California Divorce Steps

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California Divorce Steps regarding Uncontested or Default Divorces

  • The Petitioner must ascertain that the State of California has jurisdiction over the divorce issues in the case and accordingly select the proper court

  • The Petitioner may approach a law firm and allocate them the task of preparing the initial documents that are to be filed in the court

  • After the initial documents are completely filled and signed by the Petitioner, these must be filed with the court clerk

  • The next step is of serving the documents to the Respondent. There are two modes of performing this service

    • The Respondent must be formally served with the documents (Summons and Petition)
    • The Respondent must sign an Acknowledgement of Service to accept the service
  • Irrespective of the mode of Service used, the Respondent may fail to respond to the documents in 30 days. Then, it is considered that the Respondent is in default. The court clerk enters this default on the application

  • After entry of a default, the Respondent cannot appear or respond in the case. The Respondent must vacate the default successfully to participate in the case

  • For the financial disclosures, the following documents are essential

    • The preliminary and final declarations of disclosure
    • Present income and expense declarations
  • The divorcing partners might decide to settle the case by method of agreement. In this method, the divorcing partners must prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement that comprises of the following issues

    • Payment of Attorney Fees and Costs of Suit
    • Division of Community Property Debts
    • Division of Community Property
    • Spousal Support
    • Child Visitation
    • Child Support
    • Child Custody
  • When the court issues of alters a support order, it must be inclusive of an Order or Notice to withhold Income for child support. As per this order, the paying partner's employer must pay the recipient party an amount from the paying partner's salary that is equal to the sum of the following

    • The support amount that is ordered by the court
    • The amount that is essential towards liquidation of any arrearage
  • A Judgment Package of document must be drafted by the Petitioner and submitted in the court. It is not significant whether this document is prepared after hearing of the issues at trial or other party's default or due to agreement with the other party. The Judgment document must comprise of a resolution of the following topics

    • Payment of attorney fees and costs
    • Debt division
    • Property division
    • Spousal support
    • Child support
    • Child custody and visitation
  • Sometimes the Judgment consists of orders that are enforceable by contempt. In this case, it is important that a conformed copy of the Judgment must be served personally to the Respondent and the Petitioner must procure a proof of service of the Judgment. If there is failure in this service, then at a later stage, it might not be possible to enforce a contempt action

  • When the court has issued a family support order that comprises of child support orders or a child support order, then, the divorcing partners must file a "Child Support Case Registry Form" with the court (Form FL-191). This document is filed in the court. The court does not file it in the court file, but is directed to the state

California Divorce Steps regarding Contested Divorces
  • After the complaint has been filed and till the final judgment is entered, if any divorcing partner desires temporary orders to exist, then it is necessary to file an Order to Show Cause. These orders are concerning the following

    • Move-out orders
    • Restraining orders against domestic violence
    • Payment of attorney fees and costs
    • Property possession orders
    • Spousal support orders
    • Child custody, visitation and support orders
  • The divorcing parties might undergo the step of discovery to collect evidence of both sides and present these proofs to the court. This divorce step comprises of motions, subpoenas, depositions and interrogatories

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