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How Does the California Divorce Process Work?

To legally end a marriage and return to being single, you need to go through a specific legal process in the state of California. During the divorce, many important decisions will need to be made that will shape the rest of your life.  How Does the California Divorce Process Work?

An experienced Irvine, CA family law attorney can help with the California divorce process. If you decide you no longer wish to be married, it is a good idea to contact a lawyer as soon as possible for assistance in taking the necessary legal steps to have your marriage dissolved. 

Understanding the California Divorce Process 

The website of the California Courts provides an overview of the California divorce process. Typically, the process begins when one or both of the spouses decide that they want the marriage to end.  One spouse must submit a petition for divorce to the court in the location where either spouse lives. The petition for divorce will typically state irreconcilable differences as grounds for the divorce since most divorces are no fault in California. 

The other spouse who did not file the petition will be served with divorce papers and will be given time to respond. If they do not respond, then the divorce proceedings will proceed without their input and the judge will go on to dissolve the marriage. In most cases, it is strongly advised to respond to a petition for divorce because otherwise you are not given an opportunity to participate in the process of dividing up custody and assets. 

Once the papers are filed, the divorce process will need to proceed with the creation of a divorce settlement agreement. Decisions must be made on how parenting time will be shared, as well as on how property and assets are to be divided. It is always preferable if the couple is able to work together to make all of the relevant decisions about their divorce settlement without having to take the issues to the judge. This can make the California divorce process much less costly, much less time consuming and much less acrimonious. The couple can work together with just the help of their lawyers, or can turn to a mediator or a collaborative divorce coach for assistance in negotiating the divorce settlement. 

If no out-of-court agreement is reached, each of the spouses will be given the opportunity to present evidence to a judge and the judge will make the relevant decisions necessary to end the marriage. There are laws that are applied by a judge during the California divorce process to make decisions on issues including custody; alimony and property division. For example, custody is divided based on what is in the child’s best interests and marital property is divided according to community property rules. An Irvine divorce lawyer can explain how these rules affect your divorce.  

Once a settlement has been reached, the judge will dissolve the marriage and custody and support orders will be entered. The couple will be legally divorced and either spouse is free to go on and remarry.  Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can assist clients throughout every step of the California divorce process, so call today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how an Irvine divorce lawyer can help you.