In California in order to start a divorce process, we first file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. California is a “no fault” state which means that there does not need to be a reason listed to get divorced.
Once the Petition has been filed with the court the other party will have 30 days to file their response. If they do not respond then we will request that a default be taken, meaning that we will proceed without them.
In California divorce there is a mandatory minimum waiting period of 6 months and one day from the time that a person is served with the initial paperwork for a divorce to be final. In many circumstances a case will take longer than that time particularly if there are issues related to property, child custody and support.
The divorce will become final when a Judgment is signed by the Judge. The parties can either come to an agreement on all the issues in the case or the court will have a trial and a judge will make a ruling on the issues. During the process there may be several shorter hearings in which temporary orders are made pertaining to custody of the children, visitation and support.
In matters where there are complex issues to resolve, a party may choose to have the marital status terminated after the waiting period while they continue to litigate the other issues in the divorce. This is done by filing a motion with the court and asking the Judge to make a ruling that the parties are restored to the status of single while they await trial on the remaining issues of the case.
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Our office guides our clients through each step of the process. We understand that no two marriages are the same and therefore we come up with a plan for your individual case when we meet with you. As issues come up, we strive to work with you to determine the issues that can be resolved outside of court and what issues need to be brought in front of the Court. Our staff will act as your guide as you move forward towards the next chapter in your life.