If you are seeking a Santa Clara Divorce Lawyer, Alameda County Divorce Lawyer, or Sacramento County Divorce Lawyer, concerning any aspect of separation or divorce, Sagaria Law, P.C. can help you.

In order to file for divorce in the state of California, you must meet the following residency requirements:

  • You must have been a resident of California for at least six months.
  • You must have been a resident of the county that you are filing in for at least three months.

For example, if you recently located to Carmel from Fremont and you are hoping to file for divorce in California Superior Court, you will have to establish residency there for the designated period of time. These requirements are different than filing to Establish Paternity. Please refer to our Paternity web page to review those requirements.

Once you file your divorce paperwork, you are required by law to wait six months before the divorce becomes final.

Courts that handle divorces in Alameda County, and Santa Clara County, respectively:

  • California Superior Court, County of Alameda
  • California Superior Court, County of Santa Clara
  • California Superior Court, County of Sacramento

California was the first U.S. state to allow the concept of a "no-fault divorce." This means that a court can grant the dissolution of a marriage if it finds that the marriage has irrevocably broken down due to irreconcilable differences. Also, one spouse can end the marriage even if the other person does not wish for it to be terminated.

An "no-contest" divorce is where both parties agree about the terms of their divorce. A "contested" divorce is where both spouses cannot agree over at least one issue, and the court must intervene to resolve the dispute.

The general steps for filing a divorce in California:

  1. The petition to dissolve the marriage is filed by one spouse and served to the other spouse (known as the Respondent).
  2. The Respondent has 30 days to reply.
  3. One of the parties may file an Order to Show Cause hearing where the judge may make temporary child custody or support terms. The judge may even issue a restraining order against one of the spouses.
  4. The discovery process: Both parties exchange documents and information, including the disclosure of income, expenses, and assets. Written questions and depositions may also be given at this time.
  5. Both parties discuss the settlement terms. If an agreement is reached, a Marital Settlement Agreement will be filed and signed by the spouses and their lawyers. If an agreement can't be reached, the case goes to trial.
  6. After signing the agreement or once the trial has ended, one of the divorce lawyers will prepare and file a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.

Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage
If a couple that wishes to divorce have been married less than five years, do not have any underage children, and fulfill the following requirements (see below), they may be able to file a Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage instead of going through the regular divorce process. This can happen when:

  • Both parties have waived the right to receive spousal support.
  • They do not own or have an interest in any real estate.
  • They acquired less than $32,000 worth of marital property.
  • Neither own property worth more than $32,000.
  • Since their marriage, they have not acquired or owe more than $4,000 in debts.

Our lawyers at Sagaria Law, P.C. are also experienced at handling legal separations, annulments, and the summary dissolution of domestic partnerships.

Legal separation: For couples who do not wish to end their marriage or domestic partnership but would like to live separately as well as delineate the separation of their assets and responsibilities.

Annulment: When a court declares a marriage or domestic partnership null and void.

Dissolution of Domestic Partnership: The legal termination of a domestic partnership between couples of the same or opposite sex.

Our attorneys at Sagaria Law, P.C., are experienced at handling all the issues that may arise during a divorce, legal separation, or annulment, including:

If you wish to retain more control over the terms of your divorce or separation, you may want to consider Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which allows for the resolution of conflicts without going to trial. In addition, ADR is a mechanism which can be utilized to resolve disagreements for which courts do not recognize rights, such as issues between same-sex partners, grandparent custody, and visitation claims. Clients are often more satisfied with the results of a mediation, and our lawyers will able to determine which cases may be best resolved in this forum.

Either through the courts or ADR, one of our goals is to work toward a fair resolution for your case while avoiding the unnecessary public exposure of private issues.