The Steps Of A Divorce

There are generally four steps involved in a divorce.


The First Step:
Step one in preparing for a divorce is the preparation of the initial pleadings such as:
(1) Summons
(2) Petition
(3) Order to Show Cause pleadings for the purpose of requesting relief at the first hearing
(4) Temporary Restraining Orders
(5) Declarations
(6) Income and Expense Declaration, Schedule of Assets and Debts and Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure
(7) Response to any pleadings served by the opposing party.

Following our first meeting, we generally prepare all the necessary paperwork in order to initiate the divorce. These pleadings are then filed and served on the other party. The purpose of the service "starts the clock ticking." Once the pleadings are served upon the other party, the final Judgment of Dissolution can be granted, at the earliest, six (6) months from the date of service. In the event you have been served with divorce papers, we will prepare a response on your behalf.

The Second Step:
If necessary, the next step is the Order to Show Cause to request interim orders which may include the following:
(1) Child and Spousal Support
(2) Child Custody and Visitation
(3) Restraining Orders
(4) Exclusive use of the family residence, vehicles, etc.
(5) Joinder of any pension plans
(6) Request for attorney fees and costs

The Third Step:
The third step involved in a divorce is the discovery phase. This may include the use of interrogatories (written questions and answers), a demand for production of documents and possibly depositions.

The purpose of discovery is to gather any and all information, which may be relevant to the resolution of the case.

We hope to avoid many of the procedures described above by obtaining a settlement early in the proceedings. The settlement agreement essentially indicates which assets will be allocated to the wife, and which assets will be allocated to the husband. It will also address custody and support, visitation (if there are minor children), pensions and all other matters.

In order to facilitate a settlement, the court will usually set a case for a Mandatory Settlement Conference when discovery is complete. If the matter cannot be resolved by settlement, the matter will proceed to the fourth step, which is trial.

The Fourth Step:
If your case does not settle, the court will set a trial date at the Mandatory Settlement Conference if the Judge believes the case is ready to proceed to trial.

Free Family Law Consultation

Call 661-520-5214 or e-mail our law office to arrange a free consultation with a California family law attorney.