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Stephen Curry’s Parents File for Divorce – Starting a Marital Dissolution Action

Earlier this week it was announced that the parents of Golden State Warrior’s basketball star, Stephen Curry, filed for divorce after their 33-year long marriage. Sonya and Dell met at Virginia Tech where they were both student-athletes at the time. Sonya was a volleyball player while Dell played basketball. Dell was eventually drafted by the NBA in 1986 and had a long career as a professional basketball player. Two years after being drafted by the NBA the pair were married. Together they share three adult children with two sons following their father’s footsteps by currently playing in the NBA. To the press, Sonya expressed sadness over the choice to divorce but affirmed that it was ultimately the best decision for them and their family.

Choosing to divorce from your long-time spouse is never easy, but like Sonya expressed, sometimes it is the right decision. Knowing whether or not it is the right decision is a personal one, but we at Mello & Pickering are ready to assist you if you want to pursue divorce. This article helps explain the process of starting a divorce action and other important topics to consider when your case begins.

Filing for Divorce

In Santa Clara County, starting a divorce action requires filling out and filing multiple forms with the court. The first is the FL-110 Summons and FL-100 Petition. By filling out these forms you are informing the court the legal grounds for your divorce as well as any important issues in your case that need to be resolved such as: spousal and child support, child custody and visitation, and property division. There are other forms that you will need to fill out if you and your spouse share minor children. Either way, you must serve your spouse all the paperwork you filed with the court within 60 days. You also need to file and serve your “Preliminary Declarations of Disclosure” forms (also called PDDs) within 60 days of opening your case.

Preliminary Declarations of Disclosure

PDDs are mandatory in every family law case pursuant to California Family Code Sections 2104 and 2105. PDDs are made up of two essential forms: the FL-150 Income and Expense Declaration and FL-142 Schedule of Assets and Debts. In filling out these forms you make a complete and accurate disclosure of all assets, debts, income, expenses, and business opportunities to the other party. Failure to do so may lead to sanctions, including without limitation attorney fees and/or the court awarding 100% of the non-disclosed asset to the other party. You will also sign these forms under penalty of perjury. Therefore, it is important to be honest and accurate when filling out these forms and they must be disclosed to the other party.

Contested Divorce

If your spouse files a Response to your Petition, your case is considered a “contested” divorce. However, don’t be put off by the term “contested.” Most divorce actions fall under this category, as both parties usually want to be equally involved and have their say. Filing of a Response allows both parties to participate in the process and finish their case by agreement. However, couples who are unable to reach agreement on their own will need judicial intervention and will get a final decision from the Judge at a trial.

Default Divorce

But what if you don’t hear anything from your spouse after filing the Petition? Does the case just stall? Not at all. If your spouse does not file a Response within 30 days of being served you can ask the court to let you finish the case without them. This is called “default”. In some cases, couples decide to go this route because they are in total agreement and it makes the process a lot quicker. In other cases, the other party decides to ignore the process for various reasons or has just lost contact. There are two steps to getting a default Judgment. First, you file a Request to Enter Default. If your Request to Enter Default is granted, you must submit a proposed Judgment for the Judge to review and sign. This Judgment can be based on a written agreement that you attach or, if no agreement, based on what you requested in your Petition.

How Long Does Take For A Divorce To Be Finalized?

California has a “waiting period” to finalize a divorce. In California, you can be divorced 6 months and a day from the date your spouse was served with the divorce forms provided that a proof of service was filed, or 6 months from the date they filed a Response, whichever is earlier. However, you will not automatically be divorced after 6 months. The parties must complete and file the necessary forms and documents to finish the case by either coming to an agreement themselves or litigating in front of a judge. Depending on your relationship with your spouse, this process can take a lot longer than 6 months. It varies for every couple since there are unique issues in every case.

Sonya and Dell had a long-term marriage and made the tough decision to separate. If you have decided that divorce is the best option for you and your family, please call our office to schedule a consultation. Here at Mello & Pickering, LLP we have extensive experience settling and litigating family law matters and can guide you as needed to ensure a successful resolution.

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