Hi! I’m Anna Maples, attorney with the Family Advocacy Center.  Today, I want to talk about divorce in California.

Before you can file for divorce in California, you have to live in California for at least six months and in your county for at least three months.  You also would need to know your date of marriage and date of separation.

Before filing for petition for divorce with the court, think if you want to ask immediate orders from the court.  Examples of such immediate orders would be child custody and visitation determination, child support, temporary spouse support, exclusive use of family residence and other orders.

Once you’re ready to file, bring your paperwork to the local family court and pay the court fees.

The next step is to serve your spouse.  It has to be done personally not by mail and by an individual who’s over the age of 18 and not you.  Once your spouse is served, he or she has 30 calendar days to respond to your petition.

While you’re waiting for your spouse’s response, you can also see if you can counter any agreement as to the issues in your divorce.  If you and your spouse can come to a mutual agreement regarding issues in your case, you can submit what is known as marital settlement agreement to the court.  This will become your official order.

If you and your spouse cannot agree to one or more issues in your case, you will have to go to court in order to resolve the matter.

In California, you have to wait, six months and one day from the date your spouse has been served in order to be considered of single status.  However, you can be proactive and decide all issues in the case during the six months period.

Remember, those issues can be decided amicably by agreement or through the court.  Either way, you have to be proactive in order to finalize your divorce in California. You will not be automatically divorced by the court after six months and one day period will lapse.

Remember, divorce can be a complex processes dependent on the amount of issues present.  These issues can include children, finances, debts, assets, businesses, etc.

At the Family Advocacy Center, we help people resolve legal issues associated with divorce in California.