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Santa Barbara Divorce Lawyer

If you live in Santa Barbara and are considering filing for divorce, it is important to take your case to an experienced divorce attorney.  The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth’s Santa Barbara divorce lawyers represent husbands and wives in divorce and separation cases throughout the Santa Barbara region, helping them get the asset division, alimony, child custody, and child support they need in their divorce cases.

For a free legal consultation on your divorce case, contact our law offices today.  Our attorneys are equipped to handle even the most complex divorce litigation.  To schedule your free, confidential legal consultation and learn more about your options for proceeding with a divorce case, contact the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today at (805) 585-5056.

Grounds for Divorce in California

When you file for divorce, you typically select the proper “grounds” for your divorce.  In some states, there are both “no-fault” and “fault-based” grounds for divorce, giving petitioners options for how to file for divorce.  In California, there is only one set of grounds for divorce: irreconcilable differences.  This is a “no-fault” type of divorce, meaning that you do not need to prove any wrongdoing to get your divorce finalized.

When you file for no-fault divorce, you claim that you and your spouse have differences that get in the way of staying married.  If these differences involve abuse or adultery, you do not have to carry the burden of proving these issues in court.  Instead, you can file for divorce with or without any legal “cause” for divorce.

Types of Divorces in California

Although there is only one set of grounds for divorce – no-fault divorce – there are still different “types” of divorce cases.  If you file your case and your spouse responds in court to challenge your asset division or child custody, the case is typically called a “contested divorce.”  This is different from two different types of “uncontested divorce” you can file in California.

A divorce is called an “uncontested divorce” if your spouse does not challenge the case when it goes to court.  This can happen in many cases where you and your spouse agree on divorce terms or you worked with attorneys to form a divorce agreement before filing your case.  If you have an agreement, the divorce will be “uncontested” and can proceed quickly after going to court.

A divorce case can also be “uncontested” if it is a “default divorce.”  A default divorce is one where the respondent does not come to court at all.  If you do not respond to a divorce case filed against you, the divorce will be granted anyway and you will have no say in the legal outcomes.  This essentially means not putting forth any objection to decisions like being stripped of child custody or ordered to pay alimony.  This is generally not recommended.

In some cases, you can file for “summary dissolution.”  Typically, a judge must approve a divorce case, and there is a 6-month waiting period between when you file your case and when you can get your case before a judge.  In cases where you have not been married very long, have few shared assets, and do not have children, you may be able to get divorced a bit quicker by handling your divorce without a judge.  In these summary dissolution cases, you and your spouse file together with all agreements worked out, and the courthouse can approve your divorce without having you appear before a judge.  However, you must still wait 6 months before the divorce can be finalized.

How to File for Divorce in Santa Barbara, California

In California, you file for divorce by filing your paperwork with the court and serving the respondent – your spouse – with divorce papers.  Before filing, there is a lot of work you need to do to fill out the proper forms, gather information about your case and your finances, and verify that your documents are properly in order.

When you file for divorce, the court will need information about your children, your finances, and other areas of concern in a divorce.  The financial information can be quite difficult to gather on your own since you will need to make a full list of all assets and finances you control – jointly or separately from your spouse.  An attorney can help you complete difficult paperwork.

There are also legal requirements to make sure that your spouse has proper notice of the divorce and an opportunity to be heard in court.  Your attorney can help you meet these standards for serving the divorce papers.

When you file for divorce, there is a 6-month waiting period.  During this time, you may be legally separated and start to live apart, but you will still be legally married until a judge finalizes your divorce.

Divorce Issues an Attorney Can Help With

As part of your divorce case, there are many legal issues you may need help with from an experienced divorce attorney:

  • Asset division – California is a 50/50 property division state, but there are opportunities to protect investments and assets through agreements.
  • Alimony – Spousal support payments are a vital financial issue in many divorce cases.
  • Child custody – If you are divorcing with children, the court will need to make child custody decisions in your case.
  • Child support – If parents live in different households, courts will order child support orders to have parents share the cost of raising their children.

If you need help with your divorce case or any of these related issues, contact our Santa Barbara divorce lawyers today.

Call Our Santa Barbara Divorce Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation

If you are divorcing with children or have a high net worth, you may need help protecting your parental rights, your finances, or your right to visitation and child support.  Contact our law offices today for help with your case.  The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth’s Santa Barbara divorce attorneys represent husbands and wives seeking divorce in California and work to protect their rights and help them achieve the divorce that’s right for them.  For a free legal consultation, call our law offices at (805) 585-5056.

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