If you are getting a divorce, our firm will help negotiate a settlement, assist you with your legal paperwork, or represent your interests in court to ensure that you get everything that you are entitled to. We will be with you from beginning to end.
Requirements For Divorce In California
There are two basic requirements that must be met before you can file for divorce (dissolution of marriage) in the state of California. The spouse initiating the divorce proceedings must have been a California resident for at least six months, as well as a resident of the county where the divorce petition is being filed for at least three months.
California is a no-fault state, meaning that neither party has to be “at fault” in order for a divorce petition to be filed. One party can file for divorce even if the other party does not wish for the marriage to end.
Filing For Divorce
Once a spouse files for divorce and serves the petition on the other spouse (known as the respondent), a six-month waiting period must pass before the marriage can be officially dissolved. The spouse who is served the divorce petition has 30 days to respond. If the respondent does not respond to the petition, the court may assume that both spouses are in agreement about the divorce and a “default” will be entered in the case. A divorce petition may also include a request to the court to issue temporary orders regarding child support, child visitation, spousal support/alimony, and any or family matters, including stepparent adoptions, domestic violence/restraining orders, paternity issues, and property valuation and division matters.
During the discovery process, both spouses must exchange information regarding their financial and personal circumstances. This includes information about joint assets and income, separate property and income, as well as any debts. Occasionally, there is a need for formal discovery, including an exchange of documents and interrogatories (questions asked and answered), as well as depositions (sworn statements) made regarding matters needing to be resolved such as division and valuation of assets, child support, spousal support/alimony orders, child custody/visitation terms, and other family law matters, such as stepparent adoptions, paternity issues, and domestic violence/restraining orders.
If both the husband and wife are in agreement regarding the settlement terms, then the divorce is called a “uncontested” divorce. In a contested divorce, the couple cannot agree on the terms of their divorce and they may either choose to resolve their disagreements by compromise through numerous settlement negotiations or proceed to court and have a judge make a decision on their behalves.
In the event that the divorce terms are finalized through a uncontested agreement, a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) is drafted and filed with the court. If a judge finalizes the terms, a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is prepared. Once the divorce is finalized, both parties are legally free to marry again.
At Law Office of Paul A. Lovrich, we will assure that you are prepared, that you are treated fairly, and that your rights are protected whether in settlement negotiations or in a highly litigious court battle. We are not afraid to take your case to trial, if that is what is required and what you would like us to do.