Ventura Divorce Lawyer
Our Ventura divorce lawyers are proud to serve the local communities of Southern California. To learn more about the divorce services our family law attorneys provide in Ventura, CA, and how we can be of assistance, contact our law offices at (805) 643-5555 for a free and completely confidential legal consultation.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Ventura, CA?
The term “grounds for divorce” refers to the legal reasons for the divorce or dissolution of the marriage. Every state, California included, has its own laws pertaining to grounds for divorce.
Many states recognize particular situations or actions, such as felony conviction or habitual drunkenness, as formal grounds for divorce. However, because California is a “no-fault” state with regard to divorce, you will not be able to cite your spouse’s actions as grounds for divorce. Instead, most divorces in Ventura are attributed to “irreconcilable differences” which have caused the marriage to permanently and irreparably break down.
Though significantly less common, California also recognizes and permits divorce proceedings which are based on “permanent legal incapacity to make decisions.” Be advised that, in order to use this as the basis for your divorce, you will be required to supply documentation and evidence proving your husband or wife (1) is insane at the time you file your petition for divorce, and (2) will remain incurably insane for the foreseeable future. The vast majority of Ventura residents cite irreconcilable differences as their reason for getting divorced.
Critically, you must satisfy California’s divorce residency requirements before filing for divorce in Ventura or any other location the state. Fortunately, these requirements are fairly easy to fulfill. In order to get a divorce in Ventura, either you or your spouse must meet the following requirements:
- You or your spouse must have resided in California for the past six months, at minimum.
- You or your spouse must have resided in Ventura County or other counties for the past three months, at minimum.
You should contact our Ventura divorce attorneys if you have any questions about the residency requirements or grounds for divorce in Ventura, California. Our family law lawyers can help you understand whether you meet the necessary requirements, and what steps you would be required to take to initiate or move the divorce proceedings forward.
What is the Divorce Process in Ventura?
Getting divorced in Ventura, CA can be a difficult and complicated process. Even for spouses who are parting ways on amicable terms, confusion can arise while sorting through financial documents and attempting to determine how property should be divided. For spouses who find themselves involved in disputes over alimony, child custody, child support, or property division, the divorce process can become even more challenging.
Regardless of whether you have children, own real property, or intend to seek permanent alimony, it is not in your best interests to approach the divorce process unassisted, particularly if your spouse has the benefit of legal representation. You will have a much better chance of obtaining your desired outcome if you are represented by an experienced divorce lawyer in Ventura, who will be able to facilitate the process of filing for divorce while protecting your rights and fighting for your best interests as a mother, father, or homeowner.
The divorce process begins when one spouse files a petition for divorce. Next, the divorce petition and summons is served on the other spouse, known as the “defendant” or “respondent.” The “summons” is a legal document that notifies the recipient of the divorce proceedings, describes the filing spouse’s demands as they pertain to alimony and child custody, and contains information about upcoming court appearances and legal deadlines.
Depending on how or even if the defendant responds, the case proceeds through the court system. You or your spouse may request temporary visitation, temporary child custody, or temporary support orders while the divorce is pending. The other spouse must respond to these requests, which will be reviewed at a temporary custody or temporary support hearing.
Be advised that not responding will not stop divorce from occurring. On the contrary, failure to respond to divorce papers can result in the granting of a “default judgment,” which deprives the defendant of a chance to object to demands, dispute facts, or share his or her side of the story.
Within 60 days of the date on which the petition is filed, both spouses are required to submit documents known as “financial disclosure forms.” The purpose of these forms is to itemize, in detail, each spouse’s income, debts, and assets. The information contained in each disclosure is used to aid determinations about child support, alimony, and child custody. The process of exchanging and analyzing information is called “discovery.”
It may be possible for you and your spouse to reach a marital settlement agreement through negotiations, settlement conferences, and mediation. Otherwise, you or your spouse may request a divorce trial, at which you may be required to appear and testify.
If you and your spouse have children, you will be required to submit a parenting plan. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement about child custody and visitation, the court will consider you and your spouse’s home environments, income, health, and other factors to make a custody determination, with the ultimate focus being placed on the child’s best interests.
Ultimately, the divorce process may take months, a year, or several years to conclude. It simply depends on the complexity of the issues – for instance, whether you and your spouse happen to be business partners – and the extent to which the parties are in dispute over matters like custody and alimony.
The Terms of Your Ventura Divorce
While divorce is the straightforward dissolution of a marriage contract, there is nothing straightforward about most divorces. Each divorce follows its own course, and it can be difficult to predict what that will look like from the outset. There are, however, universal terms that apply to every divorce, including:
Let’s take a closer look at each that applies to your situation.
The Division of Your Marital Property
In California, marital property refers to the assets and debts – or their overall value – that you and your spouse came to own over the course of your marriage. This is your marital estate, and it belongs to both of you equally. Upon divorce, these assets are generally divided between the divorcing spouses equally.
Any assets that belonged to either of you when you married will remain your separate property – as long as you’re able to keep the property separate throughout your marriage, which can be a challenge. The following two points are important to keep in mind in relation to separate property:
Any increase in an asset’s value will likely be considered marital
Any commingling of marital and separate assets can alter the separate nature of an asset
Child Custody and Parenting Time
California addresses child custody in terms of both legal custody and physical custody, which it calls parenting time. Legal custody determines primary decision-making concerns, such as those related to:
Your children’s schooling
Your children’s religious upbringing
Your children’s healthcare
Your children’s extracurriculars and travel
Where your children make their primary home
Parenting time sets the schedule whereby you and your divorcing spouse will divide your time with your shared children. If you’re able to create a parenting time schedule that works for your family, the court is very likely to include it in your child custody orders. If not, however, you can expect one of the court’s standard issue schedules.
California courts base every child custody decision on the best interests of the children, and some of the best interest factors they turn to include:
The preferences of those children who are mature enough to weigh in
The overall mental and emotional stability of each parent
The children’s needs and each parent’s ability to address them
Any record of domestic violence or illegal drug use on the part of either parent
Both parents are responsible for continuing to financially support their children throughout their childhoods, and child support is the tool that’s used. A wide range of factors go into the calculation process, but even when parenting time is balanced between both parents, the higher earner typically makes the child support payments.
Alimony is called spousal support in California, and it is a tool that’s employed only when divorce leaves one spouse without the financial ability to continue supporting themself financially while the other can provide support.
Will I receive alimony?
If you can demonstrate that your divorce leaves you with a financial need and that your spouse has the means to offset it, the court will consider alimony.
Are mothers more likely to be awarded primary custody in California?
California courts are gender-neutral on the matter of child custody. The children’s best interests always prevail.
Will my spouse’s wrongdoing have an effect on our property division?
California is a no-fault state, so your spouse’s wrongdoing will not affect your property division – unless they committed financial fraud on your marital estate.
Contact an Experienced Ventura Divorce Attorney for Legal Help
If you live in Ventura, CA and need help filing divorce, responding to divorce papers, getting a legal separation, ending your domestic partnership, or any other aspect of the separation or divorce process, turn to The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC for aggressive representation backed by years of experience. Our Ventura divorce attorneys are well-versed in California divorce law and can work to protect your right to spend time with your children, retain control over your valuable property and assets, and other important components of marriage dissolution. Matters our legal team can assist you with include:
- Alimony/Spousal Support Disputes
- Child Custody Disputes
- Child Support Disputes
- Divorce for Business Owners
- Divorce for Military Members and Veterans
- Divorce for Parents
- Divorce for Senior Citizens
- Divorce for Young Couples
- Divorce Mediation
- High Net Worth Divorce
- Legal Separation
- Same-Sex and LGBT Divorce
- Uncontested Divorce/Default Judgments
Getting divorced is not easy, but skilled and compassionate representation can make the process simpler and less stressful while increasing your odds of a favorable outcome. To speak confidentially with an experienced Ventura divorce attorney in a free divorce consultation, contact The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC at (805) 643-5555 today.