We know the divorce process can be, at the very least, confusing. More often, divorce is an overwhelming life-changing event.
Hiring the right attorney will help you avoid many of the pitfalls and problems associated with divorce. At the Law Offices of Silky Sahnan, we take every measure to make your divorce as stress free, efficient and productive as possible, while protecting your rights and best interests.
So where do you start? How do you get the California divorce process underway? The first step is where one spouse or partner generally hires a lawyer to help them file for divorce. This triggers all future events.
How to get a divorce in California
Every divorce proceeding begins with a petition that one spouse or domestic partner serves to the other. Either spouse/partner may file for divorce.
California was the first state to enact the “no-fault” divorce law. This means that no blame or charges of marital misconduct, such adultery, abuse or abandonment, are required as grounds for filing for a divorce in California.
If you realize that your marriage or partnership is coming apart due to irreconcilable differences, you have sufficient basis to dissolve a marriage or registered domestic partnership.
The marriage can be terminated whether or not the other spouse or domestic partner agrees to it.
Some basic residency requirements apply, and are slightly different for married couples and domestic partnerships.
- The married spouse who is petitioning for the divorce must be a resident of California for at least six months and a resident of the county of filing for at least three months.
- If the domestic partnership is not registered in California, you are required to meet the same residency requirements of a divorcing married couple.
- For a domestic partnership that is registered in California, the petitioning domestic partner does not need to meet these residency requirements.
- If you meet California’s residency requirements, our law firm can help you begin the divorce process by (1) filing a petition to dissolve the marriage or domestic partnership in family court and (2) serving a copy of the petition and a summons to your spouse.
You’ve filed for divorce. What Happens Next?
Depending upon your situation and the complexity of the divorce, various steps will be followed. If you and your spouse or partner are very agreeable on all decisions, an agreement will be easily reached.
Conversely, if decisions about child custody and visitation, child support, and division of debts and assets are in dispute, reaching a final agreement will require mediation and a possible trial, after which a judge would resolve any remaining disputes. Temporary orders regarding custody and child support would be immediately sought.
Below is a summary of steps we regularly guide our clients through in divorce proceedings:
Your spouse must file a Response to your petition for divorce. If your spouse (the “responding party”) does not respond in 30 days, you may ask for a default. The responding party is in default, and therefore gives up his or her say in the divorce proceedings. Various factors may come into play, yet generally the divorce is then considered an uncontested divorce case. As your divorce attorney, I can offer valuable advice in this regard.
We compile and prepare a disclosure statement concerning your financial status. This includes income, expenses, assets, and debts. This disclosure is sent to your spouse; later the court may require that you follow up this initial disclosure with a Final Disclosure Declaration.
As needed, we request an Order to Show Cause hearing regarding temporary orders on your behalf. In this hearing, a judge will decide on temporary arrangements for custody, visitation, child support, disputes over restraining orders, the need for lawyer fees and other possible temporary needs.
We work with you and your spouse to resolve any issues of the divorce. By effectively reaching an agreement, you avoid having to appear in court. Most importantly, an agreement can be comprised of creative and supportive solutions that you and your spouse work out and can actually live with—where a decision imposed by a judge may not be as attractive in the long run.
When full agreement cannot be reached in divorce, you and your spouse will appear in court for a trial in which a judge will make the decisions. Clients often think their case will be an uncontested divorce case. Many is the divorce case in which one party rejects an agreement and the need for contested litigation arises. In addition to strong negotiating skills, Attorney Sahnan is an accomplished and highly respected litigator.
Various details and protocol must be satisfied before a judge will grant a divorce. The entry of a judgment means the judge has ruled on all unresolved aspects of the divorce, including the dissolution of the marriage, custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, division of debt and assets, lawyer’s fees and other issues.
The attorney you hire will make a substantive difference in your divorce judgment. I can help you through the entire process, as well as represent you in judgment modifications.
Compassionate and Experienced Guidance
In the divorce process, you want an experienced legal team on your side that is committed to helping you achieve the best outcome for you and your family. Our priority is to protect your legal rights, financial prosperity, and your emotional health. Children come first, and we share your concerns for your child’s well-being. When you seek our help in obtaining a divorce, we provide personalized attention along with quality service.
Do you have questions about obtaining a divorce in California? Contact us!