Premier Rancho Cucamonga Divorce Lawyer
Representing Clients in Legal Separation and Property Division Matters
Divorce is a difficult and emotional time for any family. The Law Offices of Soheila Azizi & Associates are proud to come up with unique solutions that work for you and your family, and our attorneys are committed to open, honest communication throughout the process. Whether it’s mediation, alternative dispute resolution, or traditional divorce litigation, our family law attorneys will work with you to come up with the right solution in your situation. Contact the Law Offices of Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C. to speak with one of our California divorce lawyers today. Call (909) 484-9992 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation. We are proud to be your law firm for life.
The California Divorce Process
California is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning one spouse does not have to prove that the other did anything wrong in order to obtain a divorce. Rather, one can obtain a divorce by simply citing “irreconcilable differences” in the marriage.
Many couples seeking divorce want the process to be over quickly so they can move on with a fresh start. But unfortunately, California laws don’t always make that a possibility. There is mandatory waiting period of 6 months before a California divorce can become final. The entire divorce process can take much longer than 6 months, depending on all the factors involved in the divorce, but it cannot take less than 6 months.
There are four main steps to obtaining a divorce or legal separation in the state of California:
- File forms.The person seeking the divorce or legal separation must file two to three forms to start the divorce process, depending on whether or not there are children in the marriage. An experienced family law attorney can help you find and complete these forms, which a court clerk will stamp and return to you when complete.
- Serve the forms. not the person seeking a divorce must serve the other spouse with all the forms. The person serving the forms must be 18 years of age or older, and he or she must file a “Proof of Service of Summons” describing how and when the respondent (the other party in the divorce) received the documents.
- Compile and disclose financial information. Within 60 days of filing the petition for divorce (or at the same time the initial forms are served), the person seeking the divorce must fill out three to four financial documents and collect tax returns filed in the past two years. These financial forms must be served on the respondent, and if the respondent files a response, he or she must also complete the same forms (within 60 days of filing the response). This 60-day time limit can be extended only by court order or written agreement between both parties. Since California is a no-fault divorce state, it is not required that both parties participate in the process; in other words, if the respondent does not serve financial disclosure forms on the petitioner, the petitioner can still proceed with the divorce process.
- Finish the divorce either in or out of court. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce and how each side has responded, things can end in one of four ways. These different solutions are discussed further below.
Litigation vs. Mediation
In the eyes of the state, a California divorce can end in four ways. But when working with the right attorney, there are a multitude of options for settling your divorce, both in and out of court.
The four legal outcomes depend on the actions of both parties and their ability to agree on the terms of the divorce:
- No response and no written agreement: Also known as a “true default case,” this occurs when the respondent (the person who did not file the initial petition) does not file a response and there is no written agreement in place for how to divide assets, child custody, and other considerations. In a true default case, the petitioner waits 30 days after the petition is served and then he or she (with the help of a family law attorney) prepares a proposed judgment. This proposed judgment will include considerations for child custody, child support, alimony/spousal support, and division of property and shared assets. If all the forms are filled out correctly, there is no need for a court appearance and the judge will sign the judgment without either party having to appear.
- No response and a written agreement: Also known as a “default with agreement,” this occurs when the respondent does not respond to the petition within 30 days but there is a prenuptial agreement or other written agreement in place. If this is the case, you will need to make the agreement official (if it is not already), fill out a number of forms, and complete financial disclosures. Just like a true default case, if the forms are filled out correctly, there is usually no need for a court appearance.
- Response and no written agreement: Also known as a “contested divorce,” this occurs when the other spouse filed a response to the petition and there is no written agreement in place for how to proceed. This generally means that both parties do not agree on how to divide property, how to determine custody and visitation, how much spousal support is appropriate, or other issues. (If you are able to agree on certain issues and not others, you can have the agreed-upon issues turned into a written agreement and have the judge decide the rest.) In contested divorce cases, it may be best to pursue mediation or another form of dispute resolution; this allows you to have much more control over the process, save yourself time and money, and not leave important life decisions up to a judge. Most courts require parties in a divorce to attend some sort of settlement conference before the case is taken to trial.
- Response and written agreement: Also known as an “uncontested divorce,” this occurs when the other spouse filed a response to the petition and there is a written agreement in place about the divorce or separation. This is also known as a “stipulated judgment” because both parties can agree to certain aspects of the divorce, which are put into a written agreement called a stipulation. This stipulation, once reviewed by an attorney and notarized, can be presented to a judge for signature, at which time it becomes a legally binding agreement.
If both parties are willing to work together to resolve certain differences, mediation or arbitration may be a better option than traditional divorce litigation. Mediation is a less expensive, less formal, and more amicable alternative to the stress and contention of divorcing in court. Mediation allows divorcing spouses to minimize the friction involved, and it allows both sides to save valuable time and money during the divorce process.
Contact an Experienced San Bernardino Divorce Lawyer
Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C. is proud to be your law firm for life.
No two divorces are the same, and as such, you deserve a unique solution. Our family law firm is proud to use a variety of problem-solving techniques, including mediation, arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution. We are committed to using a variety of communication techniques and problem-solving strategies to work toward a solution that all parties are satisfied with.
But sometimes, there is simply no common ground to be found. Our California family law attorneys have vast experience in traditional divorce litigation, and we are committed to protecting you and your children’s rights. We are prepared to handle your case with respect, compassion, and dedication.
In this difficult and emotional situation, your family deserves an attorney you can count on. The Law Offices of Soheila Azizi & Associates are committed to open, honest communication and keeping you informed of your rights throughout the legal process. For more information about California divorce or to get the process started today, contact the Law Offices of Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C. We pride ourselves on coming up with creative solutions for different family situations, and we are your law firm for life. Call (909) 484-9992 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation today.