EXPERIENCED DIVORCE ATTORNEY
Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer
At Berenji & Associates, we understand that sometimes a marriage will not work out. When this happens, divorce may be your only option.
If you are considering a divorce or have been served with a petition for dissolution from your spouse, you may have substantial issues to resolve such as child custody, child support, and division of assets. We have over 20 years of combined experience helping families navigate through these difficult times. Speak with a Los Angeles divorce lawyer at Berenji & Associates today. We offer a free consultation.
Divorce Law Overview
This brief overview covers several aspects of California divorce law. If you need more info, please call us at (310) 271-6290.
Under California Family Code § 2310, a divorce, or judgment of dissolution of marriage may be granted only the grounds of:
- Irreconcilable differences that caused irremediable breakdown of the marriage, or
- Permanent legal incapacity
Irreconcilable differences is alleged as grounds for divorce in nearly every petition for dissolution. To meet the statutory requirement, there must exist “substantial marital problems which have so impaired the marriage relationship that the legitimate objects of matrimony have been destroyed and as to which there is no reasonable possibility of elimination, correction or resolution.” (Marriage of Walton (1972) 28 CA3d 108, 118.)
California is a “no-fault” state, which means that a spouse doesn’t not have to show the other spouse did something wrong in order to petition for divorce.
The person seeking a divorce will also have to determine whether it can be filed in California and if Los Angeles is the appropriate county. California Family Code § 2320(a) states that:
- In order to file for divorce in California at least one of the parties to the marriage must have been a resident of California for six months, and
- Must have been a resident of the county where the papers are filed for at least three months before filing
The California Courts Family Law Info Center provides an online questionnaire to help you determine whether you are eligible to file for divorce in California.
Pursuant to California Family Code § 2339, there is a minimum 6-month waiting period between the time you serve your spouse (or they appear in court) and the termination of the marriage.
If you just arrived to Los Angeles and are seeking a divorce, you may be concerned that it will take at least one-year (6 months to establish residency plus 6 month waiting period). In that case, you may seek to pursue a legal separation until you meet the residency requirements.
How the Divorce Process Works
A person seeking to end a legal relationship must first decide whether to seek divorce, legal separation, or annulment. The other person must decide whether to cooperate or not. However, one member of a couple can’t prevent the other from getting a divorce.
A divorce typically involves resolving some or all of the following family law issues:
- custody of the children and visitation rights
- spousal/partner support (alimony)
- the division of marital or partnership property
- payment of the couple’s debts
The cost and time required to complete the dissolution will depend on whether you’re dealing with a contested or uncontested divorce. In other words, if there are no property issues or child custody matters to resolve, it may be a simple procedure.
However, if you have significant marital assets and/or children, then you could be facing a more timely and costly process. Call attorney Hossein Berenji today to discuss your case.
Starting Your Divorce
The process formally starts with one party, called the petitioner, filing the appropriate forms at the courthouse. Next, the other spouse or partner must be formally served with the court papers. The person being served is called the respondent. The respondent has to decide whether to file a response. Any response must be filed within 30 days of the respondent being served by the petitioner.
The parties then have to exchange financial information. This is called a ”preliminary declaration of disclosure.”
The parties may be able to wrap things up fairly quickly, or there may be years of motions and hearings until the final divorce is granted.
Divorce can be expensive and time-consuming. The couple may be able to save time and money by working out the terms on their own, perhaps through mediation or family law facilitator. The couple’s agreement can then be filed with the court so that it can be enforced later.
Keep in mind that Los Angeles family courts are overwhelmed with cases and encourage that parties negotiate a settlement amongst themselves. Having an experienced family law attorney can help you make wise decisions during the settlement process. Even if you cannot settle all issue, it is usually better to resolve as many issues with the opposing party before going to trial.
If a person plans to seek a divorce, he or she may be eligible for a summary dissolution. A summary dissolution is available for marriages or registered domestic partnerships that have lasted for less than five-years, if certain requirements are met. You can learn more here or by speaking to a member of our legal team.
Is a Divorce Public Record?
Yes. Just like marriage records, divorce records are public. However, you can seek a protective order to shield certain private details. Celebrities and high-net worth individuals in Los Angeles often seek a protective order to protect sensitive personal information. If you are concerned with private facts becoming public records, call our office to discuss your options.
Alternatives to Divorce
Yes. As an alternative, you can consider a legal separation or an annulment.
A legal separation is not the same as a divorce, but it does have similar aspects. Please visit our legal separation page for more info. If you think legal separation would be a better option for you, then please call our office to discuss the best way to proceed.
An annulment is a legal recognition that a marriage or domestic partnership is not legally valid. Rather than terminating a marriage or partnership, and annulment declares that it never actually existed. Keep in mind that annulments are quite rare. You can learn more about annulments here or by speaking to one of our lawyers.
Speak with a Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer Today
We know you have questions and we’re here to answer those questions and help you achieve the best outcome possible. Divorce can be a difficult process, but an experienced Los Angeles divorce lawyer can help you ease the transition. Call us today to discuss your case. We offer a free consultation for your convenience.
A Review of Berenji & Associates, Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers
- California Courts Self-Help Divorce Page
- Los Angeles Superior Court Divorce Resources
- Divorce Overview Diagram from the Los Angeles Superior Court
- Los Angeles Family Law Facilitator
Blog For Divorce
- Top 7 Things To Consider When Hiring a Divorce Attorney
- Top 5 Things To Consider When Seeking a Divorce
- Pet Custody in a Divorce
Divorce Process Infographic
We created this infographic of the divorce process for you convenience. This was created with information we adapted from the Los Angeles Superior Court Planning and Research Unit.