The Divorce Process

The Divorce Process: The attorneys at the Law Office of David A. Esquibias begin the process by filing your Petition for marital dissolution and Summons with the clerk of the superior court in the county where you or your spouse live. We then serve your spouse with copies of the Petition and Summons, and a blank Response. The Summons is a paper that notifies your spouse that you are filing for a divorce and that he or she has 30 days in which to file the Response. In the Response, your spouse then indicates what needs to be resolved by the court. For example, he or she might object to your request for spousal support or sole custody of your children. After divorce is filed, the following steps may occur:

Disclosure: Our divorce attorneys work with you to complete disclosure declarations that provide information about your income, expenses, assets and debts-and have them officially delivered to your spouse. (The court will later require proof that you served your spouse with a Final Disclosure Declaration, unless it is waived.)

Temporary orders: If necessary, our divorce attorneys ask for a hearing so that a judge can decide any temporary child custody, visitation, support, requests for attorney fees or restraining order disputes. Such hearings are called Order to Show Cause hearings.

Agreement: Our divorce attorneys will work on permanently resolving the issues raised in the dissolution. If an agreement is reached, you may not have to appear in court and a judgment based on your agreement can be entered. Our divorce attorneys will prepare and submit on your behalf a sworn statement to the court saying that the marriage is ending because of irreconcilable differences.

Trial: If an agreement is not reached, our experienced and qualified divorce attorneys will represent you in court for a trial in which a judge will make the decisions.

Default: If your spouse does not file a Response, our divorce attorneys will on your behalf request a default and proceed to a default hearing to obtain a judgment. You will be asking the court to enter a judgment consistent with the requests in your petition.

Judgment: A judgment can be entered at any time, but you would not be divorced until six months after your spouse was served with the petition. The court does not automatically end your marriage when the six months have passed. You cannot legally remarry until you obtain a judgment even if the six months have passed. If you want to remarry or have some other reason for wanting to be single at the end of six months, a judge can dissolve your marriage even though some property or other issues are not yet settled.

Not all of these steps will be necessary in every case. For example, you may simply reach an agreement and get a judgment without the need for temporary orders of any kind.