How to Get an Annulment in California

how to get an annulmentAnnulments are different from divorce, and an experienced attorney can explain how to get an annulment in California. While divorce effectively ends a marriage, an annulment wipes away a marriage and makes it as though the marriage never happened in the first place. As a result, the presumption of paternity over children conceived during the marriage will be eliminated, as well as the right to obtain child support.

It is important to keep in mind that every marriage and family situation is different, and annulments can have serious consequences. A Fresno annulment attorney will be able to explain your legal rights to you and can help you to weigh the pros and cons of obtaining an annulment.

Differences Between Annulments and Divorces

A divorce legally dissolves and ends a valid marriage and allows both spouses the opportunity to remarry. Following the dissolution of a marriage, the law still recognizes that a valid, legal marriage once existed. However, following annulment proceedings, California courts will not recognize the parties as having ever been married before. Moreover, any marriage records are effectively deemed null and void.

A California court may grant an annulment under one of the following circumstances:

  • The parties are close blood relatives.
  • One of the spouses:
  • was underage at the time of the marriage.
  • is in a bigamous relationship.
  • is not of sound mind.
  • entered into the marriage as a result of fraud, coercion, force, or duress.
  • has been physically incapacitated and cannot consummate the marriage.

The California Annulment Process

In order to obtain an annulment in California, a spouse must first file a “Request for Annulment” with the court in the appropriate county. Under most circumstances, a spouse has four years to file if the annulment is based upon physical incapacity, age, or force. However, if fraud is involved, the petitioning spouse has four years from the date he or she discovered the fraud. A petition for annulment which is based upon bigamous marriages or unsound mind may be filed at any time.

An annulment petition includes background information about the:

  • spouses’ marriage,
  • reason(s) for the annulment, and
  • proposed terms for the annulment.

In some cases, the court may be able to grant a divorce if the requirements for granting an annulment have not been met.

After filing a Petition for Annulment with the appropriate court, the fling spouse has 30 days from the date of filing to notify the other spouse of the petition and serve him or her. The other spouse then has 30 days from the time of receipt to file an answer or response to the annulment petition. Assuming the annulment is uncontested, a court hearing will be set and the judge will issue an annulment decree. The marriage is not annulled until that decree has been entered.

Contact a Fresno Family Lawyer About How to Get an Annulment

The decision to seek an annulment, as opposed to a traditional divorce, can be a difficult one. An experienced Fresno annulment lawyer can assist you in making your decision. He can also help you to weigh the pros and cons of both annulments and divorces. If you are interested in learning how to get an annulment, contact Rick Banks Law by calling 559-222-4891.

Spousal Support Lawyer: How Long Does It Take to Get Spousal Support?

spousal support lawyerA spousal support lawyer may be able to assist you with obtaining temporary spousal support while your divorce case is pending. Temporary spousal support will allow you to maintain the same kind of lifestyle that you maintained over the course of your marriage and will last until your divorce case concludes. Other types of alimony, including long-term and permanent alimony, are also available in the State of California. This depends upon:

  • the nature and circumstances of your case,
  • each spouse’s job and income level,
  • assets,
  • career advancement opportunities, and
  • other considerations.

If you are currently at the beginning of divorce proceedings in California, you should consider retaining legal counsel.

Petition for Divorce

In the State of California, the divorce process begins with filing a divorce petition. Once the divorce petition has been filed with the Court, it must then be served on the opposing side. A spouse can request an order for support at the time of filing the divorce petition, or at any time thereafter. Once those documents have been filed, the Clerk of the Court will usually set in a hearing date. The hearing date depends largely upon the court’s docket and the judges’ schedules. Hearing dates are usually set in between 30 and 90 days from the date of filing the divorce petition with the Court.

Spousal Support by Judgment

A spousal support judgment usually comes about by either a settlement or a California divorce trial. If the parties reach an agreement on spousal support and other issues, then that agreement is incorporated into a judgment. In the case of a divorce trial, a judge makes the final decision on spousal support, as well as the amount and duration of the support.

The duration of the entire process depends upon several factors, which include the following:

  • Duration of the spouses’ marriage
  • Number of disputed issues relating to income and employment
  • The parties’ standard of living prior to the breakdown of the marriage
  • Other pending issues in the case, including child custody, visitation, or marital property disputes that would make the case last longer anyway.

It is important to note that the length of a divorce case depends primarily on the number of issues that the parties are disputing. If the parties are only disputing a few issues, then the case could conclude in six months or less. However, if the number of disputed issues is much higher, the case will last much longer.

Modification of Support

California support modification decisions are made based upon material changes in circumstance. The spouse who is requesting the support modification must file a “Request for Modification Order.” The court will subsequently set in a hearing date on the request.

Contact a Fresno Spousal Support Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case

Long-term and temporary spousal support are important issues in any divorce case. An experienced Fresno spousal support lawyer may be able to help streamline the process for you. He can also represent you during negotiations and litigate for you in court, if necessary. Call Rick Banks Law at 559-222-4891 for a free initial consultation.

A Child Custody Lawyer Can Help Streamline Your Case

child custody lawyerIn many cases, the parties themselves can make their own decisions about legal and physical custody. These decisions are incorporated into a settlement agreement which both parties sign, along with a judge. It is only when the parties are unable to agree on child custody, visitation, and support issues that a California court must intervene.

In reaching child custody, visitation, and support decisions, California courts look to many issues, including the best interests of the minor children, among other factors.

Legal Custody

Legal custody may be either joint (shared) or sole and refers to the legal decision-making powers held by one or both of the parents. Decisions that fall under the umbrella of legal custody including the following:

  • Religion
  • School
  • Medication
  • Medical care

Physical Custody

Physical custody has to do with where (and with whom) the minor children will live. Like legal custody, physical custody may be either joint (shared) or sole. When one parent has sole physical custody of the minor child or children, the other parent will likely be entitled to reasonable and liberal visitation.

Visitation schedules, which usually allow for visitation time with the non-custodial parent over the summer, during Christmas Break, Spring Break, on weekends, and during other holidays, are incorporated into a final decree of divorce. A final divorce decree is signed by a judge and is a court order. Therefore, failing to abide by the terms of the visitation agreement or marital settlement agreement can result in a finding of contempt.

Child Support

Both parents are responsible, at least to some extent, for supporting the parties’ minor child or children. Modifying physical and/or legal custody can also result in a child support modification, based upon a material change in circumstances.

Best Interest of the Child Standard

In all cases involving child custody, support, and visitation, the “Best Interest of the Child Standard” comes into play. In order words, California courts primarily consider what is in a child’s best interests when it comes to making decisions or modifying custody, visitation, or support. Courts will look to the following factors when determining what is in a child’s best interests; the child’s:

  • Emotional needs
  • Medical and physical needs
  • General welfare and educational needs

In making child custody, visitation, and support decisions, courts will also look to the facts presented (as opposed to mere allegations).  They will also look to the evidence presented by the child’s mother and father – and in some cases, the child.

Contact a Fresno Child Custody Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case

Custody cases can be very hard on children and families. An experienced child custody lawyer may be able to help streamline the process for you. An experienced child custody lawyer may be able to assist you with drafting an effective marital settlement agreement and can represent you throughout negotiations and litigation, as well as at trial, if necessary. Contact Rick Banks Law today at 559-222-4891.

Fresno Divorce Lawyers Lower Legal Costs

Fresno divorce lawyersIt goes without saying that the divorce process can be expensive, and average divorce case costs may range from $15,000 to $20,000. This includes legal fees for a divorce lawyer and separate litigation costs. If you are contemplating or are in the midst of a California divorce, it is essential that you have experienced legal representation. Here are some steps that you can take yourself to significantly reduce the costs and expenses associated with a divorce case.

Find Common Ground and Reach Agreements on Disputed Marital Issues

In a divorce cases, parties are never going to agree on everything, and there is no such thing as a perfect divorce settlement. However, if you and your spouse are able to work together and calmly resolve disputed issues, such as alimony and child custody disputes, the divorce process will become more streamline and will move along that much faster. It is also important to be honest and above-board when it comes to reporting all income, property, and assets. Failing to be honest and accurate will only delay the divorce process.

Follow Legal Advice from Your Attorney Only

If you are just beginning the divorce process, you are likely to be bombarded with information from various sources — some of which may be unreliable. It is important to note that every couple is different and that individual circumstances differ as well. You should follow your attorney’s advice over any advice you receive from friends, neighbors, co-workers, or online. Therefore, make sure to do the following:

  • Answer all of your attorney’s questions and address all concerns.
  • Provide all follow-up documentation that your attorney requests.

You may also be able to save yourself some money by making your own copies and keeping track of hearing dates and court orders.

Close All Joint Credit Accounts

In order to avoid having to pay for some share of your spouse’s marital debt, when you believe that divorce proceedings are imminent, you should immediately close all credit accounts held in both your name and your spouse’s name.

Show Up for Your Court Date(s)

As part of any divorce case, both parties to the case will most likely have to appear in court at least once. Therefore, you should plan on arriving at the courthouse approximately 30 minutes early on the date of your hearing or trial. If you miss a court date (and, in some cases, if you arrive late to court), the court date will need to be rescheduled, potentially adding months to the divorce proceedings and significantly increasing the costs.

Abide by the Terms of Marital Settlement Agreements

When the parties have minor children, issues such as child custody, visitation, and child support often crop up. If you are able to agree with your spouse on some or all of these issues, your attorney will prepare a joint marital settlement agreement which must be signed by both of the parties, as well as by a judge of the court. This marital settlement agreement is incorporated into any divorce decree which the court later signs.

If you fail to abide by the terms of the agreement, there is a chance that you may be held in contempt of court, resulting in payment of attorney’s fees and other court costs. These agreements can sometimes be modified based upon a material charge in circumstances.

Contact Experienced Fresno Divorce Lawyers Today to Discuss Your Case

The Fresno divorce lawyers at Rick Banks Law can assist you with your case. An experienced divorce lawyer will be able to help you draft a marital settlement agreement and can represent you in court, if necessary. Contact the attorneys at Rick Banks Law by calling 559-222-4891.