Ventura County Divorce Lawyers
Board Certified Specialist in Family Law
If you are seeking to end your marriage, you are not alone. At Cutter & Lax Attorneys at Law, we know divorce is a difficult subject to face, especially when children are involved. No matter how long you have been married, ending a relationship presents a number of emotional and legal challenges. For this reason, it is important to hire a compassionate Ventura County divorce attorney who will keep your best interests in mind.
At our firm, we care about our clients and we firmly believe they are the heartbeat of our practice. From helping you navigate complex child custody issues to dividing your properly, we have decades of hands-on experience and will not approach you as if you are just another case number. Instead, our team takes the time necessary to address all the details of your matter while getting to know you and your family in the process. Only then can we help you determine the best course of action and devise a strategy personalized for your success.
Understanding the Divorce Process in California
Divorce is not second nature to most people because it can be so legally confusing. If you are considering filing for a divorce (or have already been served), we understand you likely have a lot of questions.
To help with this, our lawyers have prepared a basic overview of the steps that you will experience in a California divorce:
- The first step to any divorce is deciding which path you are going to take. Contrary to popular belief, divorce is not a one-stop shop for all splitting couples. In fact, you can choose to divorce, legally separate, or even seek an annulment. Other issues you must think about include whether you qualify for summary dissolution, where you should file, and how much the divorce will cost.
- Next, the petitioner is encouraged to work with their spouse to determine whether or not they will be able to reach an amicable resolution. This is commonly known as collaborative divorce and can save the divorcing couple not only the headache of litigation, but also time and money. In some cases, mediation may also be used.
- All forms will then need to be properly filled out. Your Ventura County divorce attorney can ensure you receive all of the necessary paperwork and that it is completed correctly.
- After you and your family lawyer have completed all of the necessary paperwork, it will need to be filed with the proper courthouse. This is completed by visiting the correct courthouse and delivering the paperwork to the court clerk, who will stamp the photocopies as "filed." According to the Judicial Branch of California, the filing fee for the "petition or other first paper (including a joint petition) for dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership, legal separation, or nullity" is $435. If you cannot afford this, you may be able to apply for a fee waiver.
- After paperwork has been filed, the respondent will be hand delivered copies of the court forms by someone who is over 18 years of age and not directly involved in the case. This is a crucial part of the case and is referred to as "service of process." After the respondent has been served, the person who served them is required to fill out a form known as the "proof of service" to verify the respondent received everything. This must be filed with the court clerk by the petitioner.
- The respondent is then given the same choices that the petitioner dealt with in step one - essentially determining how they would like to deal with the divorce they are facing. They can file a response with the court or the court can move forward in making a decision.
- Within 30 days of being served, the respondent needs to file a response with the court clerk. The filing fee for this response is $435. The respondent may apply for a fee waiver.
- Again, a person over 18 who is not involved in the case will be used to deliver these response papers to the original petitioner. A "proof of service" must be filled out by the person who served the copies and then the respondent is required to file them it the court clerk.
- The next step is known as "preliminary declaration of disclosure." This allows both parties to exchange all pertinent documents to show what they own and owe. This is essential when addressing property, asset, and debt division issues.
- The steps that follow will depend on the couple themselves. If they are able to work out all of the related options, the marital status will legally end at least six months after the case was originally filed by the petitioner. If, however, the divorce is contested, it is likely that it will become litigated and you will need to go before a judge to seek a resolution.
Contact Cutter & Lax Attorneys at Law Today
With so much on the line, can you afford to work with second best? You need someone on your side who truly knows family law and can apply it for the benefit of your case. At our firm, you will receive this level of care and compassion.
Don't waste a moment - contact us today!