Serving The Bay Area For More Than A Decade

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Divorce with Integrity

The end of a marriage and/or domestic partnership may be devastating. The decision to divorce is stressful enough, and your legal counsel should not cause additional emotional strain. At Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica LLP, we guide our clients in the San Francisco Bay Area through the divorce (dissolution) process with not only efficiency and thoroughness, but compassion and integrity.

Our law firm has answers to your divorce problems. Our lawyers troubleshoot complex divorce matters for busy professionals and parents who have limited time to deal with these important matters.

Divorce Considerations

Our family law practice group handles a wide range of matters related to divorce, including:

  • Child custody and support
  • Spousal support (alimony)
  • Legal separation
  • Community property division and separate property recognition
  • Uncontested and contested dissolutions
  • Post-judgment disputes

Of course, these issues often require aggressive positions; but strong negotiation without unnecessary posturing often keeps the conflict and emotional distress lessened, with a major bonus of keeping legal fees down.

Divorce, Legal Separation Or Annulment?

People who want to separate their life from their spouse’s may wonder whether divorce, legal separation or annulment is the right option for them. Understanding the difference between these processes can help them make an informed decision about how to move forward.

Divorce is a process where a couple ends their legal marriage. During the divorce process, the couple will also address other details like their finances and child custody. The law outlines specific rules for property division and making decisions about children.

A legal separation formally divides a couple’s lives and their finances. However, a separation does not end their marriage, and people who have separated cannot remarry without going through the divorce process. Couples who separate can also reunite with each other and remain married.

Similar to divorce, an annulment ends a marriage. However, in an annulment, the court declares that the marriage was not valid. This may occur if one of the spouses was unable to consent to the marriage because of their age or mental capacity, lied about important facts or was married to another person at the time of the marriage.

How To Get A Divorce In California

To start the divorce process in California, the person filing for divorce files forms and pays a filing fee. One of these forms, FL-100 (Petition – Marriage/Domestic Partnership), asks the court to become involved in the end of a marriage. The other, FL-110 (Summons (Family Law)), notifies the non-filing spouse that their spouse has filed for divorce and asks them to respond.

After the non-filing spouse receives notice of the divorce filing, they will also have to complete a form to respond. This form is called FL-120 (Response – Marriage/Domestic Partnership).

After filing these forms with the court, each spouse must share information about their possessions and finances so that they can reach a fair solution for dividing that property. Couples may collaborate on a solution through a process like mediation, or the court may make those decisions if the couple cannot agree. If they have underage children, the divorce process will also involve decisions about child custody and child support.

Finally, the court will issue a divorce decree. This document formally ends the marriage.

Which court handles your divorce will depend on your location. For San Francisco residents, this will be the Unified Family Court in the Civic Center Courthouse at 400 McAllister Street. Our law office is conveniently located less than two miles from this courthouse.

As your attorneys, we will assist in the accurate completion and filing of all necessary forms through all phases of your divorce, and will be with you for all court appearances.

Focused On Resolving Your Disagreements

While California recognizes “no-fault” divorces, it is impossible to completely separate the reasons a marriage/partnership broke down from the process of legally dissolving the relationship.

Although the underlying reasons leading to dissolution may be important to address, we strive to keep our clients focused on resolution. We keep our clients well-informed, we foster open lines of communication, and we set justified expectations. We provide thoughtful options during a difficult time ensuring that our clients are able to make decisions that are right for them. As a female-led, LGBT-friendly firm, we help clients of all genders.

Talk To A Bay Area Divorce Lawyer

Learn more about the benefits of putting the family law lawyers of Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica LLP to work for you. Call 415-527-0788 to reach our San Francisco office and schedule a consultation with an attorney. Or reach out online if you prefer.