Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods – like mediation, arbitration, and collaborative – do not always succeed. Most divorces (approximately 95%) do settle out of court. However, if your best efforts to control costs, keep your high net worth divorce private, and negotiate in good faith with the other spouse fail, litigation offers a way forward. The court steps in to restore order and impose solutions. Divorce litigation includes the following seven basic steps:
1. Filing a Petition for Divorce
2. Serving the petition
3. Requesting temporary orders (optional)
4. Documenting facts pertinent to the case (also called “discovery”)
6. Deposing all witnesses involved
7. Trial preparation and hearing
For California Residents Only
The state of California recognizes three different ways to end a marriage: divorce, legal separation, or annulment. California is a no-fault divorce state, which means that the spouse (or domestic partner) requesting the divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse behaved badly to be granted the divorce. The courts simply require the filing spouse to state that the couple cannot get along. The law does not necessarily require both parties to agree to the divorce. If a spouse or domestic partner chooses not to participate in the divorce case, the other spouse or partner will still be able to receive a default judgment, and the divorce will ultimately go through.
To file for divorce in California, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for six months. You or your spouse must also have been a resident in the county in which you are filing your case for at least three months. If you do not meet these requirements, you may file for a legal separation, followed by an amended petition for divorce once these residency requirements are met.
You can access the necessary forms for filing divorce on the Judicial Branch of California’s official website, linked here. Although all California courts use the same basic set of forms, some courts require special, local forms as well. Your local court’s website will have more information about whether or not these special forms apply to your case.
California recently instated the One Day Divorce Program, designed for couples with minimal disputes seeking a fast-pass to separation. However, high net worth individuals with complex financial needs and disagreements should generally avoid shortcutting the process.
For insight into how to obtain fair results litigating your high net worth California divorce, please call the Law Offices of Silky Sahnan at 888-228-1098 to set up a confidential consultation with our team.