A Dissolution of marriage is simply a divorce. Through the divorce proceedings the distribution of property and income is determined along with child support, child custody and spousal support issues. Once all the issues in the divorced are agreed upon or litigated at trial the court then provides a judgment which is an order of the court as to the distribution and allocation of properties and assets and a determination of child support, spousal support and child custody issues. There is a step-by-step process to reach the final judgment in the divorce.
1. Exchange of Financial Disclosures:
The most important step that everyone underestimates is the Disclosure of Financial Documents. Family Code Section 2100 mandates full disclosure of financial assets and debts. You have a fiduciary duty to your spouse and must reveal ALL financial information. Should a spouse fail to disclose the financial assets and debts thoroughly the courts provide harsh consequences.
In Re Marriage of Rossi, is a case that is followed by courts. In Marriage of Rossi, a spouse intentionally concealed the fact that he won millions of dollars in the Lottery. He concealed this information all the way through to the judgment of the divorce. The court found that because he did not disclose his winnings in the Preliminary or Final Disclosures that he breached his fiduciary duty to his spouse. The Court then awarded the entire winnings to the wife and he was left with nothing.
Even if you believe that you don’t have any assets or debts, you do; everyone owns a credit card, vehicles, bank accounts. All possessions, including household furniture must be listed.
2. Settlement Discussions or Obtaining Court Orders
Once the disclosures are complete the parties can then begin negotiations on issues of spousal support, child support, child custody, a parenting plan for a holiday schedule with the children and a division of assets and debts.
If the parties cannot reach an agreement on those major issues then a Request for Order may be filed with the court to adjudicate the issue.
3. Final Judgment
Once all issues have been resolved or a trial has been set and tried to resolve any remaining issues the parties can then submit a judgment packet for final dissolution.