divorce papers and wedding rings

How To File For Divorce

You’ve made the decision to end your marriage, but now what? What steps do you take? Where do you begin? Our Roseville divorce attorneys explain the divorce process below.

Preparing for Your Case:

After you’ve decided to get divorced, the first thing you will need to do is make sure that you meet California’s divorce requirements. The state requires that either you or your spouse must have lived in California for six months and in the county where you are filing for divorce for at least three months. If you don’t meet this qualification, you can file for a legal separation until you do meet the residency requirement.

However, there is one exception. If a same-sex couple was married in California, but do not live in California and live in a state that doesn’t allow the dissolution of same-sex marriages, they can file to end the marriage in California, regardless of the residency requirement.

Filing for Divorce:

Step 1

If you meet the residency requirements, you are ready to start the divorce process. The first thing you’ll need to do is fill out your court forms.

The forms that the petitioner, or the one starting the case, will need to file the following:

  • Petition -- Marriage/Domestic Partnership: This form states necessary details of the marriage, and what orders you want the court to make.
  • Summons: This form contains information about the divorce process.
  • Property Declaration: If you need more room to list your property and debts, this form is used.
  • Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA): This form is filled out if you have minor children.
  • Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application Attachment: This I an optional form for detailed custody and visitation orders.

After these forms are filled out, you should make copies of all of them — one for your records, one for your spouse, and one for the court.

Step 2

The forms will need to be turned in to the court clerk, who will then file them if there are no apparent errors. When this is done, you will need to pay a filing fee. You may simultaneously file a motion, asking the judge to make a temporary order for child or spousal support, bill payment, or protection from domestic violence. If you need temporary orders, it is in your best interest to hire a family lawyer to assist you.

Step 3

At this time, you will need to have your spouse served with the divorce papers. For the divorce process to begin, your spouse must be informed about your plans for divorce. The judge will not make any orders or judgments in your case until your spouse has been properly “served.”

Step 4

The last thing needed to get a divorce is to file financial disclosures. These can be provided at the same time as your petition. However, if you did not submit this paperwork at that time, you need to do so no later than 60 days after you filed your petition. The financial disclosure forms allow each spouse to let the other one know about their income, expenses, and debts, and property. Written disclosure is required in California. If either spouse fails to disclose and exchange this information, they will not be able to get divorced and there can be significant court-imposed sanctions.

A Divorce Lawyer Can Help

It’s important to remember that anything you write on your court papers, can affect the outcome of your case. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you fill these out accurately and completely. At Cecil Cianci Law, PC, our Roseville divorce attorneys understand family law and can guide you through each step of the divorce process.

Contact Cecil Cianci Law, PC, today at (916) 675-3866 to get started on your divorce case.

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