The step-by-step process of divorce in California

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2023 | Divorce |

Every divorce case in California is different, but there is a fairly standard legal process that must be followed in most cases. Following that process can help make sense of a legal matter that might be emotionally and financially stressful.

Step-by-step process

For starters, the divorce case must be filed in an appropriate court. This will typically be a court in a county where one of the spouses lives. That initial filing doesn’t have to state any specific reasons for asking for the divorce—California is what is known as a “no fault” state, which means no reason other that something like “irreconcilable differences” must be stated on the initial petition. That initial petition must then be “served” to the other spouse—meaning it must be verifiably delivered to the other person.

From there, the spouse who was served with the initial filings will have an opportunity to respond. And then, there are many different paths for a divorce case to follow. Some divorcing spouses will be able to come to an agreement on important issues like property and debt division, alimony and child custody and support. If such an agreement can be reached, it can be submitted to the court for ratification and an order of dissolution of the marriage can then be entered.

Other divorcing couples, however, may need more help along the way. Some will need to go through mediation to attempt to reach an agreement, while others may need to go to litigation to “fight it out” in front of a judge. Whatever path the divorcing couple needs to take, all of the legal issues in the case must be addressed. The final step, of course, is to get that court order that formalizes the divorce.