The Divorce Process in California

Divorce is the legal dissolution of marriage by a California superior court or other competent body.  By definition, it is the ending of marriage by legal process.

According to the 2000 US Census, 43% represented the national divorce rate. However, according to information gathered in 2002 the California divorce rate exceeds 71%.

Unfortunately, in California, more than half of all marriages end in divorce.  Although you probably entered into your “happily ever after” with the best of intentions there may come a point when this does not turn out to be reality and you find yourself contemplating divorce.

In California there are three ways to end a marriage or registered domestic partnership.  The three options are divorce, legal separation and annulment.  A divorce or dissolution of marriage legally terminates your marriage or domestic partnership.  Once the divorce is final you are legally single again.

When filing for divorce in California you do not have to provide a reason for the divorce other than “irreconcilable differences.”  This is because California is considered a no fault state, meaning there is no guilty or non-guilty party for the dissolution of the marriage in the eyes of the superior court.

To obtain a divorce in California, the entire process will take a minimum of six months from the time the person who filed the divorce officially serves the other party.  The superior court can take much longer than six months to grant a divorce. However, the superior court will never grant a divorce in less than six months because California has a mandatory waiting period of six months. This means regardless of how quickly all of the paperwork is turned into the superior court there must be a mandatory six month waiting period before the divorce can be granted.

There are four steps to filing your divorce case:

  1. Fill out your paperwork
  2. File your forms with the superior court
  3. Serve the newly filed superior court forms on your spouse or domestic partner
  4. Within 60 days of filing your divorce case, file and serve your personal financial disclosure forms.  The point of this disclosure is to list all assets, everything you and your spouse own or owe so these things can be divided equally between spouses.  It also provides financial information to help determine child support and spousal support.

In California there are two types of divorce, contested and uncontested.  Once a person has been served with divorce paperwork that person has 30 days to respond.

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Luis Castro is the President of Superior Court Docs . Visit today for a free consultation and preparation of your legal paperwork.

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