FAQs: Divorce in Corona
This guide is intended to provide Corona and Riverside residents with an accurate guide to divorce, property division, support and other related issues. Our office is conveniently located on East Rincon Street and we offer a free consultation. If the information below does not answer your questions about divorce, give us a call!
Property Division Divorce
Property division in a divorce can be one of the more difficult tasks in a divorce proceeding, right along with child custody litigation. Most litigants that represent themselves do not have enough knowledge about California community property law to understand the nuances in property division and make significant mistakes during their divorce case. Generally, the court is required to divide community property equally (50/50). Separate property is assigned and awarded to the spouse that acquired the separate property, and the court in Riverside County does not have the authority to assign one party’s separate property to the other spouse.
The usual mistakes that “proper” family law litigants make include the following when dividing property:
- Failure to address “mixed” property: Property can be both community and separate property, and it is the litigant’s job (not the court’s job) to determine the character of property and prove the value of that property.
- Failure to divide business interests: Businesses are divided in divorce cases all the time. Likewise, many self-represented divorcing parties do not adequately understand that businesses are determined by a “marital value” standard and might be worth more than they think. People often leave a significant amount of money on the table by failing to value business interests.
- Failure to inquire about the other party’s disclosures: If you have a question about the truthfulness of the other party’s financial declaration of disclosure (Income & Expense Declaration, Schedule of Assets and Debts), you have a right to obtain accurate information. There are many ways to obtain accurate financial information from the other side.
Where Do I File for Divorce if I live in Corona?
For individuals that live in the city of Corona, the appropriate courthouse for a divorce proceeding is the Riverside Family Law Courthouse located on 4175 Main Street, Riverside, CA 92501. All divorce documents and hearings will be held at this courthouse. Persons wishing to file for divorce can visit the courthouse and obtain the documents necessary to file.
What is the Minimum Wait Time Until I Can Obtain a Divorce?
From the time a divorce case is open in the court system, the parties must wait a minimum of six (6) months from the moment the Summons and Petition are filed with the court until the parties can become eligible to terminate their marital status.
How Long Do I Need to be a Resident of Riverside Before Filing With the County?
You must have been a resident of the County of Riverside/Corona for at least the last 3 months prior to the filing for a divorce. Additionally, persons wishing to file for divorce must have lived within the State of California for at least 6 months prior to filing.
How Long Do I Have to Respond to the Initial Divorce Documents?
From the moment you are served with the Petition and Summons, you have 30 days to respond to the initial divorce documents. If you do not respond within this amount of time, you are at risk of being defaulted by the other party.
Is the Exchange of Financial Documentation Necessary? What Happens if Our Divorce is Amicable?
Yes, at least at the outset of any divorce case, financial documents must be exchanged between the parties through what is known as the Preliminary Declarations of Disclosure. Even if the parties are amicable and there is a full understanding of the finances, the financial disclosures must still be done. Proof that the other party was served with the financial documents must be filed with the court (FL-141). Both parties must each file a FL-141.
Exchanging finances is also critical if one spouse if self-employed. It can be easier to manipulate finances in these situations, but there are ways to ensure the proper amount of income and revenue is reported. For more detailed information, read: 12 Tips for Divorce Cases Where a Spouse is Self-Employed.
What Can I Do to Find Information About My Spouse’s Finances if He/She is not Forthcoming?
A process called discovery can be used to discover financial information from the other spouse. Although informal, the process has legal support in the case that the receiving party does not respond or responds untruthfully. See our page on Discovery for further details.
How Long Does My Child Have to Have Been in Corona for the Riverside Family Law Courthouse to handle my case?
Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, in most circumstances a child has to have lived in California at least 6 months prior to the filing and in Corona (Riverside County) for the last 3 months prior to the filing. The court is permitted to enter emergency, temporary orders if a court of another state has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to enter custody orders.
If I Don’t Meet the Minimum Residency Requirements (6 months for California and 3 months for Corona) to file in Corona, is there anything I can do?
Yes. A person can file for legal separation at any time as long as they are a resident of Riverside County. Filing for legal separation can be accomplished on the same set of forms for a divorce case. Once you satisfy the minimum residency requirements, you can amend your paperwork to convert your case from a legal separation to a divorce.
If I moved out of the family residence, am I required to continue to pay on both the family residence and a separate household?
Although nothing legally requires you to continue to pay on the family residence, there could be financial ramifications to both parties if you do not continue to pay such as your credit score being affected for nonpayment. It is usually advisable to reach agreements with your spouse about the payment of ongoing expenses, or file a motion with the court to address which party will pay what expenses.
What is Community Property? What is Separate Property?
Community property is defined as any property acquired from the date of marriage to the date of separation which is not from a separate property source. For example, earnings during the marriage are community property, bank and investment accounts that are acquired during marriage are community, and so forth. Separate property is defined as any property that was acquired prior to the date of marriage and after the date of separation or by gift, bequest, devise or inheritance.
What is the date of separation?
The date of separation is the date when the parties no longer wish to continue their marital relationship. Not only is this a mental determination but also a physical determination. In the case of Marriage of Davis, the courts require that one party leave the family residence before a date of separation can be established. The law is rapidly changing and the California Legislature will be modifying the Davis case ruling so that parties are not required to live physically apart.
At the commencement of a divorce, do I have to automatically pay child and spousal support?
No. There must be an affirmative request for child or spousal support and an order granting the request before an obligation arises to pay child or spousal support. Parents do, however, have an ongoing legal obligation to support their children.
At the commencement of a divorce, do I have to continue making payments on community obligations such as bills and utilities?
Although you are not legally required to, a nonpayment of community obligations could lead to financial consequences such as a lower credit score, bills going into collections, and so forth.
If my spouse and I have agreed upon the terms of custody and visitation and support, can we submit an agreement to the court?
Yes, by way of stipulation (agreement). A Stipulation and Order must be drafted which describes the details of your agreement and submitted to the court for approval. Once signed, the stipulation holds as much weight as any other court order and is enforceable.
Is Settlement Possible in a Divorce?
Yes. After the parties have exchanged financial information with each other, the parties can enter into a Marital Settlement Agreement which should describe in full detail the parameters of the division of assets and debts, child custody and visitation issues, support issues, legal obligations by either party, and much more.
If I have been defaulted due to not responding to the initial divorce paperwork, can I undo what has been ordered?
Yes, through what is known as a set aside. However, a motion to set aside a default judgment will only be granted under a limited number of circumstances.
If I cannot afford full representation, can you still assist with me with my divorce?
Yes, possibly. Our firm offers a variety of services including a scrivener’s service which will enable us to assist you in drafting paperwork and an hourly service. Although our firm cannot attend court for you, we can ensure that your paperwork is done correctly and give you legal advice (upon request). We may also look into requesting attorney fees from your spouse.
What is the usual return time for the final divorce documents from the court?
There is no clear cut definitive time frame. The courts have become exceedingly busy with family law matters and the accessibility to a judge who can sign off on your final divorce documents becomes an issue. A typical return time can be anywhere from a month to a few months.
What will a divorce cost me?
Depending on the complexity of your case, the total amount for a divorce could vary. Most attorneys require an initial retainer to get started on your case. Our fees are affordable and reasonable. Speak to an attorney today to figure out how much your retainer might be.
If my spouse was the income earner during the marriage, can I request that he/she pay for my attorney’s fees?
Yes. As long as a party can prove that he/she has a need for money and the other spouse has the means (money) to pay for an attorney, then the court can grant a request for attorney’s fees and costs.