If you are considering divorce in the state of California, you may be wondering how the litigation process works and what steps you will have to complete to finalize your divorce. Working with an experienced family lawyer like Julia Ann Brungess or Teri Ann Kezirian, can help you to navigate this process more easily. Here are some of the most important steps you are likely to encounter during your divorce litigation proceedings.
Filing for Divorce
In most divorce cases, one party files for the dissolution of marriage with the court and the other party responds to this petition. The process may vary slightly depending on whether you are the petitioner or the respondent. The petition may be mailed to the respondent or delivered via personal service; responses can be made in the same way.
Filing Temporary Custody and Support Requests
Requests for court orders regarding child custody and financial support can be filed along with the divorce petition or in the weeks following. Your former spouse will then be given a chance to respond to these requests and make counter proposals regarding the primary custody of any minor children and the support to be provided for those children.
Making Financial Disclosures
You will usually be asked to provide a detailed statement of your income and assets at the time that you file for or respond to requests for custody and child or spousal support. Your attorney can usually provide you with the best possible guidance in completing this declaration of disclosure statements in a timely way. Accurate and honest statements can help you make the most positive impression on the judge overseeing your divorce litigation.
Providing Protection for Minor Children
If you believe your spouse may present a danger to your children, you can file for an emergency child custody request for an order that may restrict visitation rights. The California Family Code restricts the use of these emergency requests to situations in which the court identifies there is a risk of harm or abduction.
Deciding on Requests for Orders
If you and your spouse cannot come to a mutually acceptable agreement about child support, child custody and other requests, you may be required to appear at a hearing to determine the disposition of these matters. Your attorney will typically work with you to ensure that you are prepared for this part of the litigation process.
Achieving a Resolution
In some divorce cases, it may be possible to reach an agreement that suits both parties and is acceptable to the courts. However, if you and your former partner cannot come to mutually agreeable terms, your case may be determined in the courtroom setting, which may come at a considerable expense to your feelings and finances.
When Collaboration Makes More Sense
Collaborative divorces are not for everyone. In some cases, divorce litigation can be the best way to dissolve a marriage and to ensure the safety of minor children. For couples who can set aside their personal differences, however, the collaborative process may reduce the costs and provide the best outcomes for all parties to the divorce. This can provide greater confidence and peace of mind for you and your partner throughout the process.