There is a lot of information floating around on the internet related to divorce. Do you know what’s true and what’s false?
True or False: Whoever files first will have the advantage in divorce.
FALSE. There is no advantage in filing for divorce first. In addition, you must be served with divorce documents before any divorce papers are finalized. So if someone wants to serve you papers please take them, it is better to operate from a position of knowledge than intentionally keeping yourself in the dark. If, however, after being served, you fail to respond, then your spouse may be able to obtain a default divorce against you. So while there is no advantage in filing first, make sure you respond when you are notified that your spouse has filed for divorce.
True or False: I can get a divorce even if my spouse does not one.
TRUE. Any married person has the right to file for divorce and obtain a divorce in California. As a no-fault divorce state, the court will grant a divorce over the objections of a spouse who does not want the divorce.
True or False: You can tell the court about all the bad things and actions your spouse has done to you during your marriage.
FALSE: California is a no fault divorce state. That means even if your spouse treated you badly* it will not impact how property is divided or how often he/she sees your children. The spouse’s “character” is not at issue in a divorce. However, if there is documented evidence of domestic violence this may be considered in certain limited cases in how property is divided and how custody is decided.
True or False: When it comes to parenting plans, the courts favor the mother simply because she is the mother.
FALSE. Mothers are not favored when it comes to determining a schedule for the children. The courts recognize the importance and the role of the father in children’s lives and are increasingly ordering shared schedules, where both parents have significant amounts of time with the children.
True or False: In mediation, I do not have to be in the same room as my spouse.
TRUE. The goal of mediation is to reach an agreement. To facilitate that, typically, you and your spouse will be in the same room with the mediator where you will have your chance to give details about your situation and why you want a particular custodial schedule. This is true except in a domestic violence situation where they will have separate mediation if it is requested. It is important that you disclose all the information you want to be factored into the decision. If you do not tell the mediator, often times the court will be skeptical if you have important information and yet did not reveal it in mediation. Go to mediation prepared.
True or False: I should not hire an attorney because it will cause more conflict.
FALSE. You should choose an attorney who has a style that fits you. If you want to avoid conflict, find an attorney who can diffuse conflict, focusing on problem-solving instead. An attorney can guide you through the process, help you make difficult decisions and actually reduce conflict by handling the negotiations for you.
Have other questions about things you’ve heard about divorce? Give us a call and we will guide you through the process.
What To Do Next:
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