Marital relationships are not always picture perfect. If you’ve found yourself thinking, “I want a divorce” more and more often and you’re a resident of LA county, you’ll need to know how to file for divorce in Los Angeles County.
Regaining your marital freedom doesn’t have to be a painful and drawn-out process. As long as you and your spouse meet the residency requirements and other additional requirements and abide by the legal process rules, you can end your marriage relatively conveniently and amicably. Below you’ll find all the information on how to file for divorce in Los Angeles County.
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How to File for Divorce in Los Angeles County: Types of Divorce
Dissolution of marriage can have lifelong consequences for the spouses, children—the entire household. However, picking the right method of filing for divorce can make things a bit easier. In many of the simplest divorce processes, couples deliberate over the many facets of their marriage before coming to an amicable agreement on how they will handle the process (uncontested divorce).
In some unfortunate scenarios, the respondent spouse may refute the decision to separate. If you’re the filing partner, in that case, you’ll have to take extra court actions. A divorce attorney may also become unavoidable in a contested divorce proceeding.
At times, a contested divorce can arise from morally questionable or at times even criminal activities such as:
- Domestic physical violence
- Emotional or physical abuse
- Marital transgression
If your divorce fits these criteria, you may need an experienced attorney and additional forms for your divorce filing process.
Should I Inform My Spouse of My Plan to Divorce?
Barring cases of abuse, it’s wise to approach your spouse regarding your decision to file for divorce. With them, you can attempt to amicably decide on an agreement on how you’ll proceed with the process. Your divorce process would be easier, shorter, and less expensive than a contested traditional divorce with your spouse’s cooperation.
To attempt an uncontested divorce, you’ll have to choose a good time with your spouse to peacefully discuss how to set the lawful grounds for your divorce. You’ll need to agree on:
- Marriage financial appropriation
- Marital assets, including real estate
- Child support and custody
- Separation agreements
How to File for Divorce in Los Angeles County in 8 Steps
To separate in Los Angeles County, you should follow a specified process that sets the usual grounds for separation. You must be a resident in this county to be able to formalize the separation process.
You can download the necessary country-specific family law forms on divorce from LA County Superior Court website. The court’s address is 501 W 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, and they are open Monday to Friday – from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the time of writing. You can contact them at 213-351-8739 to confirm current hours, COVID protocols, and other information.
The following 8 steps define a divorce process in Los Angeles.
Step 1: Summons
Every separation procedure begins with the Summons (FL-110) notice. You can file this and other complete court forms with the superior court and clerk of the court.
Keep in mind that you will need to pay filing fees as well; check the LA county court fee schedule to determine the cost of your exact filing. To make things easier and guarantee the accuracy, you can work with a document preparation service like A People’s Choice.
Action 2: Petition (FL-100)
This compulsory form establishes the grounds for a divorce petition. It’s an overview petition form for divorce that contains analytical information, residency information, and other valid info that a judge needs before giving a divorce decree.
If you have minor children, you must file an additional UCCJEA (FL-105) declaration. This form confirms that California state has the authority to make custody and visitation orders for minor children.
Step 3: Serving the Papers
This step has to do with serving your spouse with the notification from Standard Family Law Restraining Orders, or “ATROs.” As said before, this is not the best way for a spouse to learn about separation. If at all possible, tell them beforehand.
You have to find a third party to serve these papers for you. A professional process server, a police officer, or a friend can serve your spouse with the initial divorce papers. You can decide when and how to serve your spouse with the divorce papers.
This notice formally notifies your spouse that you’ve petitioned for a divorce. Serving the divorce forms also notifies your partner that they now need to comply with Standard Family Law Restraining Orders. They have 30 days to respond before the actual divorce process starts.
Tip 4: Response
This part is for the respondent partner. If you get a notification of a divorce from your spouse, you should carefully assess and examine the appropriate documents you’ve received. You have up to 30 days to send your response (acknowledgment of service) and initiate a separation hearing. You can formally react to the petitioner’s request for divorce by submitting Response (FL-120).
Tip 5: Temporary Orders
The minimum waiting period for divorce in Los Angeles County is six months and a day. If you find this waiting period impossible due to personal reasons, you can request short-term orders by filling out a form called Request for Order (FL-300).
The short-term orders will remain enforceable until the court rules on the divorce. If you want other requirements to accompany the short-term orders, you will attach the files containing that information to the FL-300 form.
Action 6: Child Custody/Visitation Orders
Child Custody Recommending Counseling (CCRC), also called arbitration, is required in Los Angeles County. It is meant to solve child custody disputes. When you file for child custody and visitation, CCRC takes place according to the particular guidelines of a county. CCRC can also send written referrals to the judge regarding your child custody or visitation.
Action 7: Financial Disclosure
According to California law, both spouses have a fiduciary responsibility to one another. Both should give honest details through the declaration of disclosure lists. These declarations of disclosure must include:
- Marital debts
- Assets and separate property
- Evidence of earnings
- Marital property
- Credit card statements, including credit card debt
Divorcing spouses should also reveal their joint residential or commercial property.
Within 60 days of filing the initial documentation and meeting other legal requirements, both parties should submit their financial disclosure to assist with the legal division of assets. Below is the list of forms necessary when providing a financial disclosure:
Again, you can get help filling out all this paperwork from a divorce attorney or from a cost-effective legal document preparation service like A People’s Choice.
Step 8: Discovery Process
“Discovery” refers to the formal strategy of getting relevant information from your spouse. You have 60 days for the discovery process before the trial phase of your divorce begins and official decisions are made on the division of assets, a parenting plan, and more.
How Can You Divide Retirement During Divorce in Los Angeles County?
This is a major cause for concern for many divorcees, but as with anything else, preparation and a level outlook can make a big difference. Before your begin dividing your retirement benefits, you need to:
- Determine the value of your property and its rate of interest
- Find out how you will divide that value during the property division procedure
Take note of these other steps as well:
Submit a Joinder
Joinder is a document that allows you to formally file your retirement plan as part of your collective separation. It’s compulsory for divorcing spouses to submit a joinder before they split any pension. This document considers the retirement as a claimant (interested party) to the divorce judgment.
Work Out The Division of Retirement Accounts.
During your divorce settlements especially if your divorce is uncontested, strategize with your spouse on how you will divide your retirement assets. That requires you to negotiate the amount each of you should get during the division.
In some scenarios, one spouse may decide they will receive a percentage of the payments when the other spouse withdraws their pension plans relating to the retirement benefits.
Prepare a QDRO.
Coming to an alternative agreement with your spouse on how you will divide the retirement benefits is not the end of dividing retirement benefits. You also need to prepare a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) that relates to the division of your retirement property. The retirement manager can then use a court-approved QDRO document to divide your retirement benefits as part of your division of assets.
How to File for Divorce in Los Angeles County, CA with A People’s Choice
If you want a simple, smoothly executed, cost-effective divorce in Los Angeles County, then you need to get yourself a legal document preparation service like A People’s Choice. We will help you prepare all the necessary lawful documents accurately and completely. Unlike the usual expensive divorce lawyers, we charge only a reasonable fee to help you get through the process in the shortest time possible without breaking the bank.
Our objective is to provide our clients with simple, affordable legal services that get the job done right. To get your divorce moving efficiently through the court system without any hold-up or lawful issues, contact A People’s Choice today!
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