The Divorce Process in California

When you are going through a divorce, it’s critical to be aware of where you are in the process and what is happening next.  Our legal team aims to keep you informed at every step.  Here is a brief overview of the divorce process and what to expect if you are facing a divorce.  We have also included common questions which you can click on to display the answer.

"Filing" for Divorce

The process starts when you send or receive the paperwork to petition the court for a divorce.  

It’s never too early to contact an attorney to help you get prepared for the divorce process. Developing a plan to handle the financial issues and shared custody of any minor children takes time. While we can work with you at any point in the process, we do not suggest you file your own paperwork for divorce. There are several potential pitfalls that can affect the rest of the process if not done correctly.

Temporary Custody / Support

Filing for temporary support and custody puts some structure in place while you are working through the divorce process.

Every situation is unique, but if one spouse does not have an income that spouse will typically be granted some temporary financial support. Custody is determined on a case by case basis where the best interest of the children is taken into consideration.

Discovery Process

This is where all financial information and other needed documentation for assets such as cars, house and retirement accounts are made available to both parties.

It’s not uncommon for one spouse to have little to no information or access to important financial documents like the home mortgage, credit card balances, retirement accounts and other bank information. During a divorce, it can be difficult to get your soon-to-be ex-spouse to freely share that information. That is why there is a “discovery process” where the necessary documents will be made available to you.

Custody / Financial Issues

Working through all of the financial issues and establishing a shared custody plan that both parents can agree upon requires some cooperation from both parties and expert legal representation.

The courts will favor an agreement where both parents are playing a role in the child’s life. While one parent may play a primary role in the children’s lives the other parent will be able to have visitation or shared custody in most cases.

Part of the asset division process includes classifying things as either community property or separate property. Separate property is what each spouse owned before the marriage. Community property is the assets that were accumulated during the marriage and are split in a manner that the court sees fair, not necessarily 50-50.


We work with your spouse’s legal counsel to get to a solution in as timely and cost-effective manner as possible, while preserving your emotional equilibrium.

Our legal team has a long history of coming up with creative solutions to complex problems. Many people facing a divorce think that a “tough” or “aggressive” attorney will help protect their interests. The reality is the ability to be effective and efficient during negotiations not only leads to a better outcome, but also keep you from paying unnecessary legal fees for endless fighting.

Settlement / Trial

Once we have settled all major issues, we go to the court for approval. If we are unable to reach a settlement, we initiate the trial process.

When you are working with an experienced attorney, many disagreements and issues can be resolved throughout the divorce process. If you can reach a settlement for custody and the major financial issues, it typically is a better outcome for both spouses than going to trial. Taking your case to trial is expensive, takes a lot of time and typically gives the divorcing spouses less control over the outcome.