Understand The Steps To A California Divorce
Considering the path to the dissolution of a marriage or domestic partnership can seem overwhelming in all its details. An experienced family law attorney is an important source of information and guidance as you prepare to file for divorce.
A Simplified Summary Of The Divorce Process
The following description is general in nature, not comprehensive. It can give you a preview of what you and your attorney will work on as you move toward divorce.
- First, decide what type of dissolution you need: a divorce, a dissolution of a domestic partnership or an annulment.
- Next, prepare to file for divorce with the family law court. Either spouse can file, and if the other does not cooperate, the one who files may receive a “default judgment,” or a successfully completed divorce.
- Note: If you are in a domestic partnership that has lasted less than five years, you have no children or real estate and you and your partner have agreed in writing about the terms of your partnership dissolution, you may qualify to obtain a streamlined “summary dissolution” through the secretary of state. To increase your chances of success, ask an attorney for help preparing the necessary documents.
- After you have prepared the proper documents for the family law court, file those forms and the correct filing fee with the court. If applicable, you can also fill out forms requesting temporary support or protection from domestic violence.
- Arrange to have the documents served on your spouse. Then file proof of service with the court. But beware: Your divorce is not complete yet.
- Now, prepare to file financial disclosure forms with the court that will help determine your property division.
- If applicable, prepare documents regarding your and the other parent’s proposed parenting plan.
- Your divorce will not be complete until you have filed all required papers and waited at least six months.
Some people attempt to take the explanation of the divorce process from the California Courts website and file for divorce on their own. However, the safest path to divorce involves an attorney for most people.
To Get Your Divorce Dialogue Underway
For personalized guidance through your California divorce, contact me, attorney Steven R. Stolar. My years of experience and my commitment to serving clients’ needs are key reasons to consider hiring me. Call 310-800-2132 or send an email inquiry to request a consultation.