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How to File for Divorce in Los Angeles

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We understand that divorce can be a challenging situation. Not only can the divorce be emotionally draining, there is also the mentally stressful concern of how to actually initiate the process. Here we provide some tips for moving forward with the divorce process.

Stay Grounded

The divorce or Dissolution of Marriage process can be very taxing, emotionally, mentally, as well as physically. It is very important to stay grounded in all these aspects of yourself.  I advise my clients to stay active in, or re-embrace their activity with their spirituality or other positive energy support communities. This can include a meditation class, yoga, church/synagogue, running, and reading, etc..

Gather All Legal and Financial Documents

Next you will want to ensure you have all your basic documents relating to your financial status and patterns. The purpose for these documents is to detail each spouse’s financial scenario, from employment, to assets, and monthly expenses. Additional documents, like pay stubs, tax returns, and the like may be needed depending on the advice of your  divorce attorney (should you decide to get one.) This helps everyone understand more about how time, money, or other assets could possibly be divided.

Find Out What Type of Divorce you Want

If you and your spouse agree to terms of the divorce / dissolution of marriage and  have been married less than 5 years and do not have a child, you may file for summary dissolution. This is the quickest method of obtaining a divorce/ dissolution of marriage in California.

If your spouse agrees to all the divorce terms  but your divorce case does not fit the criteria for a summary dissolution of marriage, you may file for Dissolution of Marriage and proceed as an uncontested divorce case.

If you and your spouse do not agree to some of the terms you can, after filing a dissolution of marriage case, proceed as an at issue contested  divorce case. If proceeding with an at issue dissolution of marriage case you will likely be heading to trial and it is highly advised to hire an attorney, particularly a Certified Specialist in Family Law to represent you for trial or for the entire case.

File for Your Divorce in Your Appropriate County of Jurisdiction

Usually, you need to file for divorce in the county in which you reside; however, you must be in conformity with California residency rules. The rules state that you must have lived in California for the previous six months and the county in which you filed – like Los Angeles County for the last three months.

If you and your spouse have already separated and currently live in different jurisdictions, such as Los Angeles and Ventura county, you can file in either one of the two counties.

If you don’t meet the California residency criteria for a divorce/dissolution of marriage, you may still file for a legal separation. Again it is always recommended to have a skilled experienced divorce lawyer represent you in your Los Angeles Divorce case.

Find a Reputable and Experienced Divorce Attorney

Consult with an experienced and reputable divorce attorney that you feel confident with. This is the most critical decision in the divorce process. Going about a divorce on your own is not a realistic option, even more so if there are children or substantial business and property subjects to be considered. Do your research, you should feel good about the person you are hiring to guide into the next stage of your life. It is always recommended to hire an attorney who is also a California Certified Specialist in Family Law to represent you,  particularly one with a financial background should your case has difficult financial or tax issues.

Stay On Good Terms with Your Former Spouse (as much as possible)

In a best-case scenario, you will be able to avoid a courtroom divorce trial and resolve the divorce process through mediation. However, recognize that the relationship you have with your spouse will determine how lengthy and complex the mediation process will be. Most Dissolution of Marriage cases in Los Angeles County are settled prior to a trial.

Here are some ways that you can maintain this relationship:

  • Try to limit disagreement to important technical and legal issues rather than personal, non-legal issues.
  • Do not involve your children in child custody issues. To the best of your abilities, help maintain a normal atmosphere for kids, show respect for their other parent, and demonstrate that you are a responsible guardian. This is not only important for the legal proceeding; it’s the right thing for the children.
  • Be honest. Discuss with your legal representative what is and what is not important to you in these legal proceedings. Your lawyer needs to know what your priorities are to negotiate the best settlement possible. Be realistic about your priorities and keep the litigation costs in mind before taking difficult divorce case positions.

Stay in Communication with your Divorce Attorney

If you do your homework, think positive, and follow these steps, you will be on a successful path to completing your divorce. The divorce attorney you choose should be proactive in corresponding with you and reasonably available and open to all your questions and concerns. The Family Law Offices of Charles M. Green – A California Certified Specialist in Family Law,  is highly experienced and is available to consult with you and handle your Los Angeles divorce / dissolution of marriage case; child custody or support case or spousal support case; Should you need our assistance in Los Angeles, Ventura or Orange County call attorney Charles M. Green at 213 387-4508 for a consultation appointment at our Los Angeles Mid Wilshire offices.

Call Today: (213) 387-4508

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About the author

Charles M. Green is Certified as a Family Law Specialist through the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California. He has worked extensively in both the financial fields and as a litigation attorney specializing in Family Law Cases. He is also diversely experienced in a number of other practice areas of importance to individuals and families. You can find him on Google+

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