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Common Myths About Divorce

The mother always gets custody of the children.

This is incorrect. In California there is no preference. Many times, the father will be granted custody because he is more capable of providing for the child’s emotional needs, etc. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the parties will attend custody mediation prior to the court hearing. Mediation is mandatory if child custody is in dispute.

The other party always gets half of everything

This is not always the case. Property acquired prior to marriage and after the date of separation is generally separate property. When you marry, that event does not automatically convert separate property into community property.

A husband or wife will always pay or receive spousal support

This depends on the facts of the case. The court usually applies Guideline Temporary Spousal Support. If the case goes to trial, the court applies Family Code Section 4320.

There is Common Law Marriage in California

There is no Common Law Marriage in California. You can only have community property if the parties are married or have a Registered Domestic Partnership. In determining the amount and duration of spousal support, pre-marital cohabitation can not be considered to determine the length of the marriage. Generally, a marriage of 10 years or longer is considered a long term marriage.

A spouse can introduce evidence of wrongdoing in a divorce case

Generally, this is not allowed. California is a no fault state. Any evidence of this type will not be considered by the court. The evidence of wrong doing may be appropriate to prove breach of fiduciary duty, etc. but not to obtain a divorce action.

If you use a divorce attorney, the case will not settle and the lawyers will get everything

A party should have an attorney represent him or her to ensure that he or she receives everything that they are entitled to receive. Some of the law in divorce cases is straight forward. Some of the law is complex. Most attorneys charge by the hour. Their fees average from $200.00 to $400.00 per hour for a competent attorney. A straight forward uncontested divorce can usually be resolved in 10 to 15 hours of work. A more complex case can take many more hours. It usually costs $435.00 to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or a Response. This fee is paid to the court.

You must file a divorce where you were married

As long as the marriage is valid, you may file a divorce as long as one of the parties has been a resident of California for 6 months, and the county for 3 months, immediately preceding the filing of the Petitioner.