In California, as in most all states, the steps for obtaining a divorce are generally the same. Once a divorce proceeding has been instituted, it moves through the process towards dissolving the marriage on a specific time table set by law. Once the process moves through the basic steps and all lawful requirements have been met, an order of dissolution is entered, and the marriage is dissolved.
A person who meets the residency requirements may begin the process of ending their marriage by filing a petition for dissolution with the court. Once filed, this person, the petitioner, must serve the petition upon their spouse, the respondent, who must file a response within a specific time period. The response must be filed with the court and served upon the petitioner. Should the respondent fail to timely respond, the divorce may be granted by default.
However, if a respondent timely responds and puts matters of property division or child custody at issue, the divorce is considered contested. When this happens, the parties will be required to attend court hearings to work out their differences, the processes of which can lengthen the time period until the divorce is ordered. However, if the respondent agrees with the information in the petition, all they need do is sign and file the papers with the court and have them served upon the petitioner.
Couples looking to divorce in California may wish to seek the help of an attorney. An attorney could assist in filing the necessary paperwork and could represent a client through the divorce process. However, the summary provided here should not be viewed as legal advice, since the set of circumstances under which marriages end are innumerable, and applicable law will differ from case to case.
Source: Women's Law, "What are the basic steps for filing for divorce?", December 04, 2014