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Westlake Village Divorce Timeline

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Getting a divorce is a long process with a number of steps along the way. It can be intimidating to think of the journey that may await you if you are considering filing for divorce, but you shouldn’t allow this to dissuade you. Instead of staying in an unhappy marriage, my firm and I can help you find the legal solution you need to end your divorce successfully and start a new, independent life on your own.

My name is Jeffrey S. Graff, and as your Westlake Village divorce attorney, I can provide you with more than 35 years of experience practicing family law. I have helped numerous clients find the resolution they have needed to all types of family law issues, including child custody, child support, and other issues. I have even served as a family law Judge Pro Tem, which stand as a testament to my mastery of my craft and dedication to my community. Whether you’re considering a regular divorce or one of the many divorce alternatives, such as mediation, I can help you create and obtain the solution you and your family need to start the next chapter of your life off on the best possible foot.

Considering a divorce? Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff today! My team and I are standing by and can provide you with a free initial consultation; dial (805) 633-4999!

The 10-Step Divorce Process

  1. Filing & Serving a Petition
    The first step of the divorce process is to formally file your request for a divorce and then serve notice to your spouse. This may be done personally, but you may also opt to have a close friend, law enforcement, or even a petition-serving service do this for you if you fear your own safety.
  2. The Other Party’s Response
    Once the petition has been served, the other party must respond. This is similar to the original petition and often asks for a lot of the same information, which is then entered as one of the first steps in the discovery process, which we’ll discuss more in a moment.
  3. Requesting Temporary Orders
    It''s not uncommon for the lower-earning spouse to request alimony on a temporary basis while the divorce proceedings are ongoing. Parents can also request custody of their children on a temporary basis in the same way. A judge will only grant this request if the requesting party can demonstrate a valid reason for it. If granted, these orders will end as soon as a divorce is finalized.
  4. Response to Temporary Order Requests
    Just like in the initial petition, the spouse who receives the request for custody or support will be given the opportunity to respond and plead their case, which will factor into the judge’s ultimate decision.
  5. Attend a Custody/Support Hearing
    Once the request and response have both been received by the court, the judge will then consider the requests at a formal hearing that both parties (and their attorneys) will be required to attend. Usually any granted requests are given at this hearing.
  6. Declarations of Disclosure
    At this point, both spouses are required to disclose any and all assets they own, including all marital and individually-held property, debts, income, and other expenses. These are submitted to the court using a “declaration of disclosure” form. It’s advised you have your lawyer help you with this.
  7. Formal Discovery
    The discovery process is when both spouses request information from each other, including things such as work schedules, important documents, admissions, depositions, and more. This will allow both sides to formulate their case. This could be a fairly long process, with both sides requesting further information on certain subjects multiple times.
  8. Expert Witness Testimony
    This isn't always a mandatory step, but if one spouse requests testimony from an expert, such as a forensic accountant, a child psychologist, or even a law enforcement professional, their testimony is then heard at this point and entered into a case for consideration with the final agreement.
  9. Create a Resolution
    Once all of these factors have been considered, both parties pursue a judgement or settlement in order to create the foundation for their divorce agreement. This could involve a ruling from a judge, but could often involve terms that were agreed upon outside of court. These terms could have an effect on the final agreement so they must be entered before a final ruling.
  10. Divorce Trial
    The final part of a divorce involves a divorce trial, at which point all of the evidence and agreed terms will be presented and your judge will give the final ruling. Once the final agreement is made, the judge will sign off on it, making it legally enforceable. At this point, you marriage will be officially dissolved and you will be able to go your separate ways.

In total, this entire process will take a minimum of six months, but it could take longer depending on the complexity of your case. It’s strongly advised that you seek an attorney who can help you through every step of the divorce process.

Contact my firm now and let my team and I stand with you through every step of the way!

Hear it From Our
Happy Clients

  • I felt that he always had my best interest in mind!

    “I selected Jeff to represent me because he specialized divorce cases and had worked with the Ventura County judges for many years. He was very patient with me as dealt with the emotions of getting a divorce after a 19-year marriage, and helped me through the terrible stress of facing my ex-spouse and being in the courtroom. He gave me very good advice on how to manage the property settlement, especially on when I should capitulate and when I should hold my ground. I felt that he always had my best interest in mind (rather than just collecting his fee) and worked diligently to bring the case to a fair conclusion.”

    Mrs. M

  • Mr. Graff, thank you so very much for all you have done for me and my family.

    “I am writing this to let you know how much I appreciate all your past services in completing my divorce and inter-spousal transfer deed! I want to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for your expertise, patience, and professionalism during a very difficult time in my life.Thanks to you taking good care of my case, I refinanced my home in March of this year, and finally have the new deed in my name! This blessing is because you agreed to take my case and you and your staff completed the transaction through the end ... thank you! Mr. Graff, thank you so very much for all you have done for me and my family I am very appreciative and wanted you to know.”

    Former Client

  • He understands family dynamics because he has experience working with many different types!

    “Jeff is very kind and always takes time to listen to my issues and questions. He is very professional. Jeff is always prepared for court and his experience is obvious when you see that all the judges know him and regard him with great esteem. Jeff understands family dynamics because he has experience working with many different types of issues which characterized my case. If you would like to be able to trust that your lawyer is going to resolve your issue to the best possible outcome while being professional and courteous, Jeff Graff is the attorney for you.”


  • In a very difficult time in my life, Mr. Graff provided excellent service to me.

    “In a very difficult time in my life, Mr. Graff provided excellent service to me. Patient with my process, he was always prompt to return my calls, and gave me realistic advice. While other lawyers might be evasive in an effort to prolong the process (hence their fees), Mr. Graff was straightforward and eager to conclude the proceedings quickly in an effort to minimize my pain.”


  • His team helped restore hope into our family in a time of uncertainty. That alone make Jeff a fantastic attorney aside from his knowledgeable legal skills.

    “Jeff and his team are by far the best to work with. His staff is kind, courteous, and he is excellent at getting the job done in a timely fashion. He is very straight forward and makes it easy to understand what is going on step by step in your case. His experience and insight into the family law field is excellent. Jeff and his office have helped my family tremendously and I would recommend him to anyone who is looking for family law help. If you wants to be sure it is done correct the first time and that your family's best interest are always cared for, he is the guy. His team helped restore hope into our family in a time of uncertainty. That alone make Jeff a fantastic attorney aside from his knowledgeable legal skills.”