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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35795
Experience:  Attorney with 16 years experience
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I have a question relating to divorce in California, specifically

Customer Question

I have a question relating to divorce in California, specifically Los Angeles County.

I am in the process of what should have been a very simple divorce….uncontested, no minor children, no real assets, no cash, etc. The only asset we shared is a house that we inherited which is being rented.

The divorce was so simple that we were advised to simply use a paralegal to do the forms, and do the whole thing ourselves. We did so, and have stumbled a bit in the process, mostly because of flaky Paralegals who really did not know what they were doing.

The divorce was filed almost a year ago, and we have floundered along.

We now have a good paralegal who is preparing the financial settlement for us. It should be ready in a few days, and then I will present it to wife for signing.

Here’s the catch, and my question:

There is a woman whom I plan to marry once the divorce is complete. If we file the financial settlement papers, they will give me and my present wife a court date to finalize the divorce that will be several months out, thanks to the efficiency of the LA Superior Court.

My Mother is presently 96 years old, and is in rapidly failing health. She adores my fiancée, and she has expressed a deep desire to be present at our wedding. She cannot leave her house, and is pretty much bed-bound. We do not think that she has very long to live. So, we have decided to have our marriage ceremony performed at her bedside. The problem is that we do not believe that she will live long enough to be able to witness this, if we go through the process of waiting for a court date.

Now, a few weeks ago, I went before a Judge “ExParte” to ask if she could grant me a Bifurcation to allow us to be married ASAP. But she denied it, saying something to the effect that it was the wrong venue in which to request this.

So, I am at a bit of a loss. I am looking for a “path” to take from this point on to achieve a divorce ASAP through the process of bifurcation, or requesting an earlier calendar date through some process, or whatever it takes to obtain this divorce ASAP, before my Mother passes. I will receive the Settlement agreement over the next day or so, I will have my wife sign it….and then what do I do? I would also like to have a divorce decree where my wife and I do not have to appear in court, if possible.

So….are you up for this question, experts?...lol

I need some help!!..

Thanks!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 years ago.
Hello,
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Thank you for using JA.
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Is your goal to have mother witness a wedding ceremony prior to her death?
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, Barrister...thank you for taking my question.


Well, the ultimate goal is to BE married to my fiancee....but we would like to have it performed in her presence before she passes. We have CONSIDERED simply having a commitment ceremony performed in her presence, but it really would not be the same....we would like it to be a legal marriage ceremony.


 


Also, more information, she lives in southern utah....we live in Los Angeles....don't know if tht makes a difference.

Expert:  Barrister replied 4 years ago.
Ok, that was going to be my suggestion...simply have a preliminary ceremony with all the formalities of a marriage except the legal ones. Although it is a bit deceptive, mother would never know and it would allow for her to witness a ceremony.
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But in order to bifurcate the divorce action, assuming your soon to be ex agrees, you can write a stipulation and order stating that you both agree to terminate your marital status but leave the other legal issues to be decided in the future. Then you would have to prepare the required California Judicial Council forms, including forms FL-130: Appearance, Stipulations and Waivers; FL-170: Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation; FL-180: Judgment and FL-190: Notice of Entry of Judgment. Submit your completed forms to the clerk's offuce at the California court where you have your pending dissolution case.
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Then you would have to prepare Form FL-301: Notion of Motion, which is a cover sheet identifying the legal issues in your request to the court. Attach your completed Form FL-315 to XXXXX
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If you have not already provided your spouse with the financial documents required at the beginning of a divorce case in California, such as FL-140: Declaration of Disclosure and your completed Schedule of Assets and Debts, then you would need to prepare these documents. Include copies of these financial documents with your bifurcation forms.
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Then you serve copies of all documents on your spouse. After completing service on your spouse, file your original forms with the clerk's office at the family court where you have your pending dissolution case. Schedule a hearing for the court to consider whether a bifurcation is appropriate for your situation; make note of the hearing date, attend as scheduled and follow up as specified by the judge.
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Judges will typically grant a bifurcated divorce motion for virtually any reason. It is common for people to request this so they can be legally divorced so they can file their taxes as single or to remarry.
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All the required forms can be found here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm?filter=DI
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But with the year closing, there may be a backlog of cases with people trying to get divorced before the end of the year for tax reasons. So I would keep the "pseudo-wedding" option open if it doesn't look like you can get a hearing date quickly.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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Please don't forget to rate my service "OK" or higher. It is only then that I receive credit for my work.

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If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” or “CONTINUE CONVERSATION” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I am trying to help you understand and resolve your situation but I don't make the laws, so the outcome may not be what you had hoped for.

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Please be patient as I am typically working with several customers at any given time.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.




Customer: replied 4 years ago.


question....when I attempted the Bifurcatiuon orginally, getting a date for a hearing on that was the same as getting a date for the final dissolution...so it appeared that we should just go through with entire divorce...the ime fram would seem to be about the same. What a clerk advised me to do was to see a Judge "exParte" and see if he/she would grant a Bifurcation under the circumstances., considering my mothers condition.


 


However, that would appear to be the incorrect venue to ask for a bifurcation. Would I be correct in assuming (from what i been able to learn from my experience) that I would go to the ExParte Judge to ask for a much closer court date for a bifurcation, rather than ask the exparte judge for the bifurcation itself?


 


Does that make sense? lol..

Expert:  Barrister replied 4 years ago.

Yes, any type of formal motion has to be made in open court with both sides of a case present. So a one on one ex parte communication is prohibited by the rules of civil procedure and no judge would take up the issue.
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But if you and spouse present a joint motion for some type of expedited hearing, and set out your reasons for it, you may have a much better chance of success. However, it would essentially be up to the judge as to whether they would "squeeze you in" on a lighter docket day or not. Typically judges are pretty rigid in their lack of accomodation for unrepresented parties and will only bend the rules for someone represented by an attorney who personally knows the judge.
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It isn't particularly fair, but it is true. I can go in and talk to judges and get them to schedule things and move things around that a non-attorney would never be able to do simply because I know the judges personally and they do so as a professional courtesy.
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So botXXXXX XXXXXne is that your best bet is to file a joint motion to see if the judge would consider bumping you up on the docket considering the circumstances. Either that or find a family law or divorce attorney who is well known around court and pay him/her to present your motion personally to the judge.
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Have to log off for the night..it is 3 a.m. where I am. will check back later this morning...

 

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Thanks.

Barrister

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Please don't forget to rate my service "OK" or higher.It is only then that I receive credit for my work.

.

If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” or “CONTINUE CONVERSATION” button and I will be happy to continue.

.

I am trying to help you understand and resolve your situation but I don't make the laws, so the outcome may not be what you had hoped for.

.
Please be patient as I am typically working with several customers at any given time.

.

I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing.There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.


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