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San Jose Divorce Lawyers

The Divorce Process in Santa Clara County

The California divorce process can seem complicated and overwhelming. Knowing the road in front of you and having an experienced attorney by your side can make this time of your life less stressful. 

Below are the basic steps involved in getting a divorce.

Filing for Divorce

To file for divorce in San Jose, either you or your spouse must have lived in California for six months and in Santa Clara County for three months.

You must file a petition and a summons. A petition is a request for divorce that lists factual information, including residency, date of marriage, date of separation, and the grounds for divorce.

The summons contains important information about the divorce process. It includes standard restraining orders limiting what you and your spouse can do with your property and prevents you or your spouse from removing your children from California.

If you and your spouse have children together who are under the age of 18, you will also have to file a Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.

You must file the papers at the Santa Clara Family Justice Center Courthouse, located at 201 N. First Street, San Jose, CA. Unless you apply for a fee waiver and the court grants your request, you must pay a filing fee.

Serving Your Spouse

After filing, you must serve your spouse by giving them copies of the documents you filed in court and a response form. Service puts your spouse on notice that you filed the divorce. You cannot serve your own divorce papers. You must have an adult who is 18 or older serve the papers. This person could be the county sheriff, a process server, a relative, or a friend.

Responding to the Filing

If you are the spouse that was served, you have 30 days to respond. The response allows you to either agree or disagree with the information in the petition. The respondent must file the response at the Santa Clara Family Courthouse and pay the required filing fee (unless you are granted a fee waiver).

Temporary Orders

Getting a divorce in California takes a minimum of six months. Because the process takes time, parties can request temporary orders. The judge will hold a hearing to decide whether or not to grant the request for a temporary order. 

There are many different temporary orders that you can request, including those for:

The temporary order will stay in place until there is a final judgment.

Having problems with your divorce proceedings? Call us at (408) 676-1814 to talk with one of our divorce lawyers in San Jose.

Financial Disclosures

Under California law, you are required to complete financial disclosures that give your spouse information about the property you own, your debt and liabilities, and your income and expenses. The point of the financial disclosures is to ensure that determinations regarding property division, child support, and spousal support are done accurately and fairly.

There are multiple forms that must be completed in a very specific way. Leaving out information on the forms or filling them out incorrectly can result in serious repercussions.

Discovery

Discovery is the legal process of getting relevant information from your spouse. 

Discovery can take different forms:

  • Asking your spouse to produce documents
  • Asking your spouse to answer questions
  • Asking your spouse to admit or deny statements
  • Deposing your spouse

You also have the option to make requests on third parties through subpoenas. Whether or not you should engage in discovery and what discovery you should seek is unique to every case.

Settlement Negotiations

To settle your divorce case means that you and your spouse have come to an agreement on every single issue (property division, child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, and attorney fees). Through settlement, you and your spouse, not the judge, have control of the outcome and you will save the time and expense of going through a trial. However, you should not settle for the sake of settlement and make compromises that you cannot live with.

Even if you cannot come to a complete settlement, you should still try to come to an agreement on as many issues as possible.

Trial

If you are unable to settle your case, it will go to a trial. At the trial, both parties will be able to present evidence, including testimony. At the end of the trial, the judge will make a final decision.

Typically, trials take place at the Santa Clara County Family Courthouse. However, if the court determines that the trial will exceed two days, then it will be referred to the Superior Courthouse of Santa Clara County, Civil Division.

Contact Our Experienced Family Lawyers

Call (408) 676-1814 or fill out our secure online form to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We look forward to helping you.

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