Orange County Divorce Attorney, Peter H. Wernicke
California Orange County Divorce Lawyer, Attorney at Law  
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Getting a Divorce

Peter H. Wernicke, Orange County Divorce Attorney
The Law Office of Peter H. Wernicke has the experience to handle every step of your case.

In the legal world, a "divorce" is commonly referred to as a "dissolution of marriage."  If you are planning to file a dissolution of marriage, the following issues are what the courts will look to resolve:

  • Division of Property
  • Spousal Support
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Child Visitation

Some or all of the above items may apply to your situation.  In simple cases, you and your spouse are civil with each other, there are no children involved, and there are only a few assets to deal with; these cases can be handled with relative ease.  Other cases are more complicated and require more effort. 

How to Start

Whether your case is simple or complicated, you will most likely need to hire an attorney to help you with your paperwork, and/or to handle your case.  You can set up an appointment for an initial consultation by calling (714) 558-8841.

An attorney will set your case in motion and guide you though the following steps of getting a divorce:

Step 1)           Filing a petition with the court.  A "petition" is the start of a civil lawsuit between you and your spouse.  The spouse who files the petition with the Court is considered the "petitioner."  The other spouse is considered the "respondent."  A petition lays out the basic premise for your divorce, as well as what the petitioner is seeking to obtain (i.e. property, support payments, custody, etc.).

Step 2)           Serving the court documents.  The opponent in your case is the "respondent". The respondent in your case must be "served."  This is another way of saying that the respondent must be notified of the divorce.  A "processor" is usually hired to personally deliver the court documents to the respondent.  If you and your spouse are on good terms, an "Acknowledgment of Receipt" can be signed by the respondent; instead of having him/her served, he/she signs a document stating he/she has been served.
Step 3)           Waiting for the response.  The respondent in your case can choose to file a response to your petition.  A response can contain items that the respondent does not agree to.  For example, a different view on the property division or custodial times set with the children.  The respondent has thirty (30) days to file a response with the Court.

Step 4)           Working out the details.  Working out the details depends on the complexities in your case.  This usually happens in one of three ways:  One, you and your spouse lay out the terms of your divorce together, and your attorney simply formalizes your agreement.  Two, there are a few issues that you and your spouse do not agree upon, and therefore "mediation" is used to reach an agreement in your case; or, the attorney recommends a division to the Respondent or Respondent’s attorney.  Three, you and your spouse do not agree, in which case your divorce will be handled in a family law court; the attorneys will present the case to a judge in a Family Court trial, and the judge will make a final decision as to the issues in dispute, in accordance with the law.

Step 5)           A judgment is entered.  Once the details of your case are worked out, the court will enter a judgment.  The judgment is a typewritten document that set forth the terms and conditions of your dissolution and is a formal document, enforceable by the Court.  It identifies the date on which you are officially single, and both Petitioner and Respondent are expected to comply with the agreement that was entered with the court.  Depending upon the agreement, this can entail paying child support, dividing property, etc.


Table of Contents
Section 0) Overview: Handling a Divorce Section 5) Spousal Support  
Section 1) What You Should Know First Section 6) Child Custody  
Section 2) Starting Your Divorce Section 7) Child Support  
Section 3) Domestic Violence Section 8) Updating Your Will  
Section 4) Division of Property Section 9) Make An Appointment  

Continue On

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Still have questions? Call: (714) 558-8841