Los Angeles Divorce Checklist
Whether you or your spouse is planning on filing a Los Angeles divorce, you will want to be properly prepared.
This article will explain the basics of the Los Angeles divorce process. It will also help you understand how to find a Los Angeles divorce lawyer to hire.
Meeting Los Angeles Divorce Requirements
To file for divorce, you must meet certain preliminary requirements. Different jurisdictions have different residency requirements for divorce. For Los Angeles, the residency laws require that either you or your spouse must have been a resident of California for six months and a resident of Los Angeles County for three months before filing.
The party filing for divorce must also cite proper grounds. Grounds for divorce simply means a reason for ending the marriage.
In Los Angeles, either spouse can get a divorce by claiming irreconcilable differences which have caused the marriage to break down beyond repair. You or your spouse will have to provide evidence of the irreconcilable differences in court. The court will then determine whether the evidence provides substantial reasons for not continuing the marriage.
You may also cite incurable insanity as a grounds for divorce. You will have to prove this claim in court by providing expert medical or psychiatric testimony.
Hiring a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney
If you believe you meet the requirements to file for divorce in Los Angeles, you should next take the steps to hire a Los Angeles divorce lawyer.
To begin the search for a lawyer, talk to friends and family members. See if they have used a Los Angeles divorce lawyer in the past. If they have, ask if they would recommend the lawyer. If so, get the lawyer's contact information.
You can also use a site like Attorneys.com. Whether you live near Hollywood, Brentwood, Lincoln Heights or another part of Los Angeles, Attorneys.com can connect you to a Los Angeles divorce attorney in your area. To begin the process, fill out the brief form on this website or call 1-877-913-7222. After answering a few questions, Attorneys.com will connect you to at least one Los Angeles divorce attorney. That lawyer will call you within two business days, or you can contact the lawyer at your own convenience.
Once you have at least one attorney you are interested in, schedule a consultation. The consultation is an initial meeting that allows you to get to know the lawyer and his practice, tell the lawyer about your case and decide whether you want to hire this particular attorney.
Before going to the consultation, you should prepare a list of questions to ask. Your questions should focus on such things as the attorney's work experience, case management style, legal strategy and costs. Example of questions you can ask include:
- How long has the lawyer worked on Los Angeles divorce cases?
- What does he think of your case?
- Does he have much experience with child custody or spousal support issues?
- Will he be the only attorney working on your case? If not, can you meet the rest of the team?
- What kind of fee arrangement does the lawyer use? How much does he cost?
- If you have a question, how can you get in touch with the lawyer? How long will it take for him to respond?
Once you have finished going on all your consultations, you should be able to make an informed hiring decision. If you are still having trouble making up your mind, ask the lawyer or lawyers for references. Call up these past clients and ask them about their experiences with the attorneys. After this, hire the attorney you feel is the best fit for you and your case.
Filing for a Los Angeles Divorce
Your attorney should be able to help you prepare and file all necessary divorce documentation. Still, it is important for you to know the basic process for filing for divorce in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles divorce process begins when either you or your spouse files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This petition, which is filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, is a legal document that initiates the divorce process.
Once the petition is filed, your spouse will be served with copies of the petition and given a chance to respond.
If there is no disagreement between the two spouses regarding child custody, child support, parental visitation, spousal support and debt and asset division, then the divorce can be finalized without a trial. For many couples, this is the ideal situation, since trials can be both lengthy and costly. Even if you cannot reach an agreement initially, you still may be able to avoid a trial by engaging your spouse in negotiations with the help of your attorney.
If an agreement cannot be reached, the court will schedule a hearing.
After filing, either you or your spouse may request from the court temporary assistance prior to the finalization of your divorce. This temporary assistance will provide temporary orders regarding such things as child support and child custody. These temporary orders will usually remain in place until the divorce is finalized.