Divorce Representation in San Diego County
Steps to File for Divorce in California
Divorce can be one of the most stressful and emotionally charged times of your life, but Beringer Law Firm strives to ease your burden with compassionate support and guidance. We put our knowledge of California law on your side to help secure a favorable resolution for your divorce. Whether we are advocating on your behalf in the courtroom or ensuring all paperwork is completed correctly, you will have step-by-step counsel throughout the process.
At Beringer Law, we provide representation for the following types of divorce:
- Dissolution of a domestic partnership
- Contested divorce
- Uncontested divorce
- Military divorce
Beringer Law Firm has over two decades of combined experience aiding families in overcoming the challenges in their divorces. We can also handle associated issues such as child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, and post-divorce modifications, among others.
Requirements to File for Divorce in California
To file for dissolution (divorce) in California, you must be a resident of the state for at least six months prior to filing your petition for divorce. You must also be a resident of the county in which you are filing for at least three months prior to filing your petition for divorce.
How Long Does it Take to Obtain a Divorce in CA?
It depends. The court will not terminate your marriage for at least six months after the responding party is properly served with the petition or acknowledges receipt of the petition for dissolution. In some cases, it is possible to obtain a judgment on all issues in less than six months and to have the marriage terminated without returning back to court once the six-month requirement has been met. In other cases, it may take longer than six months depending on the complexity of the issues in the case and the level of cooperation between the parties.
Can I Prevent My Spouse From Obtaining a Divorce?
Unfortunately, even if you do not want to proceed with a divorce, your spouse is entitled to obtain one with or without your cooperation. Refusing to cooperate or intentionally delaying the proceedings will only increase the stress and costs associated with a divorce action and may even subject you to sanctions.
Grounds for Divorce in California
While many states have both no-fault and fault divorce options available, California is a pure “no-fault” divorce state. This means that faults are not used in the courts to determine the divorce or matters pertaining to the divorce such as property division, support, custody, etc.
In order for a couple to file for divorce in California, one or both spouses must simply claim “irreconcilable differences” which have caused the marriage to breakdown beyond repair. No proof is required for this even if the spouses disagree.
An additional reason to file for divorce in California is “incurable insanity” per California Family Code Section 2310. While this reason is not used often due to a high burden of proof, it is an option.
How Long Must You Live in CA to be Eligible to Divorce?
Yes, in California, one of the spouses must be a state resident for at least six months before the couple can file for divorce. Furthermore, one of the spouses must have established residence for at least three months in the county where the divorce is going to be filed.
What Happens if You Do Not Respond After Being Served for Divorce?
You have 30 days from the date of service to file your response. If you do not file and serve your response in a timely manner, the other party may proceed by a “default” proceeding. If the court enters a default against you, you will be precluded from participating in the proceedings. Only in limited circumstances will the court consider setting aside the default.
Legal Separation vs. Divorce
The process is generally the same. In a legal separation case, the court still has jurisdiction to make orders for custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and to divide property and debts, but the court will not terminate the marriage. Unlike divorce, both parties must agree to proceed as a legal separation. You may want to consider filing for a legal separation if you do not wish to terminate the marriage for religious reasons or if medical insurance coverage is a consideration. If you choose to proceed with dissolution, the marital status will be terminated at some point during the proceedings or at the time of judgment.
Alternatives to Divorce
In some instances, a divorce might not be the right option for the situation. California law recognizes annulment and legal separation as two ways to end a marriage without the need for divorce. Depending on the unique circumstances, we can provide astute guidance on the next possible steps.
Your options for ending a marriage aside from divorce include:
- Annulment: An annulment means that the marriage was never legally valid, typically due to fraud, force, physical incapacity, existing marriage, the age when married, or unsound mind.
- Legal separation: Legal separation allows a couple to live separately but remain married. Aside from the inability to marry or enter into a domestic partnership, a legal separation is handled similarly to a divorce.
Count On Beringer Law Firm
At Beringer Law, we strive to make the divorce process as easy as possible for you. We have represented families through every step of a divorce, from the first complimentary consultation through the completion of contested litigation. Our seasoned attorneys have experience handling divorce, annulments, legal separations, and all associated elements, including child support and property division. We strive to provide positive resolutions in a cost-effective manner.
To learn more, visit our FAQs page.