Divorce is hard on everyone involved, and it’s complicated. There are several steps one must follow when filing for divorce. The first thing you must do is figure out which county you should be filing your case in. This can be done online through the California Courts web page. After you determine the proper county to file there are several steps you must follow.
Step One – Fill Out Your Court Forms
Filing for divorce or legal separation requires you to fill out the same forms. Seeking legal advice on the best way to fill out your forms is always a good idea. What you write on your forms can influence the outcome of a case. Filling the forms out completely and accurately is a must. A lawyer can help you fill out the forms so they best reflect your position. If you feel your spouse or partner may have disagreements about the issues discussed on the forms it’s especially important to seek legal advice. If you decide to fill them out on your own, get them reviewed by a lawyer before you submit them.
Step Two – File Your Forms with the Court Clerk
Turn in your original and copied forms to the court clerk. If the forms are free of error the clerk will take the original forms and return the copies. The copies will receive a stamp that reads “Filed.” You will then need to pay a filing fee. If you are unable to pay the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver. If you need the judge to make temporary orders for protection from domestic violence, child support, or other issues, you’ll need to fill out and file separate forms. A lawyer can help you set up these temporary orders.
Step Three – Serve First Set of Court Forms
It’s required b law to notify your spouse or partner that the legal process for divorces has begun. To do this, you must “serve” your spouse with copies of all your court papers. The judge does not have the power to do anything until your spouse gets served. You will need to find somebody 18 or older, that is not you, to deliver a copy of your papers to your spouse. The person can be a friend, relative, sheriff, or process server.
Step Four – Serve Your Financial Disclosure Forms
You can provide your financial disclosures at the same time as your petition if you’d like, but no later than 60 days after filing your petition. Law requires that both you and your spouse give each other written information about what you own, debts, income, and expenses. The set of forms you’ll need to fill out to do this is called “disclosure.” The point of this is so you and your spouse can divide property and debts equally. It also gives you the information you need to make decisions about child and spousal support. If you do not exchange your disclosures divorce will not be granted by the court. It’s very important you fill these forms out correctly and accurately otherwise you could end up paying more and losing more than you should.
It’s advised you seek the guidance of an experienced attorney when undergoing a divorce case. The time, money, and stress that is alleviated by working with a skilled attorney are well worth it. If you’re thinking about filing for divorce or already have give Torigian Law a call today. We can guarantee the process goes as smoothly as possible. (559) 627 – 5399.