08 May A 7-Step Guide To Filing For Divorce In California
Unfortunately, when some people are married it does not last forever. If there are significant issues with the union, it may be beneficial to file for divorce. Every state has its own process and it is essential to research this prior to getting started. Here is a simple guide created for those who live in California.
- Make sure that you meet residency requirements.
If you have not lived in the state for six months and the county where you plan to file for at least three months, you are not eligible. Those who meet the requirements have to work on gathering all of their paperwork at this point. There are numerous documents that will be necessary in order to proceed.
2. Gather all of your documents.
Here is an overview of what you should compile:
- Income statements
- Property deeds
- Statements from creditors
- Mortgage paperwork
- Pay stubs
- Tax forms
- Vehicle titles
- Proof of insurance coverage
- Utility bills
- Identifying information for your spouse (SSN and Driver’s License number)
If you are missing any of this when filing, it will slow down the process, so work on getting all of this together as soon as you are certain you want to file.
3. File your paperwork
This can be done in one of two ways, depending on the county you live in. It is possible to do this on the Web in some places, but others require a visit to the local courthouse.
The forms are not universal: Some of them consist of a series of boxes that need to be checked, while others have spaces where you have to complete a written narrative. It is a good idea to go to a lawyer and have them assist you with this so there is no chance of making a mistake.
The fee for filing this paperwork with the courts is $435 in most counties.
4. Figure out whether you will need temporary spousal or child support.
In cases where people are financially taken care of by their spouses, it is possible to request financial assistance while navigating the process. There are several forms that will need to be completed. Avoid doing this is you are the main breadwinner in the home since it is not likely you will get support and this process will add extra steps.
5. Notify your spouse.
You will need to let the person you are divorcing know that you are intending to file. At this point, they can sign forms verifying that they are aware of this. If they are not willing to do that, you can do one of two things. You can have them served at their home or work location or you can have a legal notice printed in the local paper. The latter is the method that is typically used when you are not sure where someone is located but you need to make them aware of your intent.
6. Attend all hearings.
At least one hearing will be scheduled and it is important that you attend as directed. Dragging your feet and asking for more time is a great way to upset the presiding judge and have them make rulings that favor your spouse. If any additional documents are requested from you, make sure that you bring them with you the day you are scheduled to appear.
At your final hearing, the judge will sign a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. This will make the divorce final.
7. Wait for the judgment.
There is a 6-month waiting period between the time you filed for divorce and the day when your divorce becomes final. Once the entire case has concluded, you and your spouse will receive a copy of the decree in the mail. This document is certified and legally binding.
When most people get married, the thought of the union ending is never considered a possibility. With that said, there are many who figure out later that being married is no longer in their best interest. If you are trying to decide if moving forward with a divorce is the right thing to do, consider everything you were told here. This will help prepare you well for the road that lies ahead.