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There are many reasons why spouses put off filing for divorce. Very often, when there are children involved, the parents may want to protect their kids from the disruptive nature of divorce and decide to delay instituting the proceedings. And some parties resist filing for divorce for financial concerns: once the filing is done, the court is required to characterize and divide the community property. California law applies to family court matters arising in San Diego and throughout the state. If you are considering filing for divorce, it is best to be armed with as much information about the process and the local laws and procedures, before taking that step. An experienced family law attorney would be able to guide you through this emotional and complicated process.

A widely publicized news story involving the owners of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald and Shelly Sterling, illustrates one spouse’s reluctance to file for divorce for fear that as soon as she does, ownership of the team will fall under the jurisdiction of the California court system. Under California law, all property accumulated during the marriage is considered “community property” subject to division between the parties. Because of the way the law operates, filing for divorce would theoretically entitle Shelly Sterling to 50 percent of the team’s ownership. According to news reports, the NBA is seeking to force a sale of the team due to Donald Sterling’s racist comments about African Americans.

But once Shelly Sterling files for divorce, the Los Angeles Clippers will become one of the couple’s marital assets subject to division by a local family court. There has been some speculation that if and when Mrs. Sterling files the papers, it could take a very long time for the court to sort through the couple’s community property in order to divide it up evenly. In fact, the court could issue a temporary restraining order, thereby prohibiting a sale of any asset considered community property.
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