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Divorce, Legal Separation & Nullity

Court Process from Start to Finish

Neil Bowman-Davis

on 15 August 2012

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Transcript of Divorce, Legal Separation & Nullity

Ending a Marriage
The process of ending your marriage can seem daunting, overwhelming and even terrifying.




The court process has a beginning....
... and an end.
No matter where you are...
we will be your guide.
Child Custody
Child Visitation
Child Support
Spousal Support
Assets & Debts
Common Issues in Divorce Cases
If you don't have children together, there are fewer issues...but your case is not necessarily any easier.
If you have an agreement on all issues, there is no need to appear in court.
You must still complete the process to obtain a Judgment.
Petition & Summons
Financial Disclosures
No Response
No Agreement
Financial Disclosures by Respondent
Default Judgment
Financial Disclosures by Respondent
No Agreement
Final set of
Financial Disclosures
Child Custody
Child Visitation
Spousal Support
Child Support
The Legal Process
The Basics
To start a case, papers must be filed with the court.
The person who files the papers first is the Petitioner.
A copy of the Petition must be given to the other party.
The party that receives the petition is the Respondent.
It doesn't matter who files first.
You must pay a fee to file the petition unless you qualify for a fee waiver.
The soonest you can be divorced is
6 months + 1 day from the date of service.
You are not divorced until you obtain a Judgment.
Where do I begin?
Your journey begins here.
Two types of custody
Legal Custody
Physical Custody
Joint legal custody = both parents have the right to make decisions regarding the children's residence, health, education and welfare.
Legal custody is either:
Legal Custody = the right to make decisions regarding the children's residence, health, education and welfare.
Physical Custody = who provides supervision and has the right to physical control of the child.
Joint physical custody = both parents share significant periods of time with the child.
Sole legal custody = one parent has the exclusive right to make decisions regarding the child.
Physical custody is either:
Sole physical custody = one parent provides primary supervision and physical control of the child.
(wait 30 days to see if response filed)
Parenting plans outline how you will share the children.

The details of your plan will be based either upon your agreement or determined by the court after hearing.
No Agreement
If you have an agreement, we can help you put it into writing.

The writing is called a "stipulation."

The stipulation is submitted to the court for approval.

Once approved, it is a court order.
If you need help reaching an agreement, your case can be referred to mediation.

To obtain a referral, you must file papers with the clerk called an "Order to Show Cause."

The Order to Show Cause directs the parties to mediation.
If no agreement is reached, the court will determine what is in the child's best interest.

The court will then make an order that both parties must follow.
Agreement in Mediation
No Agreement in Mediation
If an agreement is reached, the agreement will become a court order.

The parties can return to mediation if they need additional help.
Child Support is based upon a uniform statewide formula = Guideline Formula
Guideline Child Support is based primarily upon:
Gross Income & Time Share
If both parties agree, the court can order a different amount.

If there is no agreement, the court will order the Guideline amount.
Temporary Spousal Support
General Spousal Support
Available while the matter makes its way through court.

Based upon a formula that tries to maintain the status quo until a final order is made by the court.
Spousal support is either set by the court or upon agreement between the parties.

Final support is based upon a variety of factors such as:
length of the marriage;
standard of living;
earning capacities;
needs of the parties;
education level of the parties;
number of children;
and many more factors.
The parties may agree:

to an amount for a specified duration;
to reserve the issue for future determination; or
to terminate spousal support from either party forever.
Community Property = All property acquired during the course of the marriage.

Does not include property acquired by inheritance or gift.

Community Property is divided equally between the parties.
All property acquired before the marriage.

All property acquired after the date of separation.

All property acquired by inheritance or gift.

Separate Property remains the property of the spouse who owns it.
Two types of property
Separate Property
Division either occurs
by agreement or after a trial.
The Process Provides Opportunity
...opportunity to resolve the issues that led you to court.
Ideally, you and your spouse will reach agreements on all issues.
If you can't reach an agreement, the court will decide the outcome.
It can seem like confronting an insurmountable obstacle.
but you will reach your goal
start here
You are not finished until you obtain a Judgment.
Questions Will Arise
Do I need an attorney?
That depends upon a variety of factors.
The complexity of your case;
The types of issues involved;
The value in controversy;
The nature of the parties; and
Your particular goals.
Where can I find an attorney?
What if I can't afford an attorney?
Can anyone at the Self-help Center represent me?
What other resources are available?
There are many different ways to find an attorney:
word of mouth;
search the phonebook or internet;
visit the Napa County Bar Association
or try sitting in courtroom to observe the attorney's at work.
There are no publicly appointed lawyers to represent you.

If you cannot hire an attorney, you must represent yourself.
No one at the Self-help Center can represent you.
We are not your attorney.
There is no attorney-client relationship.
Our conversations are not confidential.
We do not give legal advice.
We will not appear on your behalf.
If requested, we will provide service to the other party.
There are many resources available
Self-help Center
Historic Courthouse
825 Brown Street, Napa, CA 94559
(707) 299-1137

Mon - Thur: 8:00 am to 4:3o pm
Fri: 8:00 am to 2:00 pm

Appointments encouraged
but walk-ins welcome.
Self-help Center
Law Library

Historic Courthouse
825 Brown Street, Napa, CA 94559

Open Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m to 4:3o p.m.

Nolo Press Books
Rutter Group Materials
Dissomaster Support Calculators
Online research tools
Napa Courthouse

Online Self Help Center

Form Generation

Child Support
For further information, contact the Self-help Center at (707) 299-1137
Divorce, Separation or Annulment
Law Library
Online Resources
Online Resources
Full transcript