Ventura Divorce Lawyers
Our divorce lawyers are proud to serve the local communities of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, including Montecito, Toro Canyon, Mission Canyon, Santa Ynez, Goleta, Orcutt, Bell Canyon, Santa Rosa Valley, Oak Park, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Oxnard, and others. To learn more about the divorce services our family law attorneys provide in Southern California, and how we can be of assistance, contact our law offices at (805) 585-5056 for a free and completely confidential legal consultation.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in California?
The term “grounds for divorce” refers to the legal reasons for the divorce or dissolution of the marriage. Every state, California included, has its own laws pertaining to grounds for divorce.
Many states recognize particular situations or actions, such as felony conviction or habitual drunkenness, as formal grounds for divorce. However, because California is a “no-fault” state with regard to divorce, you will not be able to cite your spouse’s actions as grounds for divorce. Instead, most divorces in California are attributed to “irreconcilable differences” which have caused the marriage to permanently and irreparably break down.
Though significantly less common, California also recognizes and permits divorce proceedings which are based on “permanent legal incapacity to make decisions.” Be advised that, in order to use this as the basis for your divorce, you will be required to supply documentation and evidence proving your husband or wife (1) is insane at the time you file your petition for divorce, and (2) will remain incurably insane for the foreseeable future. The vast majority of Californians cite irreconcilable differences as their reason for getting divorced.
Divorce Residency Requirements
Critically, you must satisfy California’s divorce residency requirements before filing for divorce in Ventura, Santa Barbara, or any other location in California. Fortunately, these requirements are fairly easy to fulfill. In order to get a divorce in California, either you or your spouse must meet the following requirements:
- You or your spouse must have resided in California for the past six months, at minimum.
- You or your spouse must have resided in Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, or other counties for the past three months, at minimum.
You should contact our Ventura divorce attorneys if you have any questions about the residency requirements or grounds for divorce in California. Our family law lawyers can help you understand whether you meet the necessary requirements, and what steps you would be required to take to initiate or move the divorce proceedings forward.
What is the California Divorce Process?
Getting divorced in California can be a difficult and complicated process. Even for spouses who are parting ways on amicable terms, confusion can arise while sorting through financial documents and attempting to determine how property should be divided. For spouses who find themselves involved in disputes over alimony, child custody, child support, or property division, the divorce process can become even more challenging.
Regardless of whether you have children, own real property, or intend to seek permanent alimony, it is not in your best interests to approach the divorce process unassisted, particularly if your spouse has the benefit of legal representation. You will have a much better chance of obtaining your desired outcome if you are represented by an experienced divorce lawyer in Ventura, who will be able to facilitate the process of filing for divorce while protecting your rights and fighting for your best interests as a mother, father, or homeowner.
The California divorce process begins when one spouse files a petition for divorce. Next, the divorce petition and summons is served on the other spouse, known as the “defendant” or “respondent.” The “summons” is a legal document that notifies the recipient of the divorce proceedings, describes the filing spouse’s demands as they pertain to alimony and child custody, and contains information about upcoming court appearances and legal deadlines.
Depending on how or even if the defendant responds, the case proceeds through the court system. You or your spouse may request temporary visitation, temporary child custody, or temporary support orders while the divorce is pending. The other spouse must respond to these requests, which will be reviewed at a temporary custody or temporary support hearing.
Be advised that not responding will not stop divorce from occurring. On the contrary, failure to respond to divorce papers can result in the granting of a “default judgment,” which deprives the defendant of a chance to object to demands, dispute facts, or share his or her side of the story.
Within 60 days of the date on which the petition is filed, both spouses are required to submit documents known as “financial disclosure forms.” The purpose of these forms is to itemize, in detail, each spouse’s income, debts, and assets. The information contained in each disclosure is used to aid determinations about child support, alimony, and child custody. The process of exchanging and analyzing information is called “discovery.”
It may be possible for you and your spouse to reach a marital settlement agreement through negotiations, settlement conferences, and mediation. Otherwise, you or your spouse may request a divorce trial, at which you may be required to appear and testify.
If you and your spouse have children, you will be required to submit a parenting plan. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement about child custody and visitation, the court will consider you and your spouse’s home environments, income, health, and other factors to make a custody determination, with the ultimate focus being placed on the child’s best interests.
Ultimately, the divorce process may take months, a year, or several years to conclude. It simply depends on the complexity of the issues – for instance, whether you and your spouse happen to be business partners – and the extent to which the parties are in dispute over matters like custody and alimony.
Contact an Experienced Ventura Divorce Attorney for Legal Help
If you live in Southern California and need help filing divorce, responding to divorce papers, getting a legal separation, ending your domestic partnership, or any other aspect of the separation or divorce process, turn to The Law Offices of Bamieh & Erickson, PLC for aggressive representation backed by years of experience. Our attorneys are well-versed in California divorce law and can work to protect your right to spend time with your children, retain control over your valuable property and assets, and other important components of marriage dissolution. Matters our legal team can assist you with include:
- Alimony/Spousal Support Disputes
- Child Custody Disputes
- Child Support Disputes
- Divorce for Business Owners
- Divorce for Military Members and Veterans
- Divorce for Parents
- Divorce for Senior Citizens
- Divorce for Young Couples
- Divorce Mediation
- High Net Worth Divorce
- Legal Separation
- Same-Sex and LGBT Divorce
- Uncontested Divorce/Default Judgments
Getting divorced is not easy, but skilled and compassionate representation can make the process simpler and less stressful while increasing your odds of a favorable outcome. To speak confidentially with an experienced attorney in a free divorce consultation, contact The Law Offices of Bamieh & Erickson, PLC at (805) 585-5056 today.