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Divorce Exclusivity in Practice. Integrity in Performance. Results-Driven Divorce Attorneys.

How Does Divorce Work in California?

Protecting Your Best Interests During the Divorce Process

Filing for (and finalizing) a divorce is a complex legal process that often takes a significant amount of time, resources, and stress. Having an experienced lawyer at your side can help you pursue an outcome that benefits you in both the short and long-term.

At Feinberg & Waller, our Calabasas lawyers have more than a decade helping clients navigate the divorce process. We'll advocate for your rights and help you develop an effective case strategy to achieve your goals.

Schedule a consultation with our team! Contact us online or
via phone at (844) 252-1140.
We have offices in Beverly Hills, Calabasas & Westlake Village.

Grounds for Divorce in California

To file for divorce in California, at least one party must have been a resident of the state for at least six months.

California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that you can simply cite "irreconcilable differences" as grounds for divorce when filing to dissolve your marriage. However, the court may consider other factors such as adultery or domestic violence during divorce-related processes such as child custody or spousal support.

Uncontested Vs. Contested Divorce in California

The process of actually filing for divorce varies depending on whether you file for a contested or uncontested divorce.

To file for an uncontested divorce, the parties must agree on terms for the divorce. This involves drafting an agreement that lays out the terms for the divorce, which the court can then approve to finalize the divorce.

If the parties disagree on any element of the divorce, they must file for a contested divorce instead. Typically, once a party files for a contested divorce, one of two things happens:

  • The parties engage in a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation, to resolve their differences. If successful, they can draft an agreement and file for an uncontested divorce.
  • The parties fail to negotiate and choose to litigate the divorce in court. After each party presents their case, the court makes a final decision and drafts a legally binding divorce decree containing terms for processes such as custody, child and spousal support, property division, etc.

The person who intends to file for a divorce is called the "petitioner," as they file a petition for divorce to initiate the process. To file for divorce, you must obtain divorce paperwork and file them with the county court. You can fill out the paperwork by yourself, but an attorney can make the process easier. Filling out the paperwork involves gathering and submitting various information to the court, including tax returns, bank statements, mortgage statements, real estate deeds, car registration, and more.

After filling out and filing the documents with the court, a third party, such as a process server or sheriff, must serve the other party (the "respondent") with a copy of the divorce petition. After being served, the respondent must file a Response and Acknowledgment Receipt to begin the divorce process.

How Long Will My Divorce Take?

A factor that can impact the length and cost of your divorce significantly:

  • The number of factors playing a role in the divorce. For example, if assets of considerable value or children play a role in the divorce, it may take longer to finalize.

Divorce is one of the most complex divorce-related processes, and having an attorney you can rely on by your side is crucial to obtain the best result.

At Feinberg & Waller, APC, our attorneys have more than a decade of experience helping clients navigate complex divorces. We'll help you find the best path forward in your divorce, advocating for your rights and best interests.

To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone
at (844) 252-1140

Related Reading

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  • “Capable, attentive, and effective attorneys and staff who have gone above and beyond for our family! Superior expertise and strategy from Adina Rosenfeld and Marshall Waller.”

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  • “The people of Feinberg & Waller, APC are consummate experts and truly care about their clients. While the topic is difficult and emotionally charged, they were able to explain things in terms that are easy to follow, ethically and reasonably motivated.”

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  • “Marshall was very easy to work with and I recommend him highly as a competent lawyer and source of legal advice.”

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  • “Marshall is quite simply THE BEST!”

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What Makes Feinberg & Waller, APC Different? 

Committed to Each & Every Case
  • Certified Family Law Specialists

    We have three certified family law specialists on our team. Attorneys wishing to become family law specialists must pass a rigorous examination in the field of family law, fulfill mandated ongoing educational requirements, been favorably evaluated by peer review, and show at least a five-year focus and proficiency in family law.

  • Team Approach

    At Feinberg & Waller, APC, the power of our entire team is behind you. As one or two lawyers oversee the fine details of each case, our clients further benefit from practice-wide strategic planning sessions. During these sessions every partner and associate brainstorms together to execute and deploy tactical case objectives, providing clients with an added value beyond the standard lawyer/client arrangement.

  • Outstanding National and International Reputation

    Firm shareholder, Marshall Waller is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He is also a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. Fellows are recognized as having advanced skills in family law and are recognized leaders in the field.

  • Role of the General Counsel

    The office of Feinberg & Waller, APC has a general counsel whose role is to focus on law firm management, corporate governance, and business policy. The litigation attorneys are then able to focus on your matter rather than having to concentrate on running the business aspect of a law firm.

    Read More About The Role of General Counsel 

Feinberg & Waller, APC

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