Where Do I Start?


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Divorce is completely overwhelming. Let’s face it, even that is an understatement. On a daily basis, I meet people that are embarking on this journey and the most common feeling they have is that of overwhelm. Where do I start? What should I do? How do I figure out what to do? Should I follow the advice of my friends and family?

The number one action you should take early in this process is to get educated. Getting educated will reduce your anxiety, put you in control of the process, and help you make the best decisions for your personal situation from the start. Many people don’t start getting educated on the process until things begin to go south. At that point, it’s often too late. The early decisions are the most important because they will set the tone for your entire divorce. So, whether you choose to represent yourself, use mediation, or hire an attorney, you need to fully understand the basic process and know when and how to best use divorce professionals in a cost effective way.

The basic divorce process can be summarized in four steps:

1. Petition
2. Response
3. Financial disclosures by both parties
4. Judgment

A judgment in your case can only be obtained in one of two ways:

1. Settlement/Agreement between the parties
2. Court Trial

There are, of course, additional processes and procedures that come in to play when the parties are having disagreements about various aspects of the case. But the above represents a list of the minimum steps everyone must complete to obtain a divorce. In California, parties must wait 6-months from the date the Petition is served on the opposing party to have their marital status terminated. Often people are under the impression that the court will automatically divorce them after the 6-month waiting period. This is not true. The parties are required to do the necessary paperwork to obtain the judgment, even if they are in agreement on all issues. The slide below provides a helpful visual outline of the process.

Once you understand this basic process, you can start to break down and move through each step.


Divorce Process


Disclaimer: Tammy R. Ferreira is certified by the Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™. Ms. Ferreira is not an attorney, but has a background in divorce financial analysis and planning. The information set forth in this blog or on our websites are not intended to as a substitute for consultation with CDFA™, lawyer or other professional. This information is not intended to apply to cases or jurisdictions outside the State of California, and those viewing this information outside of California, or having business before jurisdictions outside of California, should consult a local professional, financial analyst or lawyer. The information in this blog is not intended to be an evaluation of any particular asset, support amount or other legal position, and should not be construed as a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the results of your legal matter.