Getting divorced in Orange County, California can be a complicated process. Understanding the steps involved and preparing for each one can make the process smoother. Here is an overview of the divorce process in Orange County, California:
- Determine eligibility for divorce: To get divorced in California, at least one spouse must have lived in the state for six months and in the county where the divorce will be filed for three months.
- File a petition: One spouse must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Orange County Superior Court. The petition must be served on the other spouse, who then has 30 days to respond.
- Obtain temporary orders if necessary. Courts can make temporary orders to address immediate concerns while the case is ongoing. Common types of temporary orders include child/spousal support, custody, and control over certain assets.
- Consider alternative dispute resolution: Before a divorce goes to trial, the Court might require the parties to attend mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution. The goal is to resolve issues without the need for a trial. Any time custody is litigated, the parties much first attempt to resolve the custody issues with the assistance of a Court-connected professional.
- Financial disclosure: Both spouses must complete and exchange financial disclosures, including a Schedule of Assets and Debts and a Declaration of Income and Expenses. This is important in order to divide property and assets fairly.
- Conduct additional discovery if appropriate: Each spouse may request that the other spouse (or third parties) provide additional documents and information through discovery. Types of discovery include: depositions, requests for production of documents, interrogatories, and requests for admission.
- Negotiate a settlement: The parties can negotiate a settlement agreement, which is a written agreement that resolves all the issues in the divorce. If a settlement is reached, the terms must be approved by the court and incorporated into a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.
- Go to trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial. The court will make a decision on all issues, including property division, spousal support, and child custody.
- Finalize the divorce: Once the court has made a decision, the divorce can be finalized. The Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage must be signed by the judge and entered into the court record.
It is important to keep in mind that the divorce process in Orange County, California can take several months or even years, depending on the complexity of the case and whether a settlement can be reached. It is also important to have the right support and resources to help you through the process.
You may want to consider hiring a family law attorney to represent you in your divorce case. An attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations under California law, negotiate a settlement agreement, and represent you in court if necessary.
In addition, you may also want to consider seeking the help of a financial advisor or therapist to help you manage your finances and emotions during the divorce process.
Finally, it is important to be patient and to stay focused on your goals throughout the divorce process. This can be a challenging time, but with the right support and preparation, you can successfully navigate the process and move on to the next chapter of your life.
In conclusion, getting divorced in Orange County, California can be a complex process, but understanding the steps involved and having the right support can make it easier. If you are considering a divorce, take the time to educate yourself and seek the help of professionals to ensure that your rights are protected and that the process goes as smoothly as possible.