DADI Blog

Divorce Process California

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

There are six steps to the divorce process in California.

The first step is filing a complaint or summons.  The purpose of this is to register the request for divorce with the court.  It is up to law enforcement or a private process server to deliver the papers to the defendant.  The filing date of the complaint marks the date the legal separation of the two parties started.  You will need, the date and location where the marriage took place, the legal address of both parties, the names and birth dates of all children born during the marriage.  You also will need the reason for asking for a divorce and a list of claims that support that reason.

You will then have pretrial orders filed.  They are to make clear the immediate future for both spouses including temporary child custody and spousal support.  Pretrial orders are used to resolve any arguments that may arise about living arrangements, care, and visitation of children and finances.  These do not influence of the outcome of the divorce.

The next step is the discovery process.  It’s a legal means for an attorney to uncover important information the client hasn’t been able to get.  The most common of these tools would be a deposition.  This deposition is a statement, in writing about a disputed issue in the pending divorce.  A sanctioned reporter of the court is present so questions and answers can be used as evidence at the time of the hearing or divorce action.

The negotiation step is to resolve all contested issues.  An out-of-court settlement may be reached any time.  Many divorces have issues that are settled out-of-court with the help of mediation and arbitration and supervised by lawyers and the court.

The pretrial hearing is brought before a judge or a panel of mediators.  It’s used to bring up the crucial contested points in the divorce for special attention.  The judge or the panel can give insight and encourage both parties to settle their disagreements out of court.

It’s often during that time both sides see the impact a trial and how it will affect each other and their minor children.  More than one pretrial hearing can take place if both sides reach another sticking point.

The trial is the last step in the divorce process.  The trial is held just as a criminal trial would be held with opening statements, each side stating their case and rebuttals by both parties.  Closing arguments are presented and the court hands down the final judgment or decision.

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