The California divorce process can be quite complex. The decision to separate can be quite challenging as it is, and the complexity of the divorce process in California could make it even more difficult.

At Garwood Reeves, we understand the complexities and emotional toll that divorce can bring. Our dedicated team of experienced divorce attorneys in San Diego is here to support you every step of the way. 

Your Trusted Partners in California Divorce

At Garwood Reeves, we pride ourselves on providing compassionate and personalized legal representation for clients going through divorce in California. Our mission is to alleviate the stress and uncertainty surrounding the California divorce process by offering comprehensive legal guidance tailored to your unique situation.

Navigating the California Divorce Process Step by Step

Divorce in California can be a daunting process, but with the right legal team by your side, it becomes more manageable. Our attorneys are well-versed in California family law, and we’ll work tirelessly to protect your rights and interests. From the initial consultation to the final resolution, we’ll be with you every step of the way.

Let’s first understand the various steps involved in the California divorce process.

Residency Requirement

To file for divorce in California, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months. You must have lived in the county where you plan to file for at least three months before filing the divorce petition.

Choose the Divorce Grounds

If you are wondering how to start divorce process in California, rest assured it is easier than it sounds. You will need to start a court case to set the divorce proceedings in motion.

Now California is a no-fault divorce state, which means you don’t need to prove any wrongdoing to get a divorce. The law allows couples to seek divorce based on irreconcilable differences.

File the Petition

The California divorce process begins when one spouse files a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage” with the Superior Court in the county where they meet the residency requirement. The petitioner (filing spouse) is responsible for serving the divorce papers to the other spouse (respondent).

Responding to Divorce Papers

Once served with the divorce papers, the respondent has 30 days (or 60 days if served outside California) to file a response to the petition. The response acknowledges receipt of the documents and may include the respondent’s requests for spousal support, child custody, and property division.

Temporary Orders

During the divorce process, either spouse can request temporary orders to address issues such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and the use of shared property while the divorce is pending. These orders remain in effect until the final divorce judgment is issued.


Both spouses may engage in the “discovery” process. This involves gathering information and documents relevant to the divorce, such as financial records, property valuations, and any other pertinent details. This is to ensure that both parties have a complete picture of the marital assets and debts.

Negotiation and Settlement

In many cases, spouses and their attorneys will attempt to negotiate a settlement agreement that addresses all issues related to the divorce, including property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. If an agreement is reached, it must be put in writing and submitted to the court for approval.


If the spouses have difficulties reaching an agreement, they may participate in mediation, where a neutral third party helps facilitate communication and find common ground. Mediation helps avoid lengthy court battles. However, it is always best to consult with an experienced divorce mediation attorney to understand if it is the right option for you.

Court Trial

If no settlement is reached through negotiation or mediation, the divorce case will proceed to a court trial. Each spouse will present their case, and the judge will make decisions on contested issues, such as property division and custody arrangements.

Final Judgment

Once all issues are resolved either through a settlement agreement or a court trial, the court will issue a final divorce judgment. This will become legally effective and officially end the marriage.

How Long Do Divorces Take?

It is quite natural to wonder, “How long does divorce take?” 

Getting a divorce in California may take around 6 months. With the right divorce attorney, you can ensure that no complications or delays arise in the California divorce process.

Our Services

Expert Consultation: Understanding your specific circumstances is the first crucial step. Our divorce attorneys listen attentively to your concerns and goals, providing you with a clear roadmap of what to expect during the California divorce process.

Mediation and Negotiation: Whenever possible, we aim to resolve divorce cases amicably through mediation and negotiation. This saves you time, money, and emotional strain.

Child Custody and Support: If children are involved, we prioritize their well-being above all else. Our child custody lawyers will advocate for the best interests of your children while striving for a fair custody and support arrangement.

Division of Assets: We understand the complexities of property division in California. Count on our expertise to ensure that your assets are distributed fairly and equitably.

Spousal Support: Whether you’re seeking alimony or defending against it, our skilled attorneys will work to secure a fair spousal support agreement.

Post-Divorce Modifications: Life is ever-changing, and sometimes divorce agreements need adjustments. We’re here to assist you with post-divorce modifications as circumstances warrant.

Why Choose Garwood Reeves For Help With The California Divorce Process

  • Experience and Expertise: Our team has extensive experience in handling California divorce cases, allowing us to offer effective legal strategies tailored to your needs.
  • Client-Centrist Approach: At Garwood Reeves, you are not just another case. We prioritize open communication, understanding, and empathy to ensure the best possible outcomes for our clients.
  • Personalized Solutions: We recognize that no two divorces are the same. That’s why we create personalized solutions to fit your unique situation and goals.
  • Respectful Advocacy: While we are skilled negotiators, we are also formidable litigators when necessary. Our goal is to protect your interests while maintaining respectful communication with all parties involved.

Schedule Your Consultation Today and Speak with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer

Embarking on the California divorce process is a significant life event, and you don’t have to face it alone. Let Garwood Reeves be your guide through this challenging time. 

Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation and take the first step toward a brighter future.Schedule an appointment today.