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What Are the Steps in a California Divorce?


For your marriage to be legally ended in California, you must go through the proper channels. The divorce process involves completing the necessary paperwork, getting the documents to your spouse, and meeting deadlines and other time requirements.

Filing for a divorce can be an emotionally difficult time. You might feel overwhelmed with all you must consider and take care of during the process.

At Gille Kaye Law Group, PC, we understand the challenges you might be facing. That is why we have provided the information below to give an overview of the divorce process and what you can expect. Of course, the discussion does not include every detail entailed, but it may help answer some of your early questions. Still, you may likely have many more concerns about filing for a divorce in California. Our team is here for you. We will guide you through each step and clearly explain your responsibilities and the possible courses your case can take.

Preparing to File for Your Divorce

The first step in the divorce process involves preparation. Before filling out any forms, you must ensure that you have everything needed for the initial stages.

For instance, you will want to make sure that you meet California's residency requirements. You or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least 6 months and of the county you're filing in for at least 3 months before submitting your documents.

Additionally, you must ensure that you know what forms the court in your county requires. Failing to have the correct documents can delay your case.

Completing the Divorce Forms

To get your divorce started, you must fill out a couple of forms. One is the Petition - Marriage/Domestic Partnership. This document provides the court with information about your marriage and the orders you are seeking.

Another form you'll have to complete is the Summons. The Summons is a notice to your spouse, letting them know that you have filed for a divorce and they have a certain amount of time to submit a Response.

If you have children under 18 years of age, you will also have to fill out the Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody and Enforcement Act form.

It's a good idea to have a family law lawyer review your paperwork. They can make sure everything is filled out correctly and that you have completed all the forms required for your specific court.

Filing the Documents

After you've completed the forms, you'll make two copies of everything and take them to the court. At this time, you must also pay the filing fee.

Once everything is in, your divorce case will officially start.

Note, it does not matter who files for divorce first in California. Courts do not give any particular preference to petitioners (the person submitting the forms).

Serving the Divorce Papers

Your spouse must get a copy of the divorce forms, ensuring that they know that the proceedings have started. It also gives them time to prepare their case and present their side of the story.

Getting the divorce documents to your spouse is referred to as service of process, and it must be done by someone 18 years of age or older other than yourself. After giving your spouse the paperwork, they must complete a proof of service form. They should give the form back to you to file it with the court.

Your spouse (referred to as the respondent) has 30 days after being served to file a response. They are not required to file a response. Doing so lets the court know that they would like to present their case. If they don't file a response, the judge will make final divorce-related decisions without your spouse's input.

Disclosing Financial Information

Within 60 days of filing your petition for divorce, you and your spouse must exchange financial information. This part of the process involves providing a written statement about your income, expenses, assets, and debts. Exchanging financial information is important, as it is used to make determinations about crucial matters, such as property division, child support, and spousal support.

As with the copy of your divorce papers, your financial disclosures must be served on your spouse by someone 18 years of age or older. Likewise, your spouse must serve you with their financial disclosures.

At this stage of the process, it's essential that you consult with a family law attorney. If you do not provide complete or accurate information, your case could get dismissed. A lawyer can review your documents and make sure everything is in order.

Receiving a Final Judgment

After all your and your spouse's documents are in, the court will review them to ensure all issues are resolved fairly. Note that your divorce cannot be finalized until 6 months after you filed your petition.

Reach Out to Our Firm Today

The divorce process can be complex, but you do not have to handle everything on your own. Our Pasadena team can be by your side throughout.

Schedule a consultation by calling Gille Kaye Law Group, PC at (626) 340-0955 or contacting us online.

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