The California Divorce Process
Divorce Lawyers in Los Angeles
When you and your spouse are considering divorce, it is important that you take the time to make yourself aware of your legal rights and how the process works. At Claery & Hammond, LLP our divorce and family attorneys are dedicated to providing you with the legal counsel and representation you need to ensure this transitional period in your life goes as smoothly as possible. Though divorce can often be a highly contested and emotional situation, our solution-oriented attorneys will always work diligently to help protect you and your family.
Contact us for your free consultation.
Grounds for Divorce in California
In the state of California, the grounds for marriage dissolution include the following:
- Irreconcilable differences
- Incurable insanity
As to how long the divorce process takes, there are minimum residency requirements. In other words, you must have been a resident of the state of California for 189 days, or 6 months, in order to file divorce in the state.
How to File for Divorce in California
- First, you must file a divorce petition and then serve your spouse with this petition. After this occurs, the spouse who has been served ("Respondent") has 30 days in which to respond to the petition (this is called a "Response"). If you are the individual who has been served and you fail to respond, the divorce case can go on without your presence or participation. If this were to occur, the original petitioner would then request court orders regarding custody, support (both child and spousal), property division and other aspects of the divorce. There is then a waiting period of six months and one day after the Respondent was originally served.
- If, however, the Respondent does file a response in the appropriate time period, then you and your spouses will exchange information about property, income and other relevant information. This is referred to as "Discovery."
- After this point, you can either resolve your agreements together or with the help of attorneys, or one or both spouses can request that the case go before the court to order certain things before the trial by filing an Order to Show Cause. In this case, each or you will appear in court to discuss your "side" of the issue. Usually cases go to court over child custody, spousal support, child support, domestic violence issues (including restraining orders), and even attorney's fees.
- After Discovery, you and your spouse will be encouraged to settle any matters you can outside of court during a Marital Settlement Conference.
- Then, if all issues are not settled and it is still necessary to get court orders for some or all aspects of the divorce, a trial date is set.
- At the trial, your attorney will present your case and any evidence relating to the case in order to help ensure that you receive the outcome that you desire.
- After hearing both sides, the court will make a judgment.
Making Changes After the Divorce has Been Finalized
As far as finalizing a divorce in California, if circumstances change and the original divorce order is no longer suitable to your life, you can seek a new order by filing for a post-judgment modification. The court may grant a modification to child custody or visitation, child support, or spousal support because of such circumstances as the loss of a job, changes in the child's needs, or a serious illness. If you would like to know if your situation qualifies for a modification, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable attorney at our firm.
Call Claery & Hammond, LLP for a Free Consultation
Founding partner and attorney Lance Claery has years of experience representing clients during divorce proceedings in Southern California. Our firm understands that this is a difficult time for you and your loved ones, and we believe you deserve attentive and effective legal counsel. We would be proud to guide you through the divorce process, and you can be confident that you will receive aggressive advocacy before the courts.