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LEGAL LINKS
(links to other states to follow soon)

California: Family Law Basics
Utah: Family Law Basics

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California
California: A Marriage - Divorce, Legal Separation & Annulment Overview
Child, Spousal, & Partner Support Overview
California Family Code
California Family Law Court Forms
In What County Do I File?

California Courts
San Mateo Family Court
San Francisco Family Court
Marin Family Court
Santa Clara Family Court

Mediation
http://www.mediate.com

Collaborative Law
http://www.collaborativepractice.com
http://www.cpcal.com


California: A Marriage - Divorce, Legal Separation & Annulment Overview
Below is an excerpt. Click on the link for more information.
http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/family/overview/divorce.htm

Ending A Marriage - Divorce, Legal Separation & Annulment Overview
Divorce
. A divorce (also called a "dissolution of marriage") ends your marriage. You can get a divorce if you say you have "irreconcilable differences" with your spouse. You don't have to give the court any other reason. It doesn't matter who is at fault.

To get a divorce in California, you or your spouse must have lived in California for the last 6 months AND for 3 months in the county where you're going to file for your divorce. Click here to learn more about California's "residency requirements."

When you get a divorce, you can ask the judge to make orders about:

Custody and visitation. This means who your children will live with and how you and your spouse will share parenting responsibilities.

Child and spousal support. This means the amount of money that the judge orders one spouse to pay the other spouse.

• The division of your property.

• And who will be responsible for paying debts.
If attorneys are involved, you may be able to get orders about who will pay their fees. You can also ask the judge to make other orders about things like domestic violence. Click here to learn more about domestic violence and staying safe.

Anyone who is married can get a regular divorce.

Some couples that have been married less than 5 years can get a "summary dissolution." A summary dissolution is an easier way to end your marriage. Click here to learn more about getting a summary dissolution.

For more information, go to this Self-Help Center's section on Divorce, Legal Separation & Annulment.

Legal Separation. If you can't (or don't want to) get a divorce, you can ask the judge for a legal separation. (You can't get a divorce if you and your spouse have lived in California for less than 6 months (or for less than 3 months in the county where you want to file.)

If you get a legal separation, you can ask the judge for orders on things like child support and spousal support, custody and visitation, domestic violence restraining orders, or any other orders that you could get in a divorce.

To get a legal separation, you follow the same basic process used for a divorce. But legal separation is different because it doesn't end your marriage. You and your spouse may NOT remarry after getting a legal separation. If you ask for a legal separation, you may be able to change to a divorce case later if you meet certain requirements.

For more information, go to this Self-Help Center's section on Divorce, Legal Separation & Annulment.

Child, Spousal, & Partner Support Overview
Below is an excerpt. Click on the link for more information
http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/family/support/intro.htm

Child Support. Child support is the amount of money that the court orders one parent to pay the other parent every month for the support of the child(ren). California has a formula (called a "guideline") for figuring out how much child support should be paid in all cases. Click here to learn more about how child support is calculated.

Child support payments are usually made until children turn 18, or 19 if they are still in high school full time, living at home, and can't support themselves. Click here to learn more about when child support ends. You can ask the judge to make a child support order when you:

Get a divorce, legal separation, or annulment, Establish parentage, or Get a domestic violence restraining order.

Parents who have signed a voluntary declaration of paternity, OR are married, or registered domestic partners, and don't want to get legally separated or divorced can also ask for a child support order when they file a Petition for Custody and Support of Minor Children form FL-260.
Either parent can later ask the judge to change the support amount if the situation changes.

Spousal Support. When a couple separates or divorces, the court may order one spouse to pay the other a certain amount of support money each month. This is called "spousal support."

The judge will consider many things when deciding what spousal support to order. Examples of some things the judge may consider are:

How long the couple has been married; The age and health of each spouse; How much income each can earn on their own; The expenses of each spouse; If there are minor children at home; and The history of how the couple handled money during the marriage.
Either spouse can later ask the judge to change the support amount if the situation changes. For more information, go to this Self-Help Center's section on Child, Spousal, & Partner Support.


California Family Law Code

Below are partial excerpts of the code for community property, separate property and tramsmutation.
Click on link below for the entire California Family Law Code

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/calawquery?codesection=fam&codebody=&hits=20

Community Property 760-761
760. Except as otherwise provided by statute, all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in this state is community property.

Separate Property 770-772. 850
770. (a) Separate property of a married person includes all of the following:
(1) All property owned by the person before marriage.
(2) All property acquired by the person after marriage by gift, bequest, devise, or descent.
(3) The rents, issues, and profits of the property described in this section.
(b) A married person may, without the consent of the person's spouse, convey the person's separate property.

771. (a) The earnings and accumulations of a spouse and the minor children living with, or in the custody of, the spouse, while living separate and apart from the other spouse, are the separate property of the spouse.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the earnings and accumulations of an unemancipated minor child related to a contract of a type described in Section 6750 shall remain the sole legal property of the minor child.

772. After entry of a judgment of legal separation of the parties, the earnings or accumulations of each party are the separate property of the party acquiring the earnings or accumulations.

850. Subject to Sections 851 to 853, inclusive, married persons may by agreement or transfer, with or without consideration, do any of
the following:
(a) Transmute community property to separate property of either spouse.
(b) Transmute separate property of either spouse to community property.
(c) Transmute separate property of one spouse to separate property of the other spouse.

Transmutation 851-853
851. A transmutation is subject to the laws governing fraudulent transfers.

852. (a) A transmutation of real or personal property is not valid unless made in writing by an express declaration that is made, joined in, consented to, or accepted by the spouse whose interest in the property is adversely affected.
(b) A transmutation of real property is not effective as to third parties without notice thereof unless recorded.
(c) This section does not apply to a gift between the spouses of clothing, wearing apparel, jewelry, or other tangible articles of a personal nature that is used solely or principally by the spouse to whom the gift is made and that is not substantial in value taking into account the circumstances of the marriage.
(d) Nothing in this section affects the law governing characterization of property in which separate property and community property are commingled or otherwise combined.
(e) This section does not apply to or affect a transmutation of property made before January 1, 1985, and the law that would otherwise be applicable to that transmutation shall continue to apply.

853. (a) A statement in a will of the character of property is not admissible as evidence of a transmutation of the property in a proceeding commenced before the death of the person who made the will.
(b) A waiver of a right to a joint and survivor annuity or survivor's benefits under the federal Retirement Equity Act of 1984
(Public Law 98-397) is not a transmutation of the community property rights of the person executing the waiver.
(c) A written joinder or written consent to a nonprobate transfer of community property on death that satisfies Section 852 is a transmutation and is governed by the law applicable to transmutations and not by Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 5010) of Part 1 of Division 5 of the Probate Code.

California Residency Requirements
To file for divorce in California, either you or your spouse must have lived in: California for the last 6 months, AND The county where you plan to file the divorce for the last 3 months.

If you and your spouse have lived in California for at least 6 months but in different counties for at least 3 months, you can file in either county.
If you don't meet the residency requirement, you can still file for a legal separation.

Once enough time has passed so that you meet the residency requirement for a divorce, you may file an "amended petition" and ask the court for a divorce.

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Utah Domestic Law Handbook
http://www.utahlegalservices.org/public/self-help-webpages/domestic-law-handbook - Divorce


Utah State Courts Information
The divorce process http://www.utcourts.gov/howto/divorce

Rules of procedure
The Utah Rules of Civil Procedure govern procedures in divorce cases. For more information see our pages on Summary of Civil Procedures and Disclosure and Discovery.

The parties
The spouse starting the divorce case is the petitioner. The other spouse is the respondent.

Petitioner completes the documents
The petitioner may use the Online Court Assistance Program (OCAP) to prepare the petition and other documents to file for divorce. Follow the OCAP instructions. If either party has a lawyer, the lawyer will prepare the documents required of that party.

Some websites offer forms that might not be legally sufficient in the Utah courts and might be rejected by the judge. And you may have to pay a fee for the forms. Before using forms from another website, check this website to see whether a low-cost or free, court-approved form is available. If not, you might want to consider hiring a Utah lawyer (utahbar.org) to prepare documents for you rather than paying for a form that might be rejected.

Petitioner files the documents
The petitioner must file for divorce with the district court in the county in which at least one of the parties has resided for at least three months immediately before filing the divorce petition. For more information about how to file documents, see our page on Filing Procedures.

Petitioner serves the documents
The petitioner must serve the respondent with the petition for divorce, summons and other documents no later than 120 days after the petition is filed. The petitioner must file a Proof of Service form once service has been completed. For more information about service, see our page on Serving Papers.

Respondent files an answer
The respondent has 20 days (if they were served in Utah) or 30 days (if they were served outside of Utah) to respond to or "answer" the divorce petition. For more information, see our page on Answering a Complaint or Petition.

If an answer is filed, then both parties must disclose to each other a Financial Declaration. For more information, see our page on Financial Declarations.

Stipulation
The respondent may also stipulate—or agree—in writing to the petition and the divorce decree. If the parties are able to agree to the terms of the decree, the parties can use the OCAP Divorce Stipulation interview to prepare the appropriate documents, but only after a petition has been filed. Follow the directions in the OCAP interview.

If Respondent does not file an answer
If the respondent does not file an answer within the time specified in the Summons, the petitioner may ask for a default judgment. This means the petitioner gets what they have asked for, and the respondent won't have a chance to tell their side of the story. For more information and forms, see our page on Default Judgments. The default judgment forms are also available through the OCAP divorce program.

If the respondent has signed an Acceptance of Service, Appearance, Consent and Waiver form found in the OCAP divorce program, the petitioner can ask for a judgment in accordance with what was asked for in the petition. The judgment form is available through the OCAP divorce program.

Ninety-day waiting period
Utah law requires that there be 90 days between the date the petition is filed and the date the decree is signed. A party can ask the court to waive the waiting period for extraordinary circumstances. For more information and forms to request that the 90-day waiting period be waived, see our page on Ninety-day Waiting Period in Divorce Cases.

Mandatory divorce education classes (if there are minor children)
If the parties have minor children together, they must attend a divorce orientation class and a divorce education class before the divorce will be granted. For more information about course locations and schedules and for information and forms for waiving the requirement, see our page on Mandatory Education in Divorce and Temporary Separation.

There is also a Divorce Education Class for Children, designed to help children through their parents' divorce. The class is available in Logan and Salt Lake City. The class is not mandatory.

Mandatory mediation (if there are contested issues)
If the respondent files an answer, the parties usually must attend at least one mediation session to try to resolve the issues before the case can move forward. Either party may ask that the mediation requirement be waived. The director of dispute resolution programs for the courts, the court, or the mediator may waive the requirement. For more information about mandatory mediation, see our page on Divorce Mediation.

If the respondent files an answer and the parties are able to agree to the terms of the divorce, with or without mediation, the parties can use the OCAP Divorce Stipulation interview to prepare the appropriate documents.

Temporary orders
The parties may need to ask for a temporary order governing the parties while the divorce case is moving forward. A temporary order can include provisions for child support and custody, parent time, use of the marital home, payment of debts, and other matters. For more information and forms, see our page on How to get a Temporary Order.

Name restoration
Divorcing spouses may restore the legal name they used before the marriage by including a statement in the petition and decree indicating that their name is being changed. The party should include the complete legal name that is being restored and that will be used again after the divorce.

Other issues
There are other issues that may need to be resolved in the divorce. For more information, please see our pages on:

Residency requirements
To get divorced in Utah you or your spouse must reside in a single county in Utah for at least three months immediately before filing the divorce petition. Utah Code Section 30-3-1. If custody of a minor child is an issue, usually the child must reside with at least one of the parents in Utah for at least six months, but there are exceptions.

Grounds for divorce
The grounds for divorce, including irreconcilable differences, are listed in Utah Code Section 30-3-1(3).

 

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