Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the Initial Divorce Petition
Posted on: August 21, 2017
For those who’ve never been through a divorce before, the entire process can seem difficult and overwhelming. The good news is that working with a divorce attorney takes all the pressure off of you. At Kendall Gkikas & Mitchell, LLP, we have years of experience with all manner of divorce, from litigation to mediation and even self-representation. Read on to learn more about how the process begins and then reach out to us at 909-482-1422 to set up a consultation.
What’s the first step in the divorce process in California?
It all begins with filing a summons, a petition for dissolution of marriage, and other related forms. Your divorce attorney will help you find the forms you need and get them filled out correctly. Trying to do this on your own could lead to significant delays if the documents aren’t correctly filled out.
What happens once the summons and divorce petition is filed?
Once the documents are filed, the court will assign a case number to your divorce. It will be stamped on your petition. At that time, you will officially have an open divorce case. The next step is to serve your spouse with the divorce petition.
How much does it cost to file for divorce?
At this time, California costs for filing for divorce are $435. This is paid to the court of the clerk. If the only thing stopping you from doing so is the lack of the filing fee, then there are forms you can fill out to attempt to have the filing fee waived.
How is the summons and petition served?
In most cases, the divorce summons and petition are going to be personally served to your spouse. This means that someone who isn’t you, and is at least 18 years old, hands the documents to your spouse. In many cases, we will use a registered process server who specializes in this. This prevents claims of improper serving or claims that you didn’t serve them at all.
What happens if my spouse successfully avoids being served?
In the event your spouse can’t be found or works hard to avoid being served, there are alternatives. However, you first have to prove that you made valid attempts to serve them. The State of California sets these requirements. Of course, we can help if you need it.
What happens after my spouse is served?
Once your spouse has been served, they’ll have a specific amount of time to respond. That specific amount of time will vary based on how you served them. For example, personal service – typically our first choice – gives them 30 days to respond from the date they were served. Note that the day you actually filed the papers isn’t relevant – it’s all about when they received the papers.
How can I get help with my divorce petition?
If you’re considering divorce then you should be speaking with a family law attorney. At Kendall Gkikas & Mitchell, LLP, we are happy to help. Just give us a call at 909-482-1422 and set up a consultation. We can go over the specifics of your situation and offer our best advice on how you can proceed.