Before no-fault divorce, many couples suffered through grueling court battles to deal with the decisions that must be made when a family splits up. Witnesses were called and damaging evidence was heard, all in the name of making it so difficult for couples to divorce that many stayed together to avoid the trauma.
Nowadays, California is a no-fault divorce state. Anyone who has lived in California for more than six months (and in the same county for three) can file for a divorce citing irreconcilable differences. Your spouse does not need to agree with the divorce. So there is no drama about a spouse refusing to grant a partner a divorce.
In many cases, people no longer go to court at all - divorce terms are agreed upon through mediation and compromise. This ensures that both parties are satisfied with the agreement and can move on with their lives. However, if you and your spouse cannot agree on issues such as child custody, alimony or financial settlement, you may need to fight your spouse in court. Here is what you can expect:
- Your lawyer should prep you. Your attorney should ask you questions that both he and the other side are likely to ask so you are prepared for them.
- Don't expect it to look like it does on TV. Most court rooms are crowded and a little dingy looking. While basic layout may resemble the familiar TV court room, the grandeur that some people expect generally isn't going to be there. It's mostly long lines with bored clerks and court officers.
- Do NOT volunteer information. Answer only the questions put to you by the judge or the opposing attorney as succinctly as possible and then stop talking.
In all cases, be sure you have an attorney representing you. Court can be stressful and scary. But with a strong divorce lawyer that you trust, your experience can be constructive and help you move your case along.