If you have reason to believe that your husband or wife might become violent against you or your children, can have the ability to abduct the children, or can even take funds from any accounts or conceal properties, there are steps you can take in an effort to protect yourself.
A few of these protective steps may include obtaining a court order in an effort to prevent domestic abuse, alerting your child’s school that the child can only be released to you, or even securing a passport restriction to avoid your child from being taken outside of the country. You can also obtain a court order to prevent the disposal of mutual assets.
Be Sure That You Meet Residency Requirements
In order to begin the process for a divorce, some states require that you must have been a resident for a minimum amount of time. Be sure that you are compliant with these requirements or that you at least check if such regulations exists in the area you live in. In California, as a general requirement for filing a dissolution a petitioner must reside within the state for the previous 6 month period. There are however other available filing options in your family law court should you not meet this requirement.
Collect Important Information
When starting a divorce process, many states will require that you have documents or other forms of evidence that showcase important factors about property and finances. California is no different and the court refers to these as “Disclosures”. When filing various required forms and attachments on your divorce paperwork, these disclosures can be prepared and filed. They often require information that may include:
- Credit cards and bank accounts,
- Utility expenses,
- Insurance payments
- Pay check stubs
- Property ownership and more
Retain copies of your and your children’s state identification cards. This includes driver’s licenses as well as Social Security cards and birth certificates. While not required for filing, some of the information on them is and it is good to have these accounted for as well.
Child and Spousal Support
If necessary, you can request child support and or spousal support after a petition is filed and before a final judgment is entered. To do so, you will need to file additional court forms and or requests on your case. There are various ways to have the court make an order for support such as a hearing, an agreement and/or intervention from outside agencies such as the Department of Child Support Services. As noted above, financial information will be required to verify income so having those records available and ready will save time later.
Different States Require Difference Methods of Divorce Procedure
Determine which procedure works best for you. California has a few options available. The best procedure for you will vary on your specific situation. Each process uses different paperwork and has different requirements. Knowing which is best for you can also save time when filing, and with finishing your case.
Organize Necessary Documents
Official forms may be obtained from court locations and some courts have then available on their websites. Be aware that each case is different and you should keep in mind that your case may require additional forms. While many courts in California have self-help centers or form packages available online, they can be general and either include additional forms not required or not include specific forms you need for your situation. Clerks at the court cannot give advice so doing research or finding a service that provides divorce document preparation can help in this respect.
File Your Documents
Filing fees are required, the amount depends on your County. Check for your proper filing location. Filing in the wrong courthouse can potentially delay the proceeding and lead to unnecessary costs. Aside from the initial filing fee, additional fees are required if a hearing is requested. It is important to note that depending on income these fees can be waived.
The Notification Process
Your husband or wife must receive appropriate notice that the divorce has been filed based on California guidelines. This process is commonly referred to as the “Serve”. There are many misconceptions about this requirement and a process server may be a good option since they are familiar with the requirements and can make sure your notification is done properly. Information about California process service requirements can be found here.
Be Present During All Court Hearings
It is crucial to be present in all court hearings. Not attending a hearing can have severe consequences which can be difficult to reverse once a ruling has been made. Be sure you see thru to the final event in order to avoid possible misfortunes. If you have a court hearing and feel that you may need an attorney present they often can be retained for a single appearance, or limited scope, which saves costs. Not all attorneys offer this service so you will want to do some research. View California Family Law Attorneys.