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Understanding Divorce in California

The California Divorce Process

Are You Planning To File For Divorce In California?

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Divorce can be an incredibly stressful process. Whether you’re just starting to consider filing for divorce or if you’ve already begun the process, there are a number of areas you need to consider, like your extended family, children, property, and your finances.

While it isn’t surprising to hear that changing your entire family and marital life can come with a lot of complications, with the right preparation you shouldn’t need to worry about surprises from the process itself.

Call us at (909) 992-0188 to speak with an experienced California family law attorney today.

Experienced Divorce Lawyers in California

Our Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyers at Family Law Advocacy Group provide families and individuals with the passionate and experienced legal representation they need to secure the beneficial outcome they deserve.

No matter how far into the divorce process you may be, we can help. Contact us today to speak with a member of our firm and begin planning your next step.

Divorce Process in California

  • One spouse must fill out and file a divorce petition with the court, then serve their spouse with the necessary papers.
  • The spouse who received the papers, also known as the respondent, must file their response with the court within 30 days of receiving them.
  • Both spouses have the ability to file for an Order to Show Cause which allows the judge to make any necessary restraining, child custody or temporary support orders.
  • At this point, the discovery process can begin. During this time, both spouses must exchange any relevant information and documents including, but not limited to any income and expense declarations. Both spouses must also list their community and separate property in a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure form.
  • Once this process is complete, both spouses, as well as their attorney will meet in order to discuss potential settlements. If both spouses agree to the terms of the settlement, then one of their attorneys will list the terms of the agreement in a Marital Settlement Agreement. Once the Agreement is complete, both spouses and their attorneys must sign it to make it official.
  • If no agreement is reached, then the divorce will proceed to court.
  • After either the Marital Settlement Agreement is signed or the trial is complete, one of the attorneys must complete and file a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. Both now ex-spouses attorneys will then receive a Notice of Entry of Judgment.

Who Can File For Divorce in California?

In order to file for divorce in the state of California, either you or your spouse must have been a resident for at least six months, as well as a resident of the county where the divorce is filed for three months prior to the filing. In same-sex marriages, you may file for divorce in California without either of you being a resident as long as you were married in California and your state does not recognize same-sex marriage.

How Long Does It Take To Get Legally Divorced In California?

In California, you need to wait six months or more from the date you submitted the necessary documents for the court to recognize your divorce as official.

What Is a Summary Dissolution?

Depending on the length of your marriage, you may be able to file for a summary dissolution. In most cases, you won’t need to go to court during a summary dissolution, but you will need to work with your spouse to agree on how your property and debts will be divided, fill out the required paperwork and file the documents with the court.

To qualify for this process, you must meet the following criteria:

  • No children
  • No real estate
  • Minimal property
  • Minimal debts
  • Your marriage must have lasted less than five years

Benefits of Filing for Divorce First

If you are sure that your marriage cannot be fixed, it might be a good idea to dissolve the union. However, is it a good idea to file for divorce first? The simple answer is yes. The benefits of filing for divorce first are as follows:

  1. Decide on divorce proceedings – By filing for divorce first, you decide when court dates are established. If you and your spouse live in two separate states, you decide under which jurisdiction the divorce is held.
  2. More time to prepare for the divorce – When you file for divorce first, you can better prepare for what you will ask and begin planning a life separate from your spouse. In particularly unstable relationships, filing first allows you the element of surprise. If you believe your spouse would object or hide assets, you can limit vulnerability. You also have more time to gather the appropriate documents and files you will need.
  3. End date of marriage – California is a community property state. Both parties must share assets and funds acquired during a marriage. However, when an individual files for divorce, they procure an end date for the union. Any assets or monetary gains obtained after this date do not need to be shared.
  4. Peace of mind – If your marriage is volatile, filing for divorce may offer the relief you need. It may be unsafe to remain with an abusive or manipulative spouse. Filing for divorce first allows you an avenue to leave.

Hire an Experienced Divorce Lawyer Today

Our Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyers at Family Law Advocacy Group have worked with hundreds of families and individuals in order to secure them the beneficial outcome they need to move on to the next phase of their lives.

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Whether you are starting to consider filing for divorce or if the process has already begun give us a call at (909) 992-0188 to speak with our California divorce team.

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