What is Required to Get Divorced in California?
Residency requirements state that in order to qualify for dissolution of marriage or a divorce, one of you must have been a resident of California for six continuous months and a resident of the county in which you are filing for three continuous months prior to the filing of the Family Law Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage. The Petitioner is the spouse requesting the divorce or dissolution. The Respondent is the spouse being served with the Summons and Petition. A minimum period of six months must transpire for the divorce to be granted and the marriage to be terminated, once the Respondent is served with the Summons and Petition.
California is a community property state. All property that was acquired during the marriage, including your home, income, and personal property is considered community property and will be divided equally by the court. The court will also equally divide any debts incurred during the marriage. Any property that was acquired before the marriage, after the date of separation, or by bequest or inheritance is usually the separate property of the spouse who acquired it.
A typical dissolution of marriage or divorce requires the following steps and I will be right there with you every step of the way:
The Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage is filed and personally served on the Respondent.
The Respondent has thirty days to file a Response to Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage.
Request temporary court orders by filing for an Order to Show Cause hearing. At this hearing, the judge can make temporary awards of child custody, child and or spousal support, attorney’s fees, or property orders, if appropriate.
The discovery process begins, and both spouses exchange financial information and documents that are relevant to the case. The Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure is mandatory for both sides. This is a court form in which each of you lists the community and separate property, provide estimates of value for each asset and debt, exchange current income and expense declarations setting forth employment earnings and personal expense information.
Other forms of discovery are interrogatories, special interrogatories, demands for inspection of endowments or things, requests for admission and depositions (oral examination under penalty of perjury).
Both spouses have a fiduciary obligation to the other to provide financial information to the other upon demand. Discovery is an on-going process until the dissolution case is almost ready for trial. If the parties are in agreement, then a settlement has been reached.
Once discovery is largely complete, settlement of the case can be discussed. If the case is resolved by agreement, one of the attorneys will prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement, which will contain all of the terms of the agreement. This is a contract that is signed by you and your lawyers.
If you do not agree on all of the issues in the case, a trial will take place.
After both of you sign the Marital Settlement Agreement or after the trial has concluded, one of the attorneys will prepare a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. This is the document that contains all of the court’s orders. The judgment is filed and the court mails a Notice of Entry of Judgment to each attorney. This means the divorce has been finalized.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation to review what the Law Office of Vanessa Gnekow can do to help you with your circumstances at 909-481-5350.
The Law Office of Vanessa Gnekow is able to provide Family Law Services to all of California, with a focus on the Cities of Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, and San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties.