For many people, getting a divorce is their first interaction with the legal system. It is already an emotional situation, so adding in this element of the unknown can increase the stress.
California makes the divorce process as easy as possible, but it does depend on your specific circumstances as to how smoothly the process will go.
Starting the case
If you wish to get a divorce, you must begin by filing your petition with the court. You will file in the county in which you have lived for at least six months. You will have to pay a filing fee and must ensure you use the correct forms. Once you file, you have to serve your spouse with the papers to alert him or her that you are suing for a divorce.
You have the right to file even if your spouse does not want to end the marriage. California has no-fault divorce laws, which means you do not have to prove why you want to divorce.
Clearing up your affairs
The next step in the process is to finalize an agreement between you and your spouse on the division of your joint property and interests. Your affairs will include all assets, debts and matters pertaining to your children.
You must reach an agreement on all matters to finalize the divorce. If you cannot agree, you will go to court where the judge will make the decisions.
Finalizing the divorce
Only a judge can declare your divorce final and your marriage ended. You will have to wait at least six months for the final ruling because the law requires a waiting period.