Three Types of Divorce in the State of California

Top Orange County divorce attorneys; The Maggio Law Firm

The petitioner and the petitioner’s divorce lawyer start a divorce case by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. They would file it in the California Superior Court, initiating the petitioner’s divorce case. The petitioner requests the court dissolve the marriage as well as child custody, child support, property, debt and lawyer fee issues.

How the case is handled depends on the respondent, or the other party, and whether the respondent fails to file a Response to the Petition, settle the case by agreeing or files a response contesting the issues.

Therefore, depending on what the respondent does, there are three ways a divorce case gets resolved in California:

1) The default divorce is when the respondent fails to respond to the divorce petition or legal separation. If this happens, the matter still proceeds without the respondent and as “default” by the court clerk.

2) An uncontested divorce is when both the respondent and petitioner work together without much ado in order to settle the case by written agreement. This can also happen when the respondent defaults at first but later decides to settle.

3) The contested divorce is when the respondent files a response to the petition that an agreement cannot be made on certain issues and therefore the court takes the case to trial.

There is a list of procedures on how to proceed for a default or an uncontested divorce with your lawyer:

1) Choose the proper county that has jurisdiction

2) Prepare documents that need to be filed

3) File the documents with the court

4) Serve the documents

5) If no response is filed, enter a default

6) Prepare financial disclosures and have the respondents financial disclosures reviewed

7) Notarize a marital settlement resolving all the issues in your case, such as child custody, child support, child visitation, division of community property, etc.

8) Prepare an order for child support withhold of income

9) File a judgment package with the court that resolves issues between both parties

10) Serve the judgment

11) File family support or child support orders with the state of California entitled “Child Support Case Registry Form” (FL-191)

12) Serve wage garnishment or order to withhold on spouse’s employer

For a contested divorce, there are additional steps that may include filing a Request for Order (RFO) to get temporary orders to stay in place until the final judgment is entered by the court. Also a discovery needs to be done to gather evidence from both parties to present at trial if your case does not settle and goes before the court.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with Orange County divorce lawyer Gerald Maggio, contact The Maggio Law Firm by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting

No Legal Advice Intended: This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems. Full disclaimer.