Divorce is a difficult decision, and initiating the action can be just as daunting. Before taking the leap and going to court, you need to decide who should be the one to file first. While each case is different and nuanced, there are some general guidelines that may help make the process smoother.
In some cases, both spouses might want to file at the same time without any issue or dispute between them. In this situation, it’s usually best to rotate filing duties between both parties so that no one spouse feels singled out. This helps keep things civil on both sides and lessens the chances of an adversarial relationship developing throughout the divorce proceedings.
In other cases where one spouse may have more resources or leverage than the other, it’s important that the spouse with fewer resources is the one to file first. This helps ensure that no power dynamic develops between them and allows each party to proceed on an even playing field.
The decision of who should file first may also be affected by the grounds for divorce. However, most cases in California are filed with the reason of “irreconcilable differences.” This simply means, the differences between the two spouses has reached a level where the marriage is not salvageable.
This decision can also be even more complicated if children are involved, and especially if the parents cannot agree on custody arrangements. Deciding who gets to see the kids and the terms of visitation is a thorny subject. In addition, many couples can use child support payments as potential leverage to get more favorable terms for themselves. This can be a heartbreaking, difficult situation that requires advanced knowledge of California divorce law.
No matter who files first, it is crucial that both sides have effective legal representation, especially if any aspect of the divorce is contested. Going into a divorce hearing without an experienced divorce lawyer can cost you thousands of dollars in assets, saddle you with extra debt, or even worse. Read on to see how filing for a divorce works in the state of California, and reach out to our law office if you have any questions or need legal representation.
How is Property Separated in San Diego?
Property division is an important aspect of the divorce process in San Diego. Under California law, any property owned by either person during the marriage is considered community property, and by default must be divided equally between both spouses when a marriage ends. Marital property includes any assets or debts acquired by either spouse during their marriage. When two individuals get divorced in San Diego, they’ll need to determine who gets what based on their circumstances and negotiate how the property will be split up according to California laws.
Generally speaking, both parties should leave the marriage with an equal or otherwise appropriate amount of assets and debt, depending on their financial situation, when they start the divorce process. It’s important for both parties involved in the divorce process to understand how property is divided in San Diego so that each party can make sure their rights and interests are protected, as going into the divorce process unprepared can mean a loss of rightfully deserved property or being burdened with an unfair debt obligation.
How is Property Division Determined?
Courts may consider if either spouse wasted any of the couple’s shared resources or engaged in any type of misconduct (such as hiding assets from the other spouse). Ultimately, if the couple and their legal representation cannot come to an agreement before the hearing, it’s up to a judge to decide how these marital assets will be divided fairly and equitably between both spouses. When couples get divorced in San Diego, they can work together to come up with a fair division of their marital property, or they may choose to have each party hire an attorney to represent them in court.
Do I Need to Hire a Divorce Lawyer?
In divorce cases, the court will typically not get involved in negotiating a property division settlement. So if you and your partner cannot come to an agreement that is fair for both of you, then it may be necessary for each of you to hire an attorney who can represent your interests in court or through the mediation process so you are not left out to dry by the final court order signed by the judge overseeing the hearing. Your lawyer can help explain the state laws governing property division so that you understand what a judge can or cannot consider when making decisions about how to divide marital assets.
Additionally, they can draft documents to make sure the agreed-upon property division is legally binding, viable, and in their client’s best interests. Make sure you speak with our team when dealing with any issues regarding divorces or other family law matters. Call our office today at (858) 434-1020 for more information and to see how we can help.