There are plenty of misconceptions about divorce. From alimony payments to the divorce process and statutes, it is important that you separate fact from fiction. A divorce is a life-changing event and one that should not be done without research and a little self-education. Also, if you are considering divorce, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney to help navigate you through the complexities of the statutes in California, and any special circumstances that may apply to your divorce case. The following are common misconceptions held by many Californians:
California Has Common Law Marriages
It is a common misconception that California uses the common law marriage practice. In order to obtain the same rights as a married person, you must be legally married or have a domestic partnership registration. It does not matter how long you have resided with one another. The only time where California will make an exception to this law is when a couple has previously lived together in a state where common law marriages were accepted, and they met the requirements of that state prior to relocating to California.
Spousal Support is Automatically Rewarded for One Half of the Marriage Term
It is also a common misconception that the term of your marriage – divided by two – equates the amount of time for which you receive spousal support. For example, if you are married for eight years, under this logic, you would receive four years of spousal support. There is no statute that provides such strict measures, and the term of your marriage does not explicitly determine how long you will receive support, or the amount. Instead, it is based on a variety of factors, such as your ability to support yourself, economic factors, etc.
A Divorce is Finalized in California Within Six Months After Being Filed
This is the earliest that a divorce can be finalized, but it does not mean that all divorce cases are automatically finalized six months after being filed with a family court. There is a plethora of state laws and local procedures that must first be completed, prior to the judgment entry.
Family Inheritances are Split 50/50
Money earned within the marriage is part of equitable distribution, but family inheritance is not part of those assets. Unless the inheritance was given specifically to the couple, the spouse who received the inheritance keeps 100 percent of it.
Mediation is the Best Option for Divorce
Mediation is one of three options for divorce, but it is not necessarily the best – or even the only – option. Mediation does work for most couples, but it requires that both parties to be open to discussion. If there is hostility, or specific issues, that cannot be resolved through negotiation and discussion, mediation is not the best choice.
Spousal and Child Support Can be Discharged in Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy handles consumer debts, but the state does not recognize support obligations as a consumer debt. If you file bankruptcy, you are still responsible for making all back-owed payments for spousal and child support.
Dispel the Myths – Speak to a Qualified Divorce Attorney
Before you give into the common myths about a California divorce, contact an expert attorney. Sarieh Law Offices, ALC can assist you with your divorce case and explain the statutes that apply to your particular situation. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation at 714-542-6200 or fill out our online contact form with your questions.