A California divorce CAN be fairly simple to obtain, depending upon the specific facts of each case. When we receive phone calls here at the office we try to find out right away, in what city do you reside? And also, where is the person you are trying to divorce? When the reply is, “It’s going to be simple, he disappeared many years ago and I don’t know where he is,” that is actually your WORST CASE scenario!
Why is this information important? You must file for divorce in the county in which you live, and file the paperwork at the specific court in whose jurisdiction you reside. In Murrieta, Temecula and the surrounding communities all Family Law cases are filed in Hemet. You must have been living in California for six months, and in the county in which you file for three months prior to filing the divorce paperwork. This refers to meeting the residency requirements for filing at the court in whose jurisdiction you reside.
Once the case is filed, the divorce paperwork must be served on the other party. Many people are familiar with Personal Service of the paperwork. If the other party can be personally served with the divorce papers, your six months and one day clock starts ticking from Date of Service of the paperwork. A form must be filed with the court with the date, time, and address where the other party was served. Any person over the age of 18 other than the Petitioner can serve the paperwork and sign the Proof of Service of Summons. If a person were served with divorce paperwork 10/29/2015 and all of the paperwork is filed with the court that is required to finish the case, the Dissolution Date would be 4/30/2016.
If the party resides in another state we are able to mail the paperwork to the other party, but the person must sign a Notice of Acknowledgment of Receipt and mail that back to our office. If the person is unwilling to cooperate and won’t voluntarily sign the Notice of Acknowledgment, which must be sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt, then the divorce papers must be sent to a process server who works in the area where the other party is living. The process server will charge anywhere from $60 to $100 on average, depending upon market rates, to serve the Respondent with the divorce paperwork.
If the person you want to divorce cannot be found, there is a process that can be requested called Proof of Service by Publication or Posting. This involves hiring a private investigator to look for the person. If the person is found, he/she must then be personally served with the paperwork. If the person truly cannot be found, the private investigator write up and signs a declaration stating what steps were taken to find the person, and the Petitioner asks the court to grant the request that service be accomplished by Publishing the summons in a newspaper in the town/area of the last known address of the Respondent. This is known as Proof of Service by Publication or Posting.
Once the newspaper has published the summons once a week for four weeks, 28 days having elapsed from the first date of publication to the last date of publication of the Summons, the service will be deemed complete and the paperwork filed with the court so that Service of the Summons will be accepted by the court. You must wait another 30 days for the Respondent to perhaps file a Response. If no response is filed, you may proceed with a Default Judgment.
At DIY Divorce our cases can be finished very quickly in terms of getting the paperwork filed, served, and a written agreement done. We’ve gotten cases done in as little as a week, in terms of the paperwork getting filed, served, and a written agreement signed by the parties. The rules are the same though, thirty days from date of service must elapse before the paperwork can be filed with the court to finalize the case. The Judgment packet will be with the court anywhere from seven to thirty days for processing, then a Judgment will be mailed to each party. HOWEVER, the dissolution date is the same regardless of how quickly the paperwork is submitted to the court – it’s still six months and one day from Date of Service of the divorce papers.
Call Kristin Harrison at 951-795-3900 with any questions you have about divorce. We speak with potential clients over the telephone and answer your questions, investing a great deal of time in helping you to understand the divorce process. We are happy to do so, we understand how confusing the entire thing can be.