Unbundled Divorce Services in Orange
Trusted Legal Assistance in LA County, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, and Santa Barbara
In some divorce situations, spouses may seek to handle their own divorce case and consult a lawyer for legal advice on specific parts of the process, help review forms or documents, and even prepare for court. This is referred to in California as “limited scope representation” or “unbundling,” and it is an alternative and cheaper option. Kevin B. Gibbs has over 25 years of experience working with divorced couples in Southern California and can provide you the legal guidance you need in divorce.
Steps in the Divorce Process
California is a "no-fault divorce" state, which means spouses can petition for divorce merely on the grounds of "irreconcilable differences." At least one of the spouses, though, has to have been a resident of California for at least 6 months before filing the divorce petition. They must also live in the county where they file the divorce petition for at least 3 months before filing.
Typically, the divorce process will proceed along the following steps:
- One spouse will file a divorce petition and serve it on the other spouse (the respondent).
- The respondent will have 30 days to file a response to the petition.
- One of the spouses may request temporary court orders by filing for an Order to Show Cause hearing, where the judge will make temporary child custody, support, and restraining orders.
- The spouses will then engage in discovery, the process by which they will exchange information and documents relevant to the divorce, including a preparation of the Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure to list community and separate property, as well as their income and expense declarations.
- After discovery, the spouses will discuss settlement of the case either by a Marital Settlement Agreement signed by the spouses or, if the spouses cannot agree, by a trial.
- After the parties sign the Marital Settlement Agreement or after the trial has concluded, they may prepare a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage with the help of an attorney. The judgment will then be filed, and the court will mail a Notice of Entry of Judgment to each party.
Necessary Forms and Documents
One of the most important steps of the divorce process is filling out the appropriate forms. A lawyer can ensure the appropriate information is being recorded to accurately reflect their position in the divorce. What individuals write on their court papers can significantly affect the outcome of the case, so it is very important to be accurate and complete. This is especially important if a spouse anticipates their spouse is likely to have disagreements about the issues that the court forms inquire about.
The petitioning spouse should prepare the following forms to start the divorce process:
- Petition — Marriage/Domestic Partnership (Form FL-100): gives the court basic information about the marriage and asks for the orders the spouse wants the court to make; lists dates, children, property, debts.
- Summons (Family Law) (Form FL-110): informs the other spouse that a court case has started and what will happen if they do not respond in 30 days; contains some standard restraining orders limiting what the other spouse can do with their property, money, and other assets or debts.
- Proof of Service of Summons (Family Law — Uniform Parentage — Custody and Support) FL-115): tells the court the petitioning spouse had the papers served on their spouse.
- Property Declaration (Family Law) (Form FL-160): provides further room beyond the initial petition form to list each item of property and debt and whether they think it is community or separate property.
- If you have children under the age of 18 with your spouse or domestic partner, also fill out:
- Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (Form FL-105/GC-120): for individuals with children under the age of 18; tells the judge who the children have been living with and if any other custody orders exist that involve the case.
- Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application Attachment Form FL-311): an optional form that contains further details about schedules for visits and holidays, as well as other details that can help spouses maintain a relationship with their children.
After the spouses complete the above forms and any additional local forms, they can consult an attorney for unbundled services to review certain their paperwork and ensure they filled it out properly before moving ahead.
Contact Kevin B. Gibbs Today to Get Started
If you are in the process of filing for divorce, you may be looking for legal assistance to review your divorce forms and ensure the process runs smoothly. Hiring a divorce attorney for help on specific parts of the process, or unbundled services, is a cheaper alternative for less complicated divorce. Kevin B. Gibbs offers unbundled divorce services and can apply his professional experience to your divorce in Southern California.