California Divorce and Domestic Violence
Divorce is the legal process by which a couple can dissolve their marriage. California has unique filing requirements and laws that require the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. This is particularly true in situations where one party has alleged domestic violence.
According to the United States Census Bureau, 209,426 Californians divorced in 2017. This represents a decrease from the 219,719 people who divorced in California in 2016. Yet despite this, California still has one of the highest rates of divorces in the country at 60%, compared to the national average of 50%. While no one wants to consider their marriage failing, if you do find yourself in a situation where your relationship is beyond repair, a top-notch family attorney can protect your interests.
California: A No Fault Divorce State
A divorce can range in complexity depending on a number of factors, such as whether the couple has significant assets or debts or if there are children involved. In most cases, a person going through a divorce will benefit from the advice and advocacy of a skilled Upland family law attorney.
California is a “no fault” divorce state, which means that either spouse can file for divorce without having to prove that the other did something wrong. Instead, most divorces granted on the basis of irreconcilable differences that have led to the breakdown of the marriage.
While California is a pure “no fault” state when it comes to grounds for divorce, misconduct during the marriage can be relevant in determining alimony (spousal support) and in property division. For example, if one spouse committed adultery, and in doing so, wasted marital assets buying gifts for his or her romantic partner, that could be factored into the division of property.
Otherwise, California is a community property state. This means that any income earned and all property bought with those earnings during a marriage is considered marital property. It is owned equally by each spouse, and at divorce, it is divided equally between the spouses.
California Divorce Requirements
To be granted a divorce in California, the following requirements must be met:
- You must assert that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences;”
- At least one spouse must be a resident of California for at least the last 6 months;
- At least one spouse must have lived in the county where you plan to file for divorce for at least 3 months before filing.
Either person can file a petition for a divorce, in the county where at least one spouse lives. The earliest date that a termination decree will be entered is 6 months plus 1 day after the divorce petition was filed. This will typically only happen if the couple can come to an agreement about the terms of the divorce. If the couple cannot reach an agreement, a trial may be necessary to determine issues such as division of property, child custody and support and alimony. Other forms of dispute resolution, including mediation and collaborative law, may also be utilized to attempt to achieve settlement without the time and expense of going to trial.
At Madden & Associates, we are experienced at all phases of divorce litigation, from filing an initial divorce petition to mediation and trial. We can assist our clients with each step of the process, including:
- Separating property and debts
- Establishing child and spousal support obligations
- Setting up a custody plan and parenting arrangement
- Obtaining restraining orders in situations involving domestic violence
In many cases, an agreement on issues related to property, custody and support can be reached through formal or informal mediation or collaborative law. If that is not possible, Madden & Associates has the experience necessary to take divorce cases to trial to help you achieve the most favorable outcome.
How Domestic Violence Allegations Impact California Divorces
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people per minute are abused by an intimate partner in the United States, which equates to more than 10 million women and men each year. Approximately 25% of marriages end due to a claim of domestic violence.
There is no question that domestic violence is a serious problem in our society. It also can play a major role in California divorce cases, whether it is an allegation, arrest or conviction. That is why it is so vital to have an experienced Upland family law attorney to represent you if your divorce involves claims of domestic violence.
Under California law, domestic violence is defined as:
- Intentional, unrestrained physical assault, battery and bodily injury;
- Sexual assault; or
- Any other type of abusive, harassing or intimidating behavior by one partner against the other that would cause a court to issue a protective order to provide for the protection of the abused partner.
Although California is a no-fault divorce state, if one spouse has been convicted of domestic violence within five years of the divorce petition, a court may take that into consideration when determining spousal and child support, child custody and visitation.
If neither partner has been convicted of domestic violence, allegations of domestic violence may still factor into a divorce proceeding. A restraining order is a common way for the partner who is alleging abuse to seek protection from the other partner. It may prevent the other partner from entering the family home, seeing the children without supervision, or coming within a certain number of feet of his or her spouse. It may also require him or her to attend counseling or anger management classes. These restrictions may make obtaining child custody and visitation more challenging.
Because domestic violence allegations are particularly sensitive and can complicate a divorce case, it is critical to have a highly-skilled Upland family law attorney to represent you in these situations. With a background in both family and criminal law, Madden & Associates has the knowledge and experience to advocate for their clients and help protect their rights.
Divorce Attorney in Upland, California
If you are considering a divorce, you will need a seasoned family law attorney on your team. Madden & Associates is an ideal choice for anyone seeking a divorce in Upland, California and the surrounding areas. We will zealously advocate for you, and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Contact our office today at (909) 581-8390 to schedule a consultation with an experienced Upland family law attorney.