Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

At Kathleen K. Reeves & Associates, we help clients address a wide range of family law matters. Kathleen K. Reeves is a Certified Divorce Mediator and believes in using productive dialog to resolve virtually all issues related to the dissolution of a marriage. Here are some answers to questions that commonly arise during the process.

What are the grounds for divorce in California?

California is exclusively a no-fault divorce state, which means a divorce can be granted if the court finds that there are "irreconcilable differences" between the spouses. This means that the marriage has broken down to the extent that there is no chance for reconciliation. In essence, if one spouse wants to end the marriage, that spouse can do so even if the other spouse does not.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

In the state of California, a minimum of six months is required before spouses can be legally unmarried. In other words, once you file for divorce, you have to wait at least six months for your divorce to be finalized. In many cases, it takes much longer than six months to complete the divorce.

Are there any residency requirements in order to obtain a divorce?

In order to obtain a divorce, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of California for at least six months prior to filing the divorce petition. Additionally, the spouse filing for divorce must have been a resident of the county in which the divorce petition is filed.

What is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce?

The main distinction between a legal separation and divorce is that when spouses go through a legal separation, their marriage is not terminated in the eyes of the law. People may opt for a legal separation due to personal reasons, such as their religious beliefs or health insurance concerns. Both spouses must agree to a legal separation. If both spouses do not agree, an action for legal separation could turn into an action for divorce.

How is property divided in California?

California is a community property state, which means that any assets or debts acquired over the course of the marriage belong evenly to both parties at the time of the divorce. This means that community property is divided 50-50 between the spouses at the time of divorce.

What is spousal support?

Spousal support is the term used to refer to payments from the higher-earning spouse to the lesser-earning spouse after a divorce. These payments are made for the purpose of maintaining the lesser-earning spouse's standard of living during the marriage. The word "alimony" is often used to refer to the support. The court has a great deal of discretion and can examine a variety of factors when it comes to deciding questions of spousal support, including the length of the marriage, each spouse's earning potential, each spouse's contribution to the marriage, and more.

Should I use mediation?

Mediation is a powerful tool that spouses going through a divorce can take advantage of. Mediation involves having both spouses discuss their issues in the presence of a neutral third party, known as the mediator. The mediator does not act as an advocate for either one of the spouses. Instead, the mediator simply facilitates the dialog and tries to help the spouses reach an agreement.

Contact Kathleen K. Reeves & Associates

At Kathleen K. Reeves & Associates in Pleasanton, we represent clients throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, including Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin. Attorney Kathleen K. Reeves is a certified mediator with more than 30 years of legal experience. We will listen to you and explain your legal options in easily understandable terms. To schedule a consultation with a lawyer, call us at 510-957-9658 or email us today.