Divorce Process General Guidelines
The divorce process does not lend itself to a ‘step by step’ analysis. Each divorce is different because the factual situation is rarely the same.
While many divorces have common issues, there are many different laws that may or may not apply to each individual case. This is why attorneys are at times a necessity in divorce cases.
California State divorce law recognizes that each person has the right to proceed in a divorce action with or without an attorney.
Obviously there are times when one may wish to proceed in a court action with an attorney by their side. Examples – you and your spouse do not agree on the best interest of the children, your community property has significant value, you require immediate support but your spouse does not agree, etc. Mr. Lamar can assist you with the mediation process, paternity, custody, visitation, child support, wage assignment, spousal support, restraining orders, division of property, pension, retirements, and Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO).
On the other hand, there are cases which can be filed without an attorney. In Pro Per is a Latin phrase meaning “for one’s self” and is when a person acts as their own attorney in a legal matter. Cases filed In Pro Per may be resolved without an attorney which can avoid the high cost of litigation associated with an attorney.
A Divorce/Legal Separation starts with a Petition and other documents required by local court rules. These initial papers are filed with the local Superior Court. The court also requires an initial filing fee (unless the party qualifies for a State Fee Waiver).
Once your case is filed, your spouse must be properly served with the required papers. At that point, the case is ready to be contested (if the other party disagrees) or concluded (if both parties agree on the terms). If the other party refuses to respond or participate in the action, you may conclude the action by Default.
Be advised that a case can take many other legal steps between the beginning filing and the ending (Judgment). This is because it takes two to agree, but only one to fight.