Santa Clarita Divorce : Common Mistakes When Filing Your Santa Clarita Divorce : Divorce 661

Santa Clarita Divorce : Common Mistakes When Filing Your Santa Clarita Divorce

I see several issues that continue to come up with people trying to file their own Santa Clarita Divorce. (Video at bottom)

Common Mistakes When Filing Your Santa Clarita Divorce

1.  Names Must Match On Summons & Petition – Using a different version of your name on the Divorce Summons & Petition. The names your use on your summons must match that on the petition. So, for instance. If you use Tim Blankenship on the Summons, use Tim Blankenship on the Petition.

What we see people doing, who are trying to do their own Santa Clarita Divorce is use different variants of their name throughout their divorce paperwork.  Here is an example. They start with Tim Blankenship and then in some places write, Tim S. Blankenship and in others Timothy Blankenship. This usually happens when people are filling out the divorce paperwork by hand or typing it into fillable forms.

2.  Not Using A Date Of Separation – Another issues I see is that people doing their own Santa Clarita Divorce is putting down a date of marriage, but not putting down the date of separation. This is cause for your divorce case to be rejected.

You need to have a date of separation on your divorce petition. “But Tim, we are still living together and not legally separated!” Doesn’t matter, you need to have a date of separation.  In fact, most of my clients are still living together at the time of filing for divorce and there is no requirement that you actually be separated prior to filing for divorce as it is in some states.

Here are some examples of what you can use as the date of separation for your Santa Clarita Divorce. (And yes, you can use a date in the past). You can use the day you discussed with your spouse that you wanted a divorce. You can use a day that you started sleeping on the couch. You can use a date of incident such as when your spouse perhaps did something that caused you wanting a divorce. If nothing else makes sense, then we just use the date of the filing of your divorce as your date of separation.

3.  Requesting Your Name Changed On The Divorce Petition – Okay, I get asked all the time, “can i choose a name” where is asks if you want to restore your former name.  The answer is no. As part of the divorce, you can only revert back to your former, maiden name.

The reason is that if you just choose any old name, and when you go to say Social Security or the DMV, they are going to check that it is, in fact, your former maiden name. The only way to choose a name of your choice is to file a legal name change with the court.

4.  Using An Address For You Minor Children Outside of California – This does not happen too often, but often enough to address it. If you have children, you need to also file a form called a UCCJEA which is form FL-105. The courts want to know where your children have lived for the last 5 years. You children have to be living in California in order for the state to have jurisdiction to make orders for child custody.

If you state that your children are living out of state, you will not be able to have custody orders in California. If you find yourself in this situation, even if you list your children on the divorce petition and then try to turn in your divorce judgment to the court, they will reject your judgment and tell you that the court does not have the jurisdiction to make orders for child custody and that you need to remove the custody portion from your judgment. This is a problem if you need custody orders as part of your Santa Clarita Divorce.

If you need assistance with your Santa Clarita divorce make sure to give us a call. We have local offices right here in Santa Clarita and can assist you with finalizing your divorce.

Using Substituted Service Of California Divorce Papers

Using Substituted Service Of California Divorce Papers

This video discusses what service by substituted service, when you would use it and how it works. Substituted service of your California divorce papers is usually a last resort and can only by achieved in certain circumstances.

There are several ways to serve a divorce petition in California. First, you have “personal service” This is where you have someone other than yourself personally deliver the divorce petition to the person being served and they are handed the papers. This can be a friend, relative or in many cases a 3rd party process service that can handle this for you.

Another route in amicable divorce cases is to simply have the the other party sign a Notice Of Acknowledgment of Receipt. This is an easy way to let the courts know that the other party was served or in this case, that they have acknowledged receiving a copy of the filed divorce papers.

But what happens when the person you are trying to serve is either unavailable or, what is more likely, trying to avoid being served?

We have this happen once and a while and the only way to serve them is usually by substituted service.

Substituted service, often referred to as “sub-served” is the practice of serving someone other than the person being served. So you are serving someone such as another family member or even a person of a business they work at such as their employer or even a front end person like the receptionist.

I can think of two such instances that just this week we had to serve by substituted service. The first was a Respondent to the divorce case who was trying to avoid being served for whatever reason. We found out where he worked (on Facebook no less) and were able to sub-serve him there. In this case we were able to serve his boss once it was determined that he did work there.

Another instance was a young man who was purposely avoiding being served to be a nuisance. The servers tried to serve him several times, and despite being able to hear him in the house and garage, he would not present himself to be served.

In this case, they went back late at night, when his parents were home and served his parents who verified that he lived there.

No there are specific rules you have to follow in order for a sub-service to be valid with the courts. The short story is that you have to make several documented attempts at serving and only then can you sub serve. But even then, you have have to write a special declaration that explains the steps you took to actually serve the other party. The court has to approve your steps in order for the substituted service to be valid.

When we know service may possibly be an issue, we always use a 3rd party professional process server as they know how to properly document the substituted service of the divorce papers in a way that will be approved.

Benefits Of Filing For Divorce First – Santa Clarita

Benefits Of Filing For Divorce First – Santa Clarita

I have written a similar article before regarding the benefits of filing for divorce first. In that article I stated that there is no real benefit to filing for divorce first.

I went on to say that the courts do not give any preference to who is the Petitioner (the one to file) or the Respondent. It is mostly about giving a name to the parties.

This is especially the case in amicable divorces where the parties are in agreement on the terms of their divorce.

But is there any advantage to filing for divorce first in a contested case when you hire an attorney. I read an article in the Santa Clarita Magazine where an attorney said there was an advantage to filing first. Honestly, it seemed the advantage was more to the attorney than the clients.

The first advantage, says this attorney, is having the ability to chose your court. If you live in Santa Clarita, the court you would go to automatically is San Fernando. But you have the option of filing in Los Angeles.

Why would a Santa Clarita resident want to file in downtown LA when San Fernando is much closer? The answer is you wouldn’t.

Here is the real answer is that many attorneys don’t like the choice of 2 judges in San Fernando and prefer to file downtown where they believe the judges are more favorable. So no real advantage here to the client.

The next reason posed is that there is a possibility that you will get sympathy from the judge. In one sentence he says you will probably not get any sympathy and in the next sentence says we are a no fault state. He suggests that judges are human beings and regardless if their is no true advantage, it may still be better to file first.

So if we stretch it, there may be advantages to filing for divorce first if you are going to hire and attorney and then again, perhaps not.

In the uncontested divorce cases our firm handles, there is absolutely no advantage to filing for divorce first. It is only when you go down the rabbit hole of hiring an attorney where their may be any benefit of filing for divorce first in Santa Clarita.