Divorce isn’t an easy process. In addition to the emotional stress that comes with the experience, there are also a number of details that need to be worked out. Although it’s always recommended that you work with a divorce attorney in Los Angeles, there’s much more involved than simply hiring a lawyer.
Before any paperwork is filed, you need to be certain that you have grounds for divorce. In California, grounds for divorce include irreconcilable differences and incurable insanity. Obviously, irreconcilable differences are the most common grounds for divorce. For irreconcilable differences, one party states that the marriage is irretrievable and that he or she refuses to reconcile.
You must file a divorce petition and serve your spouse with the petition. After being served, your spouse has 30 days to respond. If there is no response, the divorce can move forward without their presence or participation. Without a response, you still need to file court orders regarding custody, support, the division of property, and anything else that might be deemed to be appropriate to the divorce proceedings.
If a response is filed in time, you and your spouse must exchange information. This information includes income, property, and all information that’s considered to be relevant for the divorce. This process of sharing information is referred to as discovery. You are never required to reveal details that aren’t relevant to the divorce. Speak with your attorney if you have any questions about what is or isn’t considered relevant.
After discovery, you and your spouse may resolve your agreements together or with the aid of lawyers. Divorces are often emotional and discussions can sometimes get heated. For many people, they simply feel safer and more confident when their attorney is present. If you cannot come to an agreement you and your spouse will need to take additional steps.
A marriage settlement conference is used to establish an agreement outside of court. Divorces that are largely amicable may save time by using the conference to finalize any details that are needed. Often those specifics involve custody, alimony, child support, and other specifics that require hard numbers. Property is frequently discussed and settled upon as well. If you can’t come to a point of agreement with the conference, you and your spouse will have to go to court instead.
When a divorce goes to trial, it’s usually due to disagreements regarding custody or other issues. Before the trial, a Request for Order may be filed. Sometimes there are specific factors such as domestic violence, child abuse, or restraining orders. At the trial, your lawyer will present your case and provide any evidence to support it. Your attorney will do everything in her power to help you receive the outcome that you desire. At the trial, the court will make an Order. The details of that judgment may or may not be in your favor.
Life and circumstances often change. If the original court order is no longer appropriate, you may seek out a new order by filing for a post-judgment modification. Be sure to consult your lawyer beforehand.
The steps to file a divorce in Los Angeles are fairly straightforward, but that doesn’t make it an easy process. Be sure to contact Teresa Beyers if you have any legal questions or require representation.