A typical dissolution of marriage requires the following steps: The Summons and Petition (Family Law) is filed and personally served on the other party (the “Respondent”) in the appropriate County (venue of California). The Respondent then has thirty days to file a Response (Family Law). There are typically no advantages in the eyes of the court as to which party is the Petitioner or Respondent.
One of the parties to the dissolution will usually request temporary court orders by filing for a Request for Order (RFO) hearing. At this hearing, the judge can make temporary orders on any issues in the case, such as: child custody, child and/or spousal support, attorney fees, and restraining orders (as appropriate), just to name a few.
The parties may also engage in discovery, which is the process by which parties exchange information and documents that are relevant to the case. One of the required aspects of discovery is the preparation of the Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure. This is a collection of court forms on which each party lists their income, expenses, and community and separate property assets and debts. Other forms of discovery include interrogatories (written questions), demands for production of documents, and depositions (oral examination under penalty of perjury).
After discovery is completed and the mandatory financial disclosures are exchanged, the parties and their attorneys (if they are represented) may discuss settlement of the case. If the case is resolved by agreement, one of the attorneys will prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement or Stipulated Judgment which will contain all of the terms of the agreement. This is a contract that is signed by the spouses and their attorneys, and eventually approved by the court when it becomes and enforceable order.
If the parties are not able to agree on all of the issues in the case, a trial will take place on some or all issues. If the parties sign a Marital Settlement Agreement, one of the attorneys will then prepare a Stipulated Judgment that contains all of the terms of the Marital Settlement Agreement to be signed by the judge. If the parties proceed to trial, once the trial has concluded, one of the attorneys will prepare a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage based upon the court’s rulings. The Judgment will contain all of the court’s findings rulings and decisions. The Judgment will then be filed and signed by the judge, and the court will mail a Notice of Entry of Judgment to each attorney. Call the Law Offices of William P. Glavin to schedule a comprehensive consultation and analysis of your divorce case and how best to resolve your case efficiently and expeditiously.