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What Steps to Take When Getting a Divorce

For a spouse who’s considering divorce, you are not only facing difficult emotional and relational questions, but you are also entering into what is probably unknown and uncharted legal territory. Unless you or someone very close to you has been through a divorce before, you probably don’t know what to expect in the California divorce process. Below are the major steps you should be prepared to take when getting a divorce in California.

Decide Whether Pursuing a Divorce is Right For You

This decision is one that no attorney can or should make for you. A family law attorney can certainly provide you with as much information as possible with regard to the legal and financial ramifications of a divorce (including division of property, spousal support, child support, and custody issues) which may affect your decision to pursue a divorce, but only you can make that decision with the help and advice of your family, friends, advisors, and community.

That said, making the decision to pursue a divorce can be a long and complicated step, and speaking with a family law attorney about what your life might look like following a divorce can be very useful in making that determination and in no way commits you to going forward with any further steps.

Determine Whether to Work with a Family Law Attorney

As with any legal matter, you can make the decision to represent yourself in a divorce matter, but doing so comes with many risks. Without knowing what rights and responsibilities you have under California law, you may well be blindsided by court orders and opposing lawyers that carry financial implications far outweighing the cost of an attorney, and that can last for years and may be irreversible. Furthermore, an experienced family law attorney will work to make sure that your rights are fully protected under California law and that all relevant paperwork is correctly and promptly filed in order to get you the results you are seeking as quickly and fairly as possible.

File the Necessary Documents to Initiate Your Divorce

California requires that certain forms be filed with the family law court and that the forms be properly served on the other spouse to begin your divorce (or the other spouse may initiate this process). California courts will not grant a divorce until at least six months after these initial documents are properly filed and served.

Gauge Whether You and Your Spouse Can Agree on Matters

If you can reach an agreement with your spouse regarding division of property (including real estate, investments, and all other property), the amount and duration of spousal support, the amount and duration of child support, and child custody, then your divorce can proceed uncontested, which should save you time and money and foster a more amicable relationship between the spouses following the divorce. Agreement may not be immediate, and both spouses are encouraged to consult with legal advisers who can advise the parties on what they can and should expect under California law. Often working with family law attorneys can foster agreement and save money because neither party will be working under a misconception about the law which causes them to refuse to compromise.

Declare Income, Expenses, Assets, Etc.

Regardless of whether the parties are proceeding in a contested or uncontested divorce, they will need to declare their income, expenses, and all assets to the court. Both parties should be comprehensive and forthcoming in their declarations, and an experienced family law attorney will make sure that your rights and interests are protected by ensuring that the other spouse is properly presenting his or her financial situation.

Reach Resolution Through Settlement, Mediation, or Trial

In order for a divorce to be finalized in California, the judge will have to either sign off on an agreement reached by the parties and their attorneys or make determinations on all issues through a trial at which evidence is heard. If the parties reach an agreement, the judge will only approve it if it is fair in light of California law. For those couples who are unable to reach an agreement, they may attempt to reach a divorce agreement through mediation, or proceed to trial.

Get Answers to Your Legal Questions on California Divorce

By working with an experienced family law attorney, you can get a better picture of the steps involved with a divorce and whether and when to proceed with pursuing your options. To schedule a consultation on any questions or issues you have relating to divorce in California, contact one of the family law attorneys at Kearney Baker today at 626-768-2945.

For a spouse who’s considering divorce, you are not only facing difficult emotional and relational questions, but you are also entering into what is probably unknown and uncharted legal territory. Unless you or someone very close to you has been through a divorce before, you probably don’t know what to expect in the California divorce process. Below are the major steps you should be prepared to take when getting a divorce in California.

Decide Whether Pursuing a Divorce is Right For You

This decision is one that no attorney can or should make for you. A family law attorney can certainly provide you with as much information as possible with regard to the legal and financial ramifications of a divorce (including division of property, spousal support, child support, and custody issues) which may affect your decision to pursue a divorce, but only you can make that decision with the help and advice of your family, friends, advisors, and community.

That said, making the decision to pursue a divorce can be a long and complicated step, and speaking with a family law attorney about what your life might look like following a divorce can be very useful in making that determination and in no way commits you to going forward with any further steps.

Determine Whether to Work with a Family Law Attorney

As with any legal matter, you can make the decision to represent yourself in a divorce matter, but doing so comes with many risks. Without knowing what rights and responsibilities you have under California law, you may well be blindsided by court orders and opposing lawyers that carry financial implications far outweighing the cost of an attorney, and that can last for years and may be irreversible. Furthermore, an experienced family law attorney will work to make sure that your rights are fully protected under California law and that all relevant paperwork is correctly and promptly filed in order to get you the results you are seeking as quickly and fairly as possible.

File the Necessary Documents to Initiate Your Divorce

California requires that certain forms be filed with the family law court and that the forms be properly served on the other spouse to begin your divorce (or the other spouse may initiate this process). California courts will not grant a divorce until at least six months after these initial documents are properly filed and served.

Gauge Whether You and Your Spouse Can Agree on Matters

If you can reach an agreement with your spouse regarding division of property (including real estate, investments, and all other property), the amount and duration of spousal support, the amount and duration of child support, and child custody, then your divorce can proceed uncontested, which should save you time and money and foster a more amicable relationship between the spouses following the divorce. Agreement may not be immediate, and both spouses are encouraged to consult with legal advisers who can advise the parties on what they can and should expect under California law. Often working with family law attorneys can foster agreement and save money because neither party will be working under a misconception about the law which causes them to refuse to compromise.

Declare Income, Expenses, Assets, Etc.

Regardless of whether the parties are proceeding in a contested or uncontested divorce, they will need to declare their income, expenses, and all assets to the court. Both parties should be comprehensive and forthcoming in their declarations, and an experienced family law attorney will make sure that your rights and interests are protected by ensuring that the other spouse is properly presenting his or her financial situation.

Reach Resolution Through Settlement, Mediation, or Trial

In order for a divorce to be finalized in California, the judge will have to either sign off on an agreement reached by the parties and their attorneys or make determinations on all issues through a trial at which evidence is heard. If the parties reach an agreement, the judge will only approve it if it is fair in light of California law. For those couples who are unable to reach an agreement, they may attempt to reach an agreement through mediation, or proceed to trial.

Get Answers to Your Legal Questions on California Divorce

By working with an experienced family law attorney, you can get a better picture of the steps involved with a divorce and whether and when to proceed with pursuing your options. To schedule a consultation on any questions or issues you have relating to divorce in California, contact the family law attorneys at Kearney Baker today at 626-768-2945.

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