Divorce Process

Divorce Process

Divorce Process

No one ever gets married thinking it is going to end in divorce. Unfortunately, that is a reality many people face. The divorce process is emotional, but there are also steps within the legal system that must be taken. If you are considering divorce, our Salinas family lawyer helps explain what steps those are.

Find an Attorney

There are many legal requirements when getting a divorce, and the decisions you make now will affect you for years in the future. A divorce attorney will advise you on the laws that affect your case, help you navigate the process, and provide the sound legal advice you need every step of the way.

File Divorce Petition

The party that starts the divorce process is known as the petitioner. To begin, the petitioner must obtain the proper forms, fill them out completely, and give them to the court clerk. The clerk will then file the papers, officially starting the case.

Wait for Response

Once the petition is filed with the court, the other party is served with divorce papers, telling them a lawsuit has begun and they have been named within it. After they are served, the other party has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. If they do not respond, the judge may issue a default judgment, without the other party having the chance to defend against allegations made in the petition or at the court hearing.

Addressing Custody

Child custody issues must be determined when a couple with children gets a divorce. A judge may issue a temporary order at the beginning of the case, which will outline which parent will have custody while the case is ongoing. During the case, child custody issues will be heard and a judge will make a final decision. 

Financial Disclosures

Each party in a divorce must provide full disclosure about the assets and property they own, as well as the liabilities, or debt, they carry. This full financial disclosure is necessary so the couple can fairly divide their marital assets and debt.


It is always better if the two sides can negotiate a fair deal rather than going to court and leaving the decisions to the judge. An attorney is an invaluable resource when these negotiations are ongoing, as they can help each party secure a fair settlement.

Settlement or Trial

If the two parties can agree on the terms of the divorce, an agreement is drafted and submitted to the court. If a judge finds the agreement is fair, they will approve it, which finalizes the divorce. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, they will have to go to trial and a judge will make all final decisions in the case.


Just like with any other type of lawsuit, if one party feels as though there was a mistake of the law, or that the final divorce decree is unfair or improperly made, they can appeal the decisions once the judge has issued the divorce decree. There are also grounds to set aside a Judgement.

Future Modifications

Few things in life remain the same and if there is a significant change in circumstances, either party can petition the court for a modification of a court order regarding an issue for which the court has continuing jurisdiction. For example, if one party suddenly loses their job, they may petition the court to change the amount of child support they are required to pay.


Call Our Family Lawyer in Salinas Today

If you are getting a divorce, do not go through the process alone. At Miranda, Magden & Miranda, our Salinas family lawyer can help you through it and ensure you receive the fair verdict or settlement you deserve. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation.


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