Starting a divorce action in California

Making a decision to divorce your spouse is one of the most difficult and life-changing decisions you will ever make.  After carefully balancing all the pros and cons, you decide to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.  Now what?  You should contact an attorney to ensure that you are properly prepared to file a Petition.  A Petition has to be carefully prepared to ensure that not only all the data is correctly entered (for example the date of separation) but also all the issues are properly considered.  Other forms that you will have to prepare are the Summons and UCCJEA Declaration, if you have children.  You then have to have a third party over the age of 18 serve the documents on your spouse.  Sometimes, if a divorce starts out amicably, you have the third party mail the forms to your spouse together with a Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt.  A blank Response and blank UCCJEA Declaration (if applicable) must be included.  A Proof of Service should be filed right after service of Summons, Petition and other documents is completed.  Your spouse will have 30 days to respond to your petition.  If s/he does not, you may want to seek a default.  It may be necessary to seek immediate financial help or a visitation schedule or other relief, in which case you should carefully consider filing a Request for Order together with your Petition.  Our firm can assist you in making a determination of whether or not to seek any pendente lite relief at the outset of your case.