california divorce process

When a couple decides to separate, it can be a heart-wrenching decision. What comes next can also be an incredibly stressful time for both spouses. Divorce law in California is very complex and confusing. What is the divorce process in California? Here is our guide to help you understand these proceedings in the Golden State. 

Who Is Eligible to File for Divorce in California?

Fortunately, both spouses do not need to be California residents, but there are still residency requirements. If you want to file for divorce in California, at least one spouse must have been a state resident for six months. They must also be resident of the county where the divorce is filed for three months. 

How Does the Divorce Process Start?

When one spouse, known as the petitioner, files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the court, that will start the process. This document will specify the petitioner’s requests for property division, spousal support, child custody, and other issues. 

After the petition is filed, the other spouse (the respondent) is notified of the proceedings. With that, the respondent has 30 days to file a response. If they do not respond, the courts could issue a default judgment in favor of the petitioner. 

What Are Financial Disclosures?

Within 60 days of filing the divorce petition, both spouses will have to exchange financial disclosures. These documents contain a comprehensive list of:

  • Assets
  • Debts
  • Income
  • Expenses

At this time, either spouse can also request temporary orders for child support, custody, or spousal support. These orders are only valid until the divorce settlement is finalized. In the case of child support, it can provide a little financial relief until both parties agree to a final amount.

The Negotiation Process

Throughout the process, both legal teams will negotiate with each other to work towards an agreement on spousal support, child custody, child support, and property division. Sometimes, it doesn’t take long for both parties to reach an agreement, especially if they have limited assets or have separated on amicable terms. 

However, if a marriage has many high-value assets or a child is involved, it could take a while to reach a settlement. In some cases, the court may have to step in to decide these issues. 

Once all issues have been resolved, the spouses can submit a proposed judgment to the court. The court will review the decision. Once it is approved, the divorce will be finalized.

After the divorce is finalized, both parties must adhere to the terms of the divorce judgment. If circumstances change, they can return to court to request modifications to the judgment.

Learn More About the Divorce Process in California

The divorce process in California involves several steps. It can often be a complex, stressful, and emotional journey. You need to have a skilled and knowledgeable California attorney on your side. 

If you need the assistance of an experienced family law attorney, contact the Roberts & Zatlin Family Law Firm. For over 35 years, we have provided thorough family law services throughout California. 

Our office in Temecula extends its services to Menifee, Hemet, Sun City, Lake Elsinore, Winchester, Wildomar, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County, Vista, San Diego, Inland Valley, and all other parts of the state. To schedule a consultation today and receive a free initial assessment of your case, please call (951) 381-8147 today.

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