California has a "no-fault" divorce system, which means that a dissolution can be granted if the court finds "irreconcilable differences" as the cause of the divorce. A requirement to dissolution is that one spouse must be a resident of California for 6 continuous months and of the county for a continuous 3-months prior to filing the Petition.
Dissolution takes place after six months and a day have passed since the Summons and Petition have effectively been served in the Respondent. Generally one spouse requests temporary court orders by filing for an Order to Show Cause hearing.
Discovery is then engaged in. During discovery, the parties exchange documents and information that is relevant to the case. A Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure is one aspect of discovery. This document is a court form which each party is required to list the community and separate property of the spouses. Following discovery, the parties and their attorneys will often attempt to settle the case without incurring the expenses of trial. If the case is agreed upon at this stage, a Marital Settlement Agreement will be prepared by an attorney. This agreement will have all the essential terms that the parties agreed on. The agreement is a contract which is signed by the parties and their counsel. In the event that a settlement is not reached then the parties attend a settlement conference, if the parties still can not reach a settlement, then a trial will likely take place.
For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at http://www.familylawmarin.com/