Rob: Hello everyone. We are here with Santa Clarita family and divorce attorney, Rand Pinsky. Hello Rand.
Rand Pinsky: Hello Rob.
Rob: Rand, today I want to discuss some general issues and some general matters that come up in divorce and family law. First of all, what is this thing called irreconcilable differences?
Rand Pinsky: This is a legal term that is found on all divorce pleading papers and what it says is "I don't get along any more with my spouse" and the part about that which is important is California is a no fault divorce state. So, if you state to a judge "I don't get along with my spouse any more" that is enough for a judge to grant a dissolution of the marriage and take the parties from the status of married to the status of unmarried.
Rob: So I don't have to prove that so-and-so did a bad thing or isn't a nice person. I can just say "I can no longer get along with this person".
Rand Pinsky: That is correct.
Rob: And that's sufficient.
Rand Pinsky: That is sufficient.
Rob: What about this six months process? How long does it usually take for these divorces to make their way to the courts?
Rand Pinsky: The divorce process, by law, takes a minimum of six months from the date that the second spouse is served with the divorce papers. During this six month period, the parties try to work out a contract between themselves called a Marital Settlement Agreement and this Marital Settlement Agreement will lay out all the terms, rights and conditions of the divorce. So it will include the big issues of child custody and child support, parenting plans, division of property; these types of issues.
Rob: What is some of the terminology that you might see?
Rand Pinsky: The terminology is important because you'll hear it all the time when you're in court. You have the petitioner- the petitioner is the spouse that files the divorce papers. You have the respondent who is the spouse that receives the divorce papers. It doesn't matter whether you are the petitioner or the respondent. The rights, rules and laws are applicable to both sides equally.
Rob: If somebody wants a divorce, do both the husband and the wife have to agree to the divorce or is just one person petitioning the court sufficient?
Rand Pinsky: Because we are a no fault state, if one party wants a divorce, the other party cannot do anything to stop it.
Rob: Okay. So they don't have to agree to it.
Rand Pinsky: They do not have to agree to it.
Rob: Now where does the divorce process take place?
Rand Pinsky: The divorce process takes place of course at the court house. The people who live in Santa Clarita, and that's the major focus of my practice, we can either file divorce papers in the San Fernando Court, which is our local jurisdiction, or we can file all the way in downtown Los Angeles. I have found that for the convenience of the clients, for the fact that I am in San Fernando probably two times a week, I know the court clerks, I know the judges, I'm familiar with them, that it's much less stressful for clients to appear in San Fernando.
Rob: So it's more convenient in most cases.
Rand Pinsky: Absolutely.
Rob: One more question, Rand. Do people need to get separate attorneys or can they get the same lawyer?
Rand Pinsky: You can have the same lawyer, you can have different lawyers. A lot of it depends upon the attitude of the parties. If you have a husband and wife that are amicable to the divorce process, you can use one lawyer. You can have one lawyer representing one of the spouses and work with the other client, or the other spouse. You can put together a marital settlement agreement, then when the process is done you can have the other spouse take it to another attorney and have them review it to make sure that it's fair and equitable.
Rob: Well Rand, thank you so much for spending some time with us talking about this general information. And if people want to get in touch with you, how can they do that?
Rand Pinsky: Quite easily. You can always go to my website randpinsky.com or feel free to call me (661)295-4644.
Rob: This has been a moment with Santa Clarita divorce and family law attorney Rand Pinsky. Thank you, Rand.
Rand Pinsky: Thank you Rob.