Frustrated sad wife taking off the wedding ring

My Spouse Filed for Divorce. Will I Have to Go to Court? 

Law Office of Shelly Jean John Nov. 15, 2022

Some marriages are on the rocks for years. Then, one day, one spouse reaches their breaking point and files for divorce. In other situations, one spouse may be completely blindsided when they are served with divorce papers. Or, both spouses may come to an agreement together that it is time to divorce. 

Regardless of what your specific situation is, it’s important to be aware of what you do and don’t have to do if your spouse files for divorce. Be aware of all of your options so that you can make this process as smooth as possible for your family and yourself.  

As an experienced divorce attorney, I understand what you’re going through. I can help you with your legal tasks during this difficult time. It’s important to have a strong team behind you during a divorce, and I can bring my decades of experience to your team.  

At my firm, the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, I prioritize creative, compassionate solutions for my clients. With over 20 years of experience under my belt, I work to help my clients secure the best outcome, whether they only need a Lawyer For a Day or they require ongoing legal assistance. My firm proudly serves clients in Ontario, California, as well as Riverside, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County.  

Deciding Types of Divorce 

You may be wondering, “Will I have to go to court if I file for divorce?” The answer is not always. Similarly, if your spouse is the one who files for divorce, you may not be required to go to court. Whether you will see the inside of a courtroom depends on the type of divorce.  

There are three general types of divorce: contested, uncontested, and collaborative. Each of these routes requires certain key actions to be taken; however, some routes are easier to navigate than others. 

Contested Divorce 

A contested divorce is perhaps the most difficult type of divorce. In a contested divorce, either one or both parties do not agree to the terms of the divorce. It is virtually impossible to find a solution. Therefore, contested divorces usually end up in court. 

Uncontested Divorce 

In an uncontested divorce, there may be some disagreements. However, these disagreements usually aren’t so serious that the case goes to court. 

Collaborative Divorce 

When a couple chooses to work together to sort out an agreement that both can accept, this is a collaborative divorce. Generally, going to court isn’t necessary with a collaborative divorce. 

The California Divorce Process 

The exact steps of the divorce process depend on the type of divorce. However, there are certain key actions that must always be taken whether the divorce is contested, uncontested, or collaborative. The following are some of the most common steps of the divorce process: 

  • One spouse files the divorce petition. 

  • If there are children, there may be temporary court orders for child custody and child support. There also may be a request for a temporary spousal support order (alimony). 

  • The spouse who files the divorce petition serves the other spouse with the divorce paperwork. 

  • A permanent settlement is negotiated. 

  • If no agreement can be reached, the case goes to court. 

How Long the Process Takes 

The state of California observes a mandatory six-month waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. No matter what, it will take at least six months after the divorce petition is filed to finalize the divorce. In some situations, it may take longer than six months for the final orders to be approved.  

More specifically, in a contested divorce, the process will almost always take longer than in an uncontested divorce. If you disagree about how assets will be divided or how your children will be cared for and provided for, for example, then you may need to go to court. The combined negotiation and court process may take longer than six months. 

Don’t Face Divorce Alone. Call Now. 

While it is possible to file for divorce without an attorney, legal representation can help you through any disputes and help with submitting all necessary paperwork. A strong legal advocate on your team can help you look at all the details and help you pursue a healthy path forward for your family and future.  

Whether you are considering filing for divorce or you have been served with divorce papers by your spouse, know your legal options. Speak with a knowledgeable divorce attorney to be confident that you are taking the right steps to protect your best interests.  

I have over 20 years of experience practicing law, and I am dedicated to providing my clients with high-quality legal guidance at the service level you need, whether that’s a Lawyer for a Day or a long-term commitment. My firm, the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, proudly serves clients in Ontario, California, as well as Riverside, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County. Contact my firm today to schedule your consultation.