Here’s what you can expect once you file for divorce and your dissolution journey begins.
What can you expect on your dissolution journey? When you file for divorce—before you even file the documents—there are a couple of factors you need to consider.
The first is which court you file in.You have to choose whether to file in a central court or a branch court. If you live in Los Angeles County, you’ll file in a central court. A branch court is whichever court is closest to your ZIP code. Sometimes your attorney will want to file in a specific court because it’s closest to their office, they know the judge better, etc. This is something you’ll have to discuss with them.
To file, you must also meet a couple of jurisdictional requirements. In California, you must be a resident of the state for at least six months and a resident of the county you reside for at least three months.
What do you actually file in a dissolution case? California is a no-fault state, meaning you don’t have to plead to the court why you’re seeking a divorce. In the initial packet, you’ll have a summons document, a case cover sheet document, a petition document, and other supporting documents, depending on whether you have children and whatever else your counsel thinks is important.
Once the documents are ready to be filed, you or your attorney will take them to the court of your specification. If you don’t have a fee waiver, you’ll have to pay a filing fee, which is $435 in Los Angeles County. Once you pay this fee, you’ll receive copies of your petition documents. After you have these, your counsel will either arrange for the other party to be served with them or you’ll make the arrangements yourself.
Since you’re a party to the action, you’re not allowed to personally serve these documents. Anyone over the age of 18 can do so, but I encourage you not to involve children or close family members. Whichever party serves the other is required to complete a service of summons, which is filed with the court so they have proof that the documents were served.
Stay tuned for part two of my video series about the dissolution journey, where I’ll discuss what happens after the other party is served.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about this or any other topic regarding divorce law, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you.