How To Know If You Need A Divorce – Divorce sounds daunting and ominous. While dissolution of a marriage can bring relief, divorce can still be scary. An uncertain future, complicated forms filled with legalese, arguments back and forth with your spouse, court appearances, it can all be scary. but it is not the truth. Follow us to learn more about the steps to divorce in California.
Before filing for divorce in California, you must figure out where to file. One party, either you or your spouse, must have lived in the state for at least six months.
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How To Know If You Need A Divorce
At the county level, one of the persons must also have lived in the specific county for at least three months.
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This may not be a problem if you and your soon-to-be ex still live in the same place. However, if, for example, you move out of the joint marital home and move from Orange County to San Diego County, you must be settled in for at least some time before filing.
California has a six-month waiting period for all divorces. This is the minimum amount of time it takes to finalize a divorce. It is possible to reach an agreement and approve documents in advance.
California, like most other states, practices no-fault divorce. This means that the end of the marriage is not officially blamed on either party.
Even if the other party refuses to cooperate or participate, one party can initiate action, go through the legal process and ultimately complete the divorce.
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If a spouse refuses to participate, the case will go to trial and result in a default judgment.
The first person to file divorce papers with the court is called the plaintiff. Applicants are required to complete specific forms and submit them to the clerk. The form will vary depending on your situation. [Check out the list at the bottom of this article for some common basic divorce forms. ]
The reasons for ending a marriage are often complex and painful, but as for the methods, the first step in getting divorced is filling out some paperwork and paying the fees.
The first step in a divorce in California is filing a summons, Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, and related forms.
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When you file your application, you will pay a fee to the clerk of court. It may be in your best interest to have a divorce attorney review your documents beforehand to make sure you fill everything out correctly.
FL-100 – This is the form to begin divorce proceedings. As the filing party, you list all relevant information about your marriage, including children, dates, and property.
Once you have filled out the appropriate forms and filed them with the appropriate county (the county where you live, not the county where you were married), the next step in your divorce is to serve your spouse.
During this divorce step, you file documents with your spouse and state your intentions. Basically, this lets them know in a formal and legal sense that you have filed for divorce.
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You cannot serve divorce papers in person. Subpoenas and petitions must be filed by outside persons who are at least 18 years of age.
This can be anyone who meets the requirements, but in most cases it is in your best interest to use a registered process server.
FL-115 – Proof of Service of Summons, which lets you tell the court that you notified your spouse.
Once you serve your spouse or receive notice of service yourself, the respondent has 30 days to file a response.
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This takes the form of a formal reply to the petition for dissolution and indicates that the other party plans to participate in the divorce proceedings.
During this step of divorce, both parties fill out a disclosure statement and exchange any relevant information with each other.
California is a community property state and considers all assets acquired during a marriage to belong equally to both spouses. This doesn’t mean you have to split everything down the middle. The court divides property in a manner that ensures that both parties maintain much the same lifestyle as they did during the marriage. Anyway, that’s the goal.
Formal discovery follows the disclosure statement. How this looks depends largely on the specific circumstances of your case. It may include inquiries, written questions between spouses, or requests for documents.
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Admission requests are in the form of written questions asking a party to verify or deny specific information. The parties can even conduct depositions or live Q&A sessions.
Over the course of marriage, life becomes closely intertwined. The purpose of divorce is to resolve their entanglements, but the process takes time. In such situations, the question often arises of what to do at the same time.
This is the step in a divorce where you ask for temporary child custody, child support, spousal support orders, etc.
If a spouse desires an order immediately before the divorce is finalized, he or she may request it. By filing an Order to Show Cause, the court schedules a hearing to rule on a pressing issue that needs to be resolved as quickly as possible.
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There are no strict steps to divorce where you must file a request for an order. You can submit them as early as possible when you first start working. In other cases, it might make sense to deal with the issue later. As with many other things, this depends on the specific needs of your case.
If you and your spouse are on the same page, divorce will be relatively smooth. This is especially true in marriages that are shorter, have no children, and do not have substantial joint assets to divide. In an amicable divorce, finalizing the details can be a relatively straightforward and simple divorce step.
There are three ways to reach a judgment and finalize a divorce: settlement, default, or trial. Which path you take depends on whether your spouse responds and whether you can come to an agreement.
A settlement occurs when the parties agree on the terms of the divorce. This avoids the need for mediation, trial, or other litigation.
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A breach of contract occurs when your spouse fails to respond to initial services. When the other party breaches the contract, the case proceeds to trial, where a judgment is rendered and the divorce is finalized. It’s a longer process with more steps, but that’s the gist.
If you and your ex are unable to reach an agreement on your own or through mediation, a trial may be necessary. In order to finalize property division, custody arrangements, parenting plans, and all other details of a divorce agreement, you may have to present your case before a judge.
The court can order a mandatory settlement conference, where the parties meet to resolve the case. If both parties can come to an agreement, a settlement agreement may be possible. In these cases, no further divorce steps are necessary.
Once the appropriate people sign and file the appropriate forms, the divorce will be effective within six months of service.
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If a full settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial. Both sides present testimony, evidence, and even witnesses and present their side to the court. Ultimately, the judge rules on any controversial issues. Once the judgment is entered and the waiting period has expired, your divorce is official.
Signing and submitting the final documents is just as it sounds. As one of the final steps in your divorce, you and your soon-to-be-ex fill out and submit a series of forms.
This includes agreements between the two of you regarding the division of assets and debts, child custody, child and spousal support, and any other topics.
When you reach a final divorce agreement (you can do it on your own, with the help of an attorney, or through mediation or trial), the court will review the documents, make sure everything is in place, and then sign it.
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Once you have completed the divorce steps and it is at least six months since the original date of service, the marriage is officially dissolved.
Because each situation has its own unique circumstances, the steps for divorce vary from case to case. Since there’s no strict formula, each scene will unfold in its own way, but this should give you a rough idea of what to expect.
The more conflict there is and the more you and your spouse argue, the more complicated the divorce process will become. Children, high-value assets, retirement benefits, and countless other factors make the situation even more confusing.
Even if you take a do-it-yourself approach, you may want to have an attorney review the form before filing. This ensures that you fill out everything required and follow all the correct divorce steps.
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