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What Will a Divorce Accomplish?

A divorce court will attempt to divide the property of a marriage in the most economic manner possible, provide each spouse with the right to remarry and set reasonable support.

In California, the property division involves an equal split of all property acquired by the parties during the marriage, from their work effort. Inheritances, for example, are separate property of the recipient. The exceptions and complications associated with this rule are lengthy. In order to get though this process our office recommends reducing these issues to an accounting page that is shared between the parties to redirect the dialogue to relevant financial issues an away from purely emotional issues in order to complete this aspect of the process.

The distribution of specific assets will vary depending on the circumstances of each particular case. That is why it is often difficult for attorneys to predict exactly how the divorce court will handle the division of a couple's property and is why our office strives to start an accounting worksheet early in the case. Some assets maybe liquidated while others awarded one particular party.

Ultimately upon division of assets an equalization payment will have to be made to balance the distribution of assets between the spouses according to the accounting or judgment of the court if the parties are unable to settle the matter.

Divorce will also give each of the parties the legal freedom to remarry.

In those cases where one party is not financially self sufficient to maintain the marital standard of living, reasonable support becomes an issue. In short marriages this will be for half the length of the marriage. In long marriages the court will at least reserve jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support until death or remarriage, unless a lump sum buyout is agreed upon.


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In a summary dissolution, a hearing with the judge is typically not needed. A marriage of five years or less may be ended by summary dissolution, which is a simplified procedure to terminate a marriage in the state of California. With a summary dissolution, a joint petition is filed when 1) either spouse meets the standard residency requirement, 2) the marriage is irretrievably broken down due to irreconcilable differences, 3) the marriage is childless, 4) the wife is not pregnant, 5) neither spouse owns real estate, 6) there are no unpaid debts greater than $4,000, 7) the total value of community property is less than $25,000, 8) neither spouse has separate property (excluding cars and loans) of greater than $25,000, 9) the spouses have reached an agreement regarding the division and distributions of assets and liabilities, 10) both waive their rights to maintenance and appeal; 11) both have read a brochure about summary dissolution and 12) both desire to end the marriage.
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