The San Diego divorce attorneys at Denham & Britt, LLP are very experienced in all aspects of the divorce process and will help, guide and advise you through what is often one of the most stressful and terrifying time of your life.
The Divorce Process
The person who initially files for a divorce is called the Petitioner. Either party can file first. The divorce is initiated when the Petitioner files the Request for Dissolution of Marriage and Summons. If there are children of the relationship, another form is required to filed. That form is the Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Generally, the Court requires the Petitioner to pay a filing fee unless the Petitioner qualifies for a fee waiver.
Once the forms are filed with the Court, they must be served on the other party with a blank copy of the same forms. Once the documents have been served on the other party, who is known as the Respondent, the Petitioner must file a Proof of Service with Court. After the Respondent is served, the Respondent has 30 days to file a Response to the Petition with the Court and pay the filing fee or obtain a fee waiver.
After the Petitioner serves the Petition and related documents, the Petitioner has 60 days to complete the financial disclosures which are comprised of a Declaration of Disclosure, an Income and Expense Declaration, and a Schedule of Assets and Debts or a Property Declaration and serve these documents along with all tax returns filed by the party in the last two years. These documents are not filed with the Court. If the Respondent filed a Response to the Petition, the Respondent must also complete the financial disclosures within 60 days of filing the Response. The Court cannot complete the dissolution of marriage until this has been completed. Both parties must complete and file a Declaration Regarding Service of the Declaration of Disclosure with the Court.
Concluding a Divorce Case
The case can be concluded in one of four ways:
- If the Respondent did not file a Response (“default”).
- No Response filed, no written agreement between the parties (“true default”). The Petitioner must wait until after the 30 days has passed and must have completed the Declaration of Disclosure and filed the Declaration Regarding Service of the Declaration of Disclosure with the Court. The Petitioner prepares a proposed Judgment and other required forms for a Default. A Default hearing is generally set by the Court. The termination of the marriage is concluded without the Respondent’s participation.
- No Response filed but written agreement between the parties. Petitioner attaches the signed and notarized written agreement to the proposed Judgment and other required forms. No hearing is required. The Court processes the documents and the marriage is terminated subject to the terms of the parties’ agreement.
- Response filed and written agreement between the parties. Either party may submit the proposed Judgment and attached the signed agreement and other required forms. Again, the Court processes the documents and the marriage is terminated subject to the terms of the of the parties’ agreement (uncontested case).
- Response filed and no agreement between the parties. The Court sets a trial date and the judge will resolve the issues (contested case).
The earliest date a marriage can be terminated is six months from the date the Respondent is served with the divorce papers. The parties are not divorced until the Court enters a Judgment on the case.