What Is Most Important In The Early Stages Of Divorce?
Listen to our podcast by one of our most experienced divorce lawyers, and founding attorney Marilyn Moreno to learn about the most important things you need to do immediately if you are thinking about filing for divorce.
Divorce in San Jose, California
The California divorce process can seem complicated and overwhelming. Knowing the road in front of you and having an experienced attorney by your side can make this time of your life less stressful. Below are the basic steps to getting a divorce in San Jose, California.
Filing for Divorce
To file for divorce in San Jose, California, either you or your spouse must have lived in California for six months and in Santa Clara County for three months.
The Summons contains important information about the divorce process. It includes standard restraining orders limiting what you and your spouse can do with your property and prevents you or spouse from removing your children from California.
If you and your spouse have children together under the age of 18, you will also have to file a Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.
You must file the papers at the Santa Clara Family Justice Center Courthouse located at 201 N. First Street, San Jose, CA. Unless you apply for a fee waiver and the court grants your request, you must pay a filing fee.
Serving Your Spouse
After filing, you must serve your spouse by giving them copies of the documents you filed in court and a Response Form. Service puts your spouse on notice that you filed the divorce. You cannot serve your own divorce papers. You must have an adult 18 or older serve the papers. This person could be the county sheriff, a process server, a relative, or a friend.
Responding to the Filing
If you are the spouse that was served, you have 30 days to respond. The Response allows you to either agree or disagree with the information in the petition. The respondent must file the Response at the Santa Clara Family Courthouse and pay the required filing fee, unless you are granted a fee waiver.
Getting a divorce in California takes a minimum of six months. Because the process takes time, parties can request temporary orders. The judge will hold a hearing to decide whether or not to grant the request for a temporary order. There are many different temporary orders that you can request, including:
- Child custody and visitation,
- Child support,
- Spousal support,
- Property control orders, and
- Attorney fees.
The temporary order will stay in place until there is a final judgment.
Under California law, you are required to complete financial disclosures that give your spouse information about the property you own, your debt and liabilities, and your income and expenses. The point of the financial disclosures is to ensure that determinations regarding property division, child support, and spousal support are done accurately and fairly.
There are multiple forms that must be completed in a very specific way. Leaving out information on the forms or filling them out incorrectly can result in serious repercussions.
Discovery is the legal process of getting relevant information from your spouse. Discovery can take different forms:
- Asking your spouse to produce documents,
- Asking your spouse to answer questions,
- Asking your spouse to admit or deny statements, and
- Deposing your spouse.
You also have the option to make requests on third parties through subpoenas. Whether or not you should engage in discovery and what discovery you should seek is unique to every case.
To settle your divorce case means that you and your spouse have come to an agreement on every single issue (property division, child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, and attorney fees). Through settlement, you and your spouse, not the judge, have control of the outcome and you will save the time and expense of going through a trial. However, you should not settle for the sake of settlement and make compromises that you cannot live with.
Even if you cannot come to a complete settlement, you should still try to come to an agreement on as many issues as possible.
If you are unable to settle your case, it will go to a trial. At the trial, both parties will be able to present evidence, including testimony. At the end of the trial, the judge will make a final judgment.
Typically, trials place at the Santa Clara County Family Courthouse. However, if the court determines that the trial will exceed two days, then it will be referred to the Superior Courthouse of Santa Clara County, Civil Division.
Your San Jose Divorce Attorney
Every divorce is unique. Above is a basic outline of the typical process, but it is critical to speak to an experienced attorney about your specific situation. Throughout the divorce process, you are making major decisions that will affect your entire future and the future of your children. The attorneys at Moreno Family Law Firm are here to help you through this time of your life. Call Moreno Family Law Firm today at 408-266-9011 for a consultation.