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Common Questions About Divorce
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Common Questions About Divorce In San Diego

  1. What reasons do I need to file for a divorce?
  2. Can I make my spouse leave the marital home?
  3. After the Dissolution of Marriage petition is filed, how long does it take for it to be granted?
  4. How can I prevent my spouse from hiding assets or uncover assets that may already be hidden? 
  5. Am I entitled to alimony?
  6. What is Mediation?
  7. What is a “pro se divorce?”
  8. How is child custody and visitation determined?
  9. Is a child support order final?
  10. Am I entitled to know what my child support is going toward?

1.  What reasons do I need to file for a divorce?
You really don’t need a reason at all.  California follows the “no-fault divorce” concept.  This means that you do not even need to tell the court why you want a divorce.  In California, you can simply state “irreconcilable differences” in order to file for a Dissolution of Marriage.

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2.  Can I make my spouse leave the marital home?
In California, if your spouse does not voluntarily leave the marital residence, you cannot simply “force” him or her out.  However, if domestic violence is a factor and you can prove it, then you may be able to.  Note that domestic violence includes threats of violence, physical violence, and emotional duress. 

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3.  After the Dissolution of Marriage petition is filed, how long does it take for it to be granted?
In California, there is a six-month waiting period before a judge can sign the order granting the Dissolution of Marriage.

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4.  How can I prevent my spouse from hiding assets or uncover assets that may already be hidden? 
Before filing for divorce, you should first gather up all the information you can in regards to any assets.  Copy all financial records you can, including bank statements, mortgages, car loans, wills, business statements, corporate and/or partnership tax returns, etc.  Secondly, try to have a neutral discussion with your spouse regarding your finances and write down anything that may direct you to where assets may be hidden or about the types of assets that you, he or she, or both of you might have.  Note that you can ask the Internal Revenue Service to send you copies of your income tax returns if you cannot locate them.  Furthermore, a skilled San Diego Divorce lawyer will most likely recommend hiring a forensic accountant who can help uncover hidden assets. 

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5.  Am I entitled to alimony?
In California, either party may seek spousal support (alimony).  Depending upon an array of circumstances, including how long the marriage lasted and what both of you earn,  you may or may not be entitled to it.  The court may initially grant spousal support on a temporary basis until the divorce is finalized or until the recipient spouse remarries or no longer requires it.

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6.  What is Mediation?
Mediation is part of the legal divorce process.  During mediation, both parties are aided by a neutral, third party whose job it is to help both parties come to some sort of agreement in regards to child custody, support, visitation, and property distribution.  Mediation works best when both parties are ending the marriage civilly and are able to agree in good faith regarding all issues. 

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7.  What is a “pro se divorce?”
The Latin phrase “pro se” means “for oneself.”  A pro se divorce is one in which the parties represent themselves.  In California, it is not mandatory that you hire a lawyer in order to get divorced.  However, caution should be used when deciding not to hire an attorney.  Most divorce cases are not simple, but rather tend to be somewhat complex, especially if children are involved and there are joint assets that will need to be divided.  While you and your spouse may feel that you can handle things on your own, it is always wise at least to consult with a legal professional to insure that you have everything covered. 

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8.  How is child custody and visitation determined?
In California, the courts tend to award joint custody to both parents.  Both parents are encouraged to participate in the rearing of the children.  California judges will seek to award primary custody and visitation based on what is in the “best interests of the children.”

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9.  Is a child support order final?
No.  If the earnings of the payor have changed considerably or the needs of the child have, then it is possible to obtain a modification of the order.

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10.  Am I entitled to know what my child support is going toward?
No.  The parent who receives child support is under no obligation to account for how the money is spent.

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