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Sacramento Divorce Checklist

When you are going through a Sacramento divorce, you have a lot to think about. Creating a list of things to do and remember can help make sure that you don’t forget anything.

Preparing for Your Sacramento Divorce

First, you must make sure you are qualified to divorce in Sacramento. There are several residency requirements and grounds for divorce, or dissolution of marriage, that you must meet.

Residency requirements include:

  • You must be a California resident for six months, and
  • You must be a resident of Sacramento County, or the county where you file for divorce, for three months

Grounds, or reasons, for your California divorce are:

  • Either you or your spouse can claim irreconcilable differences or
  • A spouse’s incurable insanity

Dividing Up Your Property & Figuring Support

You may have heard that California is a community property state. This means that all the assets you and your spouse acquired during the marriage will be divided equally when you are divorced.

You get to retain your separate property, including the property you acquired before your marriage and any property given to you as a gift or bequest during your marriage.

You may also be thinking of requesting alimony, or spousal support. Or you may wondering if your ex will request it. Things the court will consider when deciding whether to award alimony include:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The financial situation of each spouse, including debts and assets
  • Your standard of living during the marriage
  • Each spouse’s needs
  • How your children will be affected if the parent who has been the caregiver must go to work
  • How each spouse contributed to the other’s education and career, along with keeping the house
  • Tax consequences
  • All the income each spouse has

If you have minor children, child support may be another issue. When considering child support, the court will look at:

  • The income of both parents
  • The number of children who have to be supported
  • The time the child spends with each parent

Child custody is another aspect of your divorce. Sacramento courts will consider the best interests of your children when developing a custody agreement.

Getting Your Paperwork in Order

Before you file for divorce, or when you first meet with an attorney about your divorce, you should gather up financial documentation. This will give you a clear view of you and your spouse’s assets and debts.

Documentation should include

  • A list of your assets, like property deeds
  • Monthly bills and loans, like credit card debts, car loans and student loans
  • A list of monthly expenses
  • Bank statements and recent federal and state tax returns
  • A list of monthly expenses
  • Statements for retirement accounts, pensions and 401(k)s
  • A prenuptual agreement, if you have one

The Divorce Process

There are several steps involved in the Sacramento divorce process. You begin the divorce process when you file a "Petition for Dissolution of Marriage" with the Sacramento County Superior Court. After the paperwork is served, your spouse has time to respond.

From there, the next steps depend on the type of divorce and relationship you and your spouse have. If the two of you can agree on the terms of your Sacramento divorce, including property division, child support and child custody, you can finalize your divorce without a trial. If not, a court hearing will be scheduled.

If neither of you is seeking support and you don’t have children, you may be able to pursue a simple divorce or summary disposition if you don’t have much property or debt.

If either of you contests the divorce, the process can become much more complex and can take much longer.

An experienced attorney can provide Sacramento divorce help. He can answer your questions, explain your options and make sure you get what you are entitled to.

As your divorce progresses, you should refer back to your checklist often and update it as necessary. This will ensure you don’t forget any important details or items.