• California Divorce Checklist

California Divorce Checklist

Filing for divorce on your own can be a very stressful process. Divorce is life-changing and often requires both parties to make major adjustments to their financial and living situations. When under stress and forced to navigate a complex court system, people can become depressed and act irrational. Sometimes divorce planning and a simple checklist is all that is needed to keep a person focused and on track. We have created a pre-filing California divorce checklist for individuals contemplating filing for divorce. If you have made the decision to file for divorce, A People’s Choice can help you navigate the legal complexities of the court system while you are getting your life back in order.

California Divorce Checklist Overview – What You Need to Know Before You File

Here are some key points to consider prior to filing for divorce.

  • Understand Your California Divorce Options

  • Before filing for divorce in California, research the different ways a marriage can be terminated. You will certainly want to know the difference between divorce, legal separation and annulment before you file your proceeding. You may also be wondering what you are entitled to in California divorce. These are important matters to become familiar with if you are considering filing divorce. If you have been married for a prolonged period of time and have children, you may want to pursue an uncontested divorce based on irreconcilable differences. An uncontested divorce means both parties reach a resolution as to how the community estate will be divided in addition to child custody and the payment of alimony. In contrast, a contested divorce occurs when a divorcing couple are unable to resolve issues regarding the division of assets and debts, child custody, and spousal support. This type of divorce takes longer to resolve. A default divorce occurs when the respondent fails to respond the marital dissolution petition. The respondent is often left with unfavorable divorce terms and may be unable to do anything about it. For more information, you may also want to read our article understanding California divorce laws.
  • Develop a Divorce Separation Plan

  • Once you determine that you would like to file for divorce, develop a separation plan. Make a plan as to where you will live, what your monthly income will be and your monthly expenses. The spouse that remains in the family home may be on the hook for covering all expenses (mortgage, utilities, upkeep). Include court filing costs and related divorce expenses in your budget.
  • Stay Single and Avoid Getting Into a New Relationship

  • Remain single until your divorce is final. If you start cohabiting with a new significant other during your divorce, the amount of alimony or child support you receive may be reduced. It is best to remain single until your divorce is finalized.
  • File for Divorce

  • Once you determine the grounds for your divorce and whether it will be contested or uncontested, contact A People’s Choice for help in drafting your California divorce forms. We can make the divorce process as easy as possible for you. We can help you prepare and process all the paperwork you need to file for divorce so you can deal with more important matters. This California Divorce Timeline will help give you a better perspective of the divorce process.
  • Divide the Marital Estate

  • One important aspect of divorce is dividing the marital estate. If you get stuck in the divorce process and cannot agree on the division of assets and debts, consider hiring a mediator. A mediator can help you and your spouse reach a resolution regarding the division of the marital estate. A mediator can help you and your spouse reach a compromise on the division of the family residence, community assets and debts, and develop a co-parenting plan. Mediators are known for helping couples save money on legal costs. Learn how to mediate a divorce in California and still represent yourself.
  • Seek Counseling, if Necessary

  • A divorce can cause emotional anguish among couples and their children. Seek counseling for your family to help deal with the divorce. Reach out to a support group to discuss the emotions you feel during and post-divorce.

Contact A People’s Choice for Help With Your Divorce

After reviewing our California divorce checklist, consider contacting A People’s Choice to learn more about how we can help you file for divorce in California. We can help prepare all of the paperwork required to file and finalize your divorce. Call us at 800-747-2780 or use our convenient web form.

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By | 2018-01-18T15:46:56+00:00 April 20th, 2016|Family Law|1 Comment

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.

One Comment

  1. Zephyr Hill April 26, 2016 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    This is a great resource for people approaching divorce to help get them started.

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