Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Do I need to “go to court” to end my marriage?

A. Although only a state court judge can enter a formal judgment dissolving the marriage, if you and your spouse can agree on the other terms, that agreement and accompanying court documents can be filed with the court without any courtroom  hearing. The majority of dissolutions in California are settled, and entered, without the parties ever seeing a judge.

Q. How does the dissolution process start?

A. Petition for Dissolution is filed with the court, and after the court issues a case number and assigns the case to a judge, a copy of the Summons and Petition must be served upon the other party.

Q. How long does it take to get a divorce (dissolution)?

A. In California, married people cannot be returned to their single status in less than six months from the date on which the Summons and Petition were properly served on the other party. This time limit applies only to restoring the parties to single status, and does not affect resolution of the other issues. Generally, if the parties cannot agree on the other terms of the divorce, it may take longer than six months for the other issues to be resolved.

Q. Do I need a lawyer to start a dissolution?

A.  No, but if you do not have one, you will be responsible for the preparation of all the various documents, knowing all the necessary deadlines and the procedure in managing your case from the start to finish. Even if you do not have an attorney, the Court will hold you to the same standard as if you had an attorney. You will not be granted special treatment or exceptions from missing deadlines or knowing the procedure simply because you are self represented. 

Q. Can I still get a divorce if my spouse doesn’t agree?

A. Yes. In California, as long as one party wants to dissolve the marriage, the other party does not have to consent to dissolve the marriage.


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