, with no requirements for length or time or duration.
- An annulment generally does not have any residency requirements.
These residency requirements only apply to married couples – domestic partnerships may have slightly different requirements. Generally, if your domestic partnership is registered in California, there are no residency requirements necessary.
Waiting periods in San Jose, CA Divorce Cases
California law states that spouses or partners must have a mandatory 6-month waiting period before a divorce is finalized. This begins the date the person filing for divorce officially serves their spouse or partner of their filing.
It’s important to note that these are very general requirements for divorce and separation in California. There may be other specific laws and requirements to follow before officially starting the divorce process. The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. can help clarify any such laws and ensure these requirements are met before you initiate divorce proceedings. If you’d like to speak about the details of your case over a free initial consultation, contact us today.
What Are Irreconcilable Differences in Divorce Cases
Since California is a no-fault divorce state, the most commonly cited reason for a dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership is irreconcilable differences. Irreconcilable differences mean two spouses have suffered a breakdown of the marriage they cannot fix. It could refer to many circumstances within a marriage, from drifting apart to having different family values. The California courts do not require proof of irreconcilable differences. One spouse must simply cite this as the grounds for divorce when filing the paperwork.
Property Division and Financial Assets for Divorce in San Jose
Different states handle property division during a divorce case in unique ways. California is a community property state, meaning a judge will divide property down the middle regardless of fault for the divorce or the circumstances of each spouse. In California, a judge will order a 50/50 split of all property acquired by the parties during marriage (community property), as well as all debts accumulated during the marriage. Factors such as each spouse’s income, education levels, ages, health, disability or the length of the marriage will not matter in property division decisions in California. These factors will matter, however, in spousal support decisions.
Community property encompasses all assets, income and properties the couple acquired together during the marriage. It does not include separate property, or items each spouse came into the marriage already owning. Community property also does not include items given specifically to one spouse as a gift, nor either spouse’s inheritance. Community property can include real estate, bank accounts, savings, retirement funds, 401(k)s, jewelry, vehicles, businesses, artwork, investments, household items, pets and debts.
Before splitting everything down the middle, the divorce courts will give a couple the opportunity to work out a different property division arrangement together. If the couple can compromise and agree on a property division plan, a judge will more often than not sign off on the arrangement. When two spouses cannot agree on property division, however, the choice will go to a family court judge, who will split it down the middle under California’s property division laws. A lawyer from the Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. can help you with property division and financial asset organization during mediation and/or a divorce trial in San Jose. We are the best law firm to go to when it comes to handling these matters.
Child Custody/Visitation/Support Agreements During San Jose Divorce Cases
If you and your spouse share a child together, your divorce or separation will be more difficult than couples without children. You will need to work out complex issues such as custody, visitation and child support, or else hand the matters over to a judge. As with property division, a judge will first give parents the opportunity to create a parenting plan on their own before intervening. You and your spouse can work together, with or without help from a mediator, to try to create a plan for child custody, visitation and financial support for the future.
You will need to create a parenting plan in great detail. It should include how much time the child will spend with each parent, where he or she will spend the weekends and holidays, whether both spouses will retain legal responsibilities for the child, visitation rights, and whether one spouse will pay the other child support. If you and your spouse fail to create a parenting plan and custody agreement that you both approve of, the matter will go to court.
During a custody case, a judge will always use the standard of the child’s best interests to make decisions. While a judge may look at factors such as criminal convictions, a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, the child’s relationship to each parent, the contributions each parent made to the upbringing of the child, the child’s wishes and more, the judge will ultimately make decisions based on what will be best for the child. A lawyer can help you present your case for custody, visitation and/or child support during a divorce trial in San Jose.
When Does My Divorce Become Final in San Jose?
Getting your marriage dissolved in California requires a specific legal process that will take at least six months to complete due to California’s mandatory waiting period. No divorce takes less than six months under this rule. You and your spouse may be able to have your divorce finalized at the end of the six-month waiting period if you use this time to create a settlement where you agree on all the terms of your divorce, such as child custody and property division.
With a divorce settlement, you can submit your finished settlement agreement to a family court judge in Santa Clara County. Once the required six months have passed, the judge will sign off on the papers and dissolve your divorce, effective immediately. A judge will sign off on most settlement agreements unless they are inordinately unfair to one spouse or threaten a child’s well-being. Your divorce will not become final in San Jose until a judge signs the paperwork and issues a divorce decree.
If you and your spouse cannot achieve a settlement agreement, your divorce case will go to trial. This means it will take longer to become final. A divorce trial in San Jose can take one year or longer, depending on how backed up the court system is and how long you must wait for your court date. You and your spouse can still reach a settlement at any time before the first day of your trial. With a divorce trial, your dissolution of marriage will not be final until the case concludes and a judge issues the orders.
Factors That May Impact the Cost of a Divorce in San Jose
The cost of a divorce is a common concern for couples in Silicon Valley. The best way to estimate how much your divorce case might cost is by speaking to an attorney, as many factors can impact the final price. One is whether the case settles or goes to trial. A divorce trial in San Jose is much more expensive than a settlement, as it takes longer and requires more expenditures, such as hiring experts to testify and paying court costs.
The total cost of a divorce can include many expenses, such as the price of hiring a divorce attorney, paying California’s $435 filing fee, the cost of hiring experts and accountants, and administrative fees. The average cost of a divorce in California is currently between $6,000 and $20,000 but can cost more based on the case. In general, the longer your case takes, the more expensive it will be. Having a lawyer represent you can keep the divorce process as fast and efficient as possible. Your lawyer will search for ways to speed up the process and avoid costly mistakes.
Steps to Take Before a Divorce
There are certain steps that you can take to prepare for your divorce before you file the paperwork and begin the legal process. First, start to gather all documentation and records that you might need for your divorce case. This includes financial documents, such as tax returns and bank statements. You will need to determine what you own, what you owe and your income. Preparing a post-divorce budget can also help you control your finances after a divorce.
Close any joint credit card accounts and create your own line of credit, if necessary. Don’t move out of your marital home, if possible. This could affect your case, such as impacting who gets the home in a divorce settlement. Protect yourself by being careful who you talk to about your divorce. For example, don’t post on social media or badmouth your ex in front of your kids. Finally, when you are ready to proceed with the legal process, hire a divorce lawyer in San Jose to represent you and protect your interests.
Resolving Your Separation Out of Court in San Jose, CA
Even the most amicable separations can cause enormous turmoil in a family. The large amount of paperwork and court proceedings combined with the reality of a sudden change in family dynamic can inject emotional strife in to an already impactful situation. Additionally, introducing a judge into the situation who has no emotional stake or grasp of the circumstances can significantly increase the probability of a bad outcome. In these cases, there may be a more practical alternative to resolve divorces or separations – with minimal added stress for both parties involved.
Mediation & Divorce
Mediation can help couples resolve issues outside of the courtroom with an impartial third party. This option empowers partners or spouses to talk through any disputes or issues and come to a conclusion on their own. Unlike judges, mediators do not make decisions – and do not force you to follow their orders.
Even if you believe resolving a separation out of court is the best route for you, it is nonetheless recommended to retain counsel from a qualified San Jose family law professional who can guide you through this process. The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. will support your decisions to pursue resolutions outside of the courtroom and consult you in the best way possible to ensure you come to an amicable split.
Resources for Divorce in San Jose, CA
All matters of family law and divorce proceedings in San Jose occur in the courts – specifically, the Santa Clara County Superior Courts. All of their family court proceedings occur at the Family Justice Center Courthouse (FJCC):
Family Justice Center Courthouse (FJCC)
210 North First Street
San Jose, CA 95113
Explore Your Options for Divorce Today with our San Jose Divorce Lawyers
The Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. has more than 35 years of experience throughout San Jose and Santa Clara County in all matters of family law and divorce. We provide valuable counsel that caters to your unique needs, and we ensure that you and your children are a priority through the separation process.
Our Silicon Valley divorce attorneys understand the significant impact of a divorce on a family and make concerted efforts to give you peace of mind through full transparency and open, honest communication. If you have any questions regarding any and all aspects of your divorce, please contact us online or call us at 408.560.1708.