If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, you’re probably wondering whether or not you need a divorce lawyer. In fact, if you have been married for less than five years, have no children and/or assets, then you don’t have to go through a lot of procedures and appearances. However, you will certainly need an experienced family lawyer by your side if your divorce is complicated, involves children, and you have significant assets. Here is how your lawyer can help you get a dissolution of marriage in California and get through this tough time in your life.
The Process for Getting Dissolution of Marriage in California (Briefly)
You Should Meet Residency Requirements: To file for divorce in California, you or your spouse must be a resident of California for at least 6 months and a resident of the county in which the petition is filed for at least 3 months before filing.
File a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: If you meet the residency requirements, you or your spouse can initiate the divorce process by filing the petition for dissolution of marriage.
Notify Your Spouse: If you’ve already prepared and filed your forms, you should serve your divorce documents to your spouse as soon as possible. Your spouse has thirty days to file a response to the petition.
Financial Disclosures: After the petition for dissolution of marriage is filed and served, the attorneys begin the process of disclosing assets. Each spouse must list the community and separate property. They must provide complete information about their income, expenses, assets, and debts. This information will help a judge decide how to divide property, how much child support should be paid, or whether one spouse should receive alimony.
Discussing the Settlement of the Case: After the discovery is complete, the spouses and their attorneys will discuss the settlement of the case. If the case is resolved by agreement, one of the attorneys will prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement, which will include all of the terms of the agreement. If the parties are not able to agree on all of the issues in the case, a trial will take place.
Wait for the Judgment: In California, there is a 6 month waiting period between the time the petition is filed and the time the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is “final’’. Both you and your spouse will be sent a certified copy of the Judgment.
How Divorce Attorneys Help Their Clients
Here are some reasons to consider hiring a divorce lawyer rather than representing yourself in court.
- Failing to hire a divorce lawyer can turn divorce into a long process. A good lawyer will speed up the process and you’ll reach a settlement faster.
- Your divorce attorney can help you file all necessary paperwork in a timely manner and avoid mistakes that can hurt your case.
- Divorce attorneys deal with divorces and other family issues on a daily basis. Thus, they understand divorce laws and what you are entitled to receive by law. A good lawyer will make sure you get the most beneficial terms possible out of your divorce regarding child custody, child support, and asset division.
- Whatever the reason for the split, going through a divorce is extremely stressful. Your divorce attorney will take care of all the work for you so you can focus on resuming your life.
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