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The California Divorce Process

Those looking to pursuing a divorce should definitely take a moment to review the steps of the process to help reduce the number of surprises or unexpected events on their behalf. A divorce is rarely straightforward and each case is unique, but there are a few general steps that just about everyone’s case adheres to.

Step 1: Filing a Divorce Petition

The spouse wishing to get a divorce must file a petition with the court, who then assigns a case number to it. You then serve the petition on your spouse. There is also a filing fee to start this process.

Step 2: Responding to the Petition

The spouse who is served the petition must respond using another similar form. Once this form is signed, it is filed with the court, which also requires a filing fee.

Step 3: Request Temporary Orders

Spouses who cannot support themselves or their children during the divorce process may also petition the court for a temporary order for child custody or child/spousal support by filing a “request for order.”

Step 4: Responding to Requests for Order

The spouse who is served the petition for custody or support then responds using the correct forms. They are then served notice of a hearing.

Step 5: Hearing on Request for Temporary Orders

At this hearing, things including protective orders, custody, and preliminary spousal support, including possibly the court ordering the payment of attorney fees, are settled.

Step 6: Declarations of Disclosure

This involves a set of forms in which you declare all of your assets to the court, including community and individually-owned assets, debts, income, and expenses. Be honest here, as hiding assets is not only punishable by law, but held in poor-regard by judges.

Step 7: Formal Discoveries

These are formal requests for information from your spouse, including production of documents, interrogatories, and requests for admissions. All of this information is considered as given “under oath,” meaning any false testimony or information is punishable as perjury.

Step 8: Use of Expert Witnesses

These are not always used, but occasionally one or both spouses, or the court itself may wish to hear the testimony of an expert witness on topics, such as child custody, forensic accounting, real estate appraisal, or a vocational examiner. This will help the court award a more-fair decision on a number of topics.

Step 9: Settling Your Divorce

This is where negotiations for the major topics take place, including child support, alimony, custody, asset distribution, and more. Some couples choose to go the route of mediation, while others require more interference from courts in order to compel them to a resolution.

Step 10: The Divorce Trial

This is where the divorce comes to a completion. You will present your case before the judge and the judge will decide all issues still contested between the parties.

At Fair Cadora, APC, we can help you every step of the way through your divorce case. We have extensive experience representing clients ranging from simple, expedited divorces to highly-contested and litigious cases. We understand that your divorce is a serious event in your life, and we strive to provide all of our clients with highly-personalized service to ensure their continued well-being.

Please call the firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.

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At Fair Cadora, we understand that family law cases can be overwhelming and stressful. The attorney you choose can make or break your case. That’s why we offer case evaluations to all potential clients. We want you to have the chance to connect with us and gain your trust, without added pressure. During a case evaluation, we will review the details of your case and provide you with an honest assessment of your legal options. This allows our clients to make informed decisions about their case. We believe that offering case evaluations is an essential part of our commitment to providing high-quality legal representation to the San Diego community.