February 2011 Archives

Why Do I Have To File a Lawsuit to Get Divorced in California

February 21, 2011, by

Many divorcing couples who wish to resolve the issues in their divorce with their personal and economic dignity intact in order to preserve or create a positive co-parenting relationship for the benefit of their children, or to save money and preserve assets, or for a host of other good reasons, choose mediation or Collaborative Divorce rather than litigation and traditional attorneys.
But whatever process is used, divorce in California requires that a Petition for Dissolution and Summons be filed by one spouse and served on the other spouse in order to commence the dissolution process and to establish the court's jurisdiction to terminate the marriage. Divorcing couples need never step foot inside the courtroom but must comply with the requisite judicial paperwork, some more useful than others, to obtain a divorce.
The Summons, in particular, can be problematic. The first page states, "You are being sued" and "you have 30 days to respond" and the second page sets forth numerous rules called automatic restraining orders. It is not uncommon for spouses who are trying to work together in a civil and respectful process to be shocked and somewhat hurt when faced with a document telling them they are being sued by their spouse.

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