What Is the Divorce Process Like in California?

Procedures, laws, rules, forms, documents, and deadlines can complicate a divorce and push you past your emotional threshold. Direction, and understanding the seemingly endless process of separation, can not only give you peace of mind but also provide you with a greater ability to make good decisions.

This is the divorce process in California:

  1. First, a spouse files a divorce petition and serves it to the other spouse, called the respondent.
  2. The respondent then has 30 days to file a response to said petition.
  3. Either spouse can then request temporary court orders by filing for an Order to Show Cause hearing, where a judge will award temporary child custody and support, as well as restraining orders (if needed).
  4. Both spouses then engage in discovery, where they exchange information and documents relevant to the divorce. Each are required to exchange income and expense declarations in order for alimony, debt division and other family law issues to be settled.
  5. Once discovery is complete, both spouses and their attorneys will discuss settlement. If the case is resolved with an agreement, attorneys will prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement, which includes the terms of the agreement. Spouses and attorneys sign the contract.
  6. If parties can’t agree on all issues, the case goes to trial.
  7. After parties sign a Marital Settlement Agreement, or the trial ends, one of the attorneys prepares a Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage. This documents contains all the court orders. Once it is filed, the court mails a Notice of Entry of Judgement to each attorney, and the case is settled.

If you’re considering divorce, it’s an arduous and time-consuming process that you should not do alone. As an experienced Westlake Village divorce lawyer, I can help guide you through this painful process.

Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff today at (805) 633-4999 or contact me online.

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