If your marriage is foundering, it just may be time to toss in the towel and file for divorce. But divorce is a process and not a single event. You may be uncertain about how the process will unfold, and that can add to any anxiety you may already be experiencing.
While no two divorces are alike, most share certain commonalities. Below is a general divorce timeline that can make it easier to understand what's going on.
1. Filing the petition
If you are initiating the divorce, you are the plaintiff and your attorney will file the petition in the Orange County Family Law Courts.
2. A petition is served on the defendant
Civil sheriff's deputies will serve the petition for divorce on the defendant or their attorney of record should they have retained counsel.
3. Defendant answers the divorce petition
The defendant or their attorney has a specified time to respond to the allegations in the divorce petition and make any counterclaims.
4. Interim judgments may be signed
Often in custody cases, the family law judge will issue an interim judgment that temporarily orders the terms for custody and visitation of the minor children. Other interim judgments may also deal with possession of the marital assets.
5. Property division and discovery process
The spouses exchange information and documents related to their incomes and community property.
6. Final judgment rendered
If the couple can agree on the terms of their property settlement, their attorneys can submit the order to the court to be signed by the judge. If they cannot reach an accord, the court sets the matter for trial and issues a final judgment at its conclusion.
If you are contemplating divorce in Orange County, a family law attorney can provide advice and counsel throughout the entire process.