You’ve been served. So what happens next? Here are the first steps to divorce to take after your spouse has filed for divorce.
Initially, getting served with divorce paperwork might feel threatening and intimidating. The language on the summons says you have been sued and you have 30 days to respond.
But don’t worry, your attorney will help you navigate the steps to divorce.
Understanding the First Steps to Divorce
Take the petition and summons and any other paperwork you were served with you to your consultation with an attorney and discuss your options.
You will need to have a Response prepared and this will need to be served, most often by mail, on the other party or their attorney. If by mail, the Response must be sent to the opposing party no later than 25 days from the date you were personally served. You can learn more about responding to a petition for marriage dissolution here.
In San Diego County, when the petition is filed, the court will set either a Family Resolution Conference (FRC) or a Self-Represented Family Resolution Conference (SFRC). When you get served, a Notice of Hearing should be given to you along with the petition and summons. It is very important that you give this notice to your attorney so a court appearance can be scheduled.
Other Things to Note About the First Steps to Divorce
You might also receive a copy of what’s called a Request for Order, which is an application by the other party to ask for certain orders at a hearing while your divorce case is pending. These requests and any orders that follow can cover a wide range of topics, including—but not limited to—such things as attorney fees, sale of real estate, custody and visitation with children, child support, and temporary spousal support.
The timing to respond to such a request is different than the time to respond to the petition and summons. You will need to personally serve the Responsive Declaration at least nine days prior to the hearing date, adding five additional calendar days if this is served by mail. Your attorney will explain all of this to you during your initial consultation and take care of the complicated process for you, with your assistance.
There are several other steps and forms to complete during the divorce process, especially related to the required financial disclosures that must be exchanged by both parties before a divorce can be final.
Your divorce attorney will walk you through this and assist you in the process. To get more information, review Step 4 on this page and talk to your attorney.
An Experienced Attorney Can Help You Navigate the Steps to Divorce
Whether you’re going through a divorce or need assistance with other family law matters, an experienced attorney can help.
If you’re ready to take the next steps in your divorce case, contact JWB Family Law to schedule a free consultation.
The Importance of the CFLS Designation
A Certified Family Law Specialist, or CFLS, is an attorney who has obtained certification in the standards of California family law and demonstrated optimal legal competence. Attorneys who obtain this certification have specific expertise in all aspects of family law, which includes divorce or the dissolution of marriage, child and spousal support, child custody, and temporary restraining orders, among other areas of emphasis.
Not every attorney practicing family law has obtained this certification. In fact, the designation remains relatively rare—there are fewer than 2,000 CFLS attorneys in California and fewer than 200 in San Diego.