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Men and fathers going through a California divorce face an array of challenges that threaten to upend their lives. Cordell & Cordell’s California divorce lawyers focus on representing men during the divorce process and that gives them a better understanding of how the state’s laws affect them and their families.

Read through our California divorce and child custody articles to gain a better understanding of the road ahead. Educating yourself about the divorce process in California will improve your ability to communication with your divorce lawyer, which goes a long way toward helping your reach your goals in California family court.

Frequently Asked California Divorce Questions

California Divorce Attorneys provide answers to frequently asked questions with regards to divorce in California.

What are the grounds for divorce?

Irreconcilable differences, fraud, and incurable insanity.

Related Article: The No-Fault/Fault-Based Divorce Debate

What is a divorce going to cost me? Can I afford it?

It depends on the number of children, assets, years of marriage, if there are allegations of domestic violence, and many other factors.  No case is alike and there is no way of generating an average number.

Related Article: The Million-Dollar Question: How Much Will My Divorce Cost?

Do I really need to hire an attorney?

Technically, no. A person can represent themselves by filing In Pro Per. This does not mean that a person should not get an attorney, though.

The laws governing dissolution, child support, and child custody are very complex and the forms necessary to file a motion for dissolution, support and custody are very hard to complete without making errors.

A divorce attorney is always the best bet in order to keep informed about the current law, any changes in the law, and most especially in order to gain an understanding about how the court process works.

Related Article: Do I Need To Hire A Divorce Attorney?

Does this state grant divorces based on marital fault?

No. California is a no-fault state.

Related Article: The Pros And Cons Of At-Fault Divorce

Can I get maintenance or will I have to provide maintenance to my spouse?

The word maintenance is not utilized in California. Maintenance is referred to as Spousal Support.

Whether you have a right to spousal support depends on a number of factors including, but not limited to, your gross annual income, your spouse’s gross annual income, the number of children that you have, and the parenting time-share that has been ordered by the court.

Related Article: Will I Have To Pay Alimony?

Can I change my name at the time of divorce?

Yes. There is a provision in your final judgment paperwork that enables you to change your name.

Related Article: Can You Force Your Ex To Change Her Last Name

Can I get an annulment?

Yes. A marriage is never legally valid when it is incestuous or bigamous. Other marriages can be annulled if the party filing for annulment was under 18 years old when the party was married; if either party was already legally married; if one of the parties was of unsound mind or unable to understand the nature of marriage; fraud; force; or physical incapacity.

Related Article: How Can A Marriage Be Annulled?

When can I file for divorce?

As soon as you consider yourself legally separated (the point at which you do not want to reconcile).

Related Article: I’m In A Hurry: How Fast Can I Get Divorced?

When is my case going to be over?

The dissolution process can take a year or more to complete.

Related Article: How long can a divorce case remain open?

Do I have to go to court?

Not if you are able to settle the matter outside of court.

Related Article: Why It Pays To Settle Your Divorce Out Of Court

If attempts to serve my spouse do not work, what is my next step?

You can have your courier or the person that you had attempt to serve your spouse file a declaration regarding the number of serves. After a certain number of serves the court will hear the matter without the other party being served.

Related Article: Serving Divorce Papers To A Missing Spouse

At what point during the process can a spouse remarry or start dating?

After final entry of Judgment.

Related Article: How Soon Can You Remarry After Divorce?

What if my spouse does not want the divorce?

California is a no-fault divorce state. The court will divorce you regardless if one party does not consent.

Related Article: Collaborative Divorce vs. Contested Divorce

Do the other issues – support, custody, spousal support, and property – have to be decided before the divorce is final?

Yes. Unless you agree to reserve jurisdiction over the particular matter (meaning you will deal with a certain item later in time). Child custody and child support always need to be addressed, however.

How long do I have to live in this state before I can obtain a divorce?

Six months.

After I file for divorce, do I have to continue to live in this state?


Related Article: What Is The Residency Requirement For Filing For Divorce?

What if I am in the military and out of state?

If you are military then you have to file in the state and county where you live or where the other party resides (if you are living abroad).

Related Article: Divorce residency requirements for active duty military

What forms do I need to file a divorce?

Petition for Dissolution, Summons, and Proof of Service.

Related Article: What Legal Information Do You Need To File For Divorce?

Where is a divorce complaint filed?

In the county where you reside.

Related Article: What To Know When Filing For Divorce

How do I serve the divorce complaint on my spouse? How long do I have to wait to receive my divorce?

Have a person other than yourself serve him or her, such as a courier.

Related Article: Was I Properly Served?

How is a divorce granted? Will I have to go to court?

By Final Judgment or by Stipulation. If there is a dispute, then you would have to go to court.

Related Article: 10 Steps For Succeeding In Divorce Court

What typically happens if I go to court to obtain my divorce myself?

You will have to fill out and file your own paperwork. You will also have to speak to the judge and conduct the trial on your own by calling witnesses.

At any time can a parent change a minor child’s last name without the other parent’s permission?

Only if one of the parents has terminated their parental rights.

Related Article: Can You Force Your Ex To Change Her Last Name

Can a couple become legally married by living together as man and wife under the state’s laws (common law marriage)?

No. But there are rules that could permit one of the parties to receive spousal support based on putative spouse status.

Frank Murphy

Edited By Frank Murphy

Chief Compliance Officer
Frank Murphy

Frank Murphy is the Chief Compliance Officer and an Executive Partner at Cordell & Cordell. His responsibilities include oversight of the Firm’s compliance with Legal and Ethical obligations as well as contributing to the day-to-day operations of the Firm as an Executive Partner.

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Men hire Cordell & Cordell because the firm’s entire focus is on aggressively championing the rights of men and fathers through divorce. Our attorneys understand how the deck is often stacked against guys in family law and are committed to leveling the playing field by providing the legal guidance and resources needed to give them a fair chance at success.