If you need to know more about how the California divorce process works, here are the general steps that a divorce would follow.

1. Paperwork 

All California courts will use and accept the same set of divorce forms, while some might have additional forms for you to complete based on the area where you live. Be certain of the accuracy of the information you provide, and if you have a lawyer, seek their guidance in this process. The spouse who seeks the divorce, is known as the petitioner.

2. Serving 

The divorce process only becomes official once the non-filing spouse (respondent) has been served with a copy of the divorce papers, which will give them the opportunity to respond. An individual who is older than 18 has to serve your spouse and must sign a Proof of Service of Summons and file it with the court.

3. Response 

Your spouse will have 30 days to respond to the divorce papers, and this will determine whether the matter will be contested or uncontested. If they fail to respond, your divorce will be regarded as a default, and the petitioner will be granted the divorce with their proposed terms.

4. Negotiations 

Spouses will have to find common ground on matters such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and the division of assets. If they are not able to come to an agreement, they might have to resolve matters through mediation or arbitration.

5. Litigation 

In the event that negotiations were not successful, a family law judge will hear arguments from both parties in court. This process does, however, mean that the court’s decision will be final and that both spouses will have to comply with the outcome. 

6. Outcome 

For the divorce process to come to an end in California two conditions must be met. First it must satisfy a waiting period of at least six months from the time of the service of the initial summons. Additionally, the terms of the divorce need to have been negotiated and finalized. Once both of these requirements are met, an Order of Dissolution will be signed by a judge to terminate the marriage. Remember that once your divorce has been finalized, if you need any modifications made to the terms of your divorce, you are able to file a request with the court. 

Contact Westover Law Group today to have a Certified Family Law Specialist guide you through the California divorce process.