26 Jun Is There Anything Different About an Orange County Divorce?
All divorce proceedings in Orange County follow Californian law, so in practice there is nothing about going through a divorce in Orange County that makes it any different from having a divorce anywhere else in California. The only unique aspect of an Orange County divorce is that you need to have spent time living in the county before the divorce.
If you have moved to California from another state, but you are going through a marriage breakdown, or you are considering separating from your partner, you will need to become acquainted with California’s Family Law as it applies to divorce and legal separation. The more property you and your spouse own and the more children you share between you, the more important it is to understand how divorce works in California. The best way to do this if you live anywhere in Orange County is to seek authoritative and empathetic advice from an Orange County Lawyer.
The residency requirement in Orange County
To be officially “divorced” in California, i.e. to end a marriage, or have a “dissolution” of your marriage, you need to obtain a judgment to that effect from a California Family Court. To start the ball rolling, you will need to show that you have lived in California for at least the last 6 months and specifically in Orange County for the last 3 months. If you cannot satisfy the residency requirement, you may have to seek a divorce wherever you were living during that time.
California is a no-fault divorce state
All states have some form of no-fault status for divorce, but only some are pure no-fault states. Before 1970, to get a divorce in California, the person filing for divorce had to give some reason, e.g. adultery or cruelty, for ending the marriage. However, since that date, California became the first of currently 17 states that have pure no-fault divorce rules. Basically, you can end a marriage just by requesting it. You do not have to provide a reason.
Divorce paperwork in Orange County
Having a divorce is not just a stressful experience emotionally. It can also be expensive. Even if you don’t use a lawyer, you will need to pay a filing fee at the Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange County where the family law clerk receives the forms you will need to fill in. The Justice Center is part of the Orange County Superior Court which is responsible for making decisions about family law cases. These forms are:
- Form FL-100 – the Petition for Divorce;
- Form FL 110 – the Summons;
- Form L1120 – the Family Law Declaration; and if you and your spouse have children:
- Form FL-105 – a Declaration concerning child custody
The clerk makes copies of these forms and provides you with the copies as well as retaining the originals for court records. You will need the copies to serve your spouse with the divorce. This is basically an official way of letting your spouse know that you intend to apply for a divorce through the court.
Serving your spouse
This is when you present the copies of your divorce forms (the petition) personally to your spouse. You cannot do this yourself. You have to have a representative, such as a family member or a friend, to serve the forms. They cannot be emailed or mailed. Someone actually has to hand the forms in person to your spouse. Your representative not only provides the copies of the forms you gave to the legal justice clerk but an addition one, FL-120, which is a blank form and used by the spouse in response, if he/ she chooses to do so.
Once this has been done, another form, FL-115, is completed by the representative and filed with the court. This is an acknowledgement that the summons has been served at a place, date and time recorded.
After the papers have been officially been handed over, you have 30 days to wait before anything else happens. If your spouse decides not to contest the divorce, you can then go ahead with the divorce.
Why you might need a divorce attorney
Despite the fact that divorces seem straightforward in Orange County, it is not the administrative part of it which presents potential difficulties. It is when a divorce is contested, or when property division, child custody, spousal support and child support are all problematic that you may need legal advice and help with coming to a reasonable and sensible agreement.
Contact a divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Damian Nolan to discuss your impending divorce. You can reach his office in Orange County, California at 562-634-1115.