Divorce Chronology in California

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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What Are Grounds for a California Divorce?

Before spouses can file for divorce in California, at least one spouse must live in the state for six months, and in the county where they are filing for three months. Every divorce case requires the filing of a family law summons and a petition for dissolution of marriage.

California offers two kinds of petitions for dissolution:

After the Filing of the Petition

No California divorce can be final until at least six months from the time the petition is served and the issues have been agreed to (division of property, debt, support payments and parenting arrangement). Ultimately, these decisions must be in writing and filed with the court. A divorce is final when a judge has signed a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, which becomes an order of the court.  

Do I Need an Attorney If I Want a Divorce?

In California you can file for a divorce without a lawyer. However, an experienced family attorney can advise whether you should file a Regular Dissolution rather than a Summary Dissolution, based on your circumstances. Plus, your attorney can review the marital settlement agreement to ensure that your interests will be protected and cannot be challenged later nor misrepresented.

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Last Modified: 12-31-2013 02:38 PM PST

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