If you are considering a Sonoma County divorce, chances are it is your first rodeo and you may not know where to begin. Experts recommend seeking the advice of a knowledgeable local attorney. From there, many of the questions you have specific to your circumstances can be addressed. For general information, here are some things you need to know.
Residency Requirements for a Sonoma County Divorce
There are both state and county requirements for residency. One or both parties in the divorce must meet both requirements:
- Living in the state of California for at least six months;
- Living in Sonoma County where the claim is filed for at least three months.
Grounds for a Sonoma County Divorce
Your marriage may be dissolved based on the following grounds:
- Irreconcilable differences, wherein a breakdown of the marriage has occurred;
- Incurable insanity, as determined by qualified medical opinion.
Sonoma County Divorce – Property Division
California is a Community Property state, meaning that the parties will share marital debts and property—that which was acquired during the course of the marriage—equally. The court will consider whether debts were necessary for the support of the family or if they benefited one partner in particular. For instance, a car loan might be assigned to the spouse who retains the car.
Sonoma County Divorce – Spousal Support
The court will consider a number of factors in determining the amount and length of spousal support, if any, to be paid to the lesser earning spouse. Some key considerations include:
- Each party’s capacity to earn a living;
- The degree to which one partner supported the other in obtaining an education and/or career;
- The ability of the higher earning spouse to make support payments;
- The length of the marriage;
- The standard of living enjoyed during the marriage;
- The ability to balance childcare with work outside the home for the lesser earning partner;
- The health and ages of the individuals;
- Any history of domestic violence;
- Tax implications of support;
- The eventual ability of the lesser earning spouse to become self-sufficient.
Child Custody and Support
Custody arrangements will be determined based on the best interests of the child. A number of factors will be weighed, including:
- Any history of abuse by either parent;
- Relationships with step-siblings, half-siblings, and/or other caretakers;
- Relationships custody-seeking parents have with other adults who might play a significant role in the child’s life;
- The nature of the relationships the child has with both parents;
- Alcohol and/or substance abuse by either parent.
A minimum amount of child support is required based on the county of residence, and that amount may be increased based on a number of factors, ranging from income to parental stipulations. Child support may be ordered for either parent, in addition to medical insurance. Continue reading →