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Los Angeles County Divorce Information

Thinking of Filing for Divorce? Call (323) 212-5599 for a Consultation.

Going through a divorce is a stressful situation that affects not only the couple involved, but the entire family. During such a difficult and overwhelming time, it is important to hire an attorney who can help you navigate the complicated legal issues as your family changes.

Why Choose Our Attorneys?

  • We bring 50+ years’ shared experience to your case
  • Free, private, no-obligation consultation
  • Spanish-speaking lead divorce lawyer
  • Our team offers compassionate legal support
  • We charge reasonable fees with no surprises

At Castellanos & Associates, APLC, our family law practice combines legal knowledge and compassionate advocacy with close personal service. We have set our firm apart for over 20 years by providing high-quality legal divorce representation in Los Angeles that is affordable for every client.

Call (323) 212-5599 or contact us online to request your free case review.
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Divorce Cases We Handle

If you are considering divorce in Southern California, then our team of attorneys can help you navigate any divorce-related matter including but not limited to:

Maybe you’re not sure about divorce. Perhaps legal separation is a better choice for you. Or maybe you have questions about how a lawyer can help with your child custody, visitation, or support matter. With more than 50 years of combined legal experience, our attorneys have the experience and record of legal success that you can depend on. We offer our services in both English and Spanish, and can even visit you for meetings in the comfort of your own home.


Los Angeles Divorce FAQ

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Divorce?

While it is possible to represent yourself in a divorce, it is highly recommended that you hire a divorce attorney in Los Angeles. This is because divorce / dissolution is a very complex legal process and mistakes can have significant and lasting consequences. If you are getting a divorce, a divorce lawyer is necessary to ensure that the forms are correctly filled out and properly filed and that your interests are aggressively fought for at your court dates.

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What Are Grounds for Divorce in California?

Historically, before 1969, there were “fault” based grounds available to obtain a divorce in California. For example, before the California legislature enacted the Family Law Act in 1969, a spouse could get a divorce by proving the other spouse was guilty of adultery, extreme cruelty (resulting in grievous bodily injury or grievous mental suffering), willful desertion, willful neglect, or habitual intemperance, or if the other spouse was convicted of a felony, or was incurably insane.

The emphasis on proving “fault” to get a divorce in California added to the bitterness between the spouses and sometimes even motivated spouses to divorce. This was especially true because a trial court had discretion, by statute, to award a so-called “innocent” spouse with more than half of the community property from the marital estate if it was proven that the divorce was based on adultery, extreme cruelty, or incurable insanity.

Thankfully, California has done away with the “fault” based concept of divorce in California. Today, people will generally use one of the two grounds available for getting a divorce or a judgment for marital dissolution in California:

  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Incurable insanity

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What are the residency requirements for divorce in California?

Family Code § 2320 (a) requires that at least one party to the marriage must have:

  • Lived in California for at least six (6) months; and
  • Lived in the county where the case will be filed for three (3) months before the filing of the petition.

There is no residency requirement for a nullity or legal separation case. There is also no residency requirement for a California-registered domestic partnership. However, an out-of-state domestic partnership may be subject to the residency requirement in California when dissolving a domestic partnership that was established out of state.

Spouses who do not satisfy the residence requirements but who want to pursue divorce without delay have the option of filing for legal separation (as to which there is no minimum residence prerequisite) and then amending the petition to request a dissolution once the residence requirements are satisfied. In essence, spouses do not have to wait for the residency requirements to start their divorce case.

While the court cannot enter a judgment dissolving the marriage until the six-months/three-months residency requirements are met, it can immediately act on the petition for legal separation to make temporary orders regarding custody, visitations, child support and spousal support.

Lastly, serving the legal separation petition will also start the clock on the six-month "waiting period," which is the soonest that the parties could get divorced once a case has commenced.

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How Do I File for Divorce in Los Angeles County?

To file for divorce in Los Angeles County, you will need to follow these steps:

  • Fill out the divorce forms - You will need FL-100 Petition and FL-110 Summons (also FL-105/GC-120 and FL-311, if you have children with your spouse). You can download the divorce forms or pick up divorce paperwork from the courthouse.
  • Review your paperwork - Make sure there are no errors and that all necessary information has been provided. This is an excellent reason to have a divorce attorney in Los Angeles when filing for divorce.
  • Make two (2) copies of all forms - One copy is for you, one is for your spouse, and one is for the court.
  • File your divorce papers - File your divorce papers at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse and pay the $435 filing fee for dissolution in Los Angeles County.
  • Serve your spouse - Someone age 18 or older (not yourself) must give or "serve" copies of the divorce papers to your spouse. This can be done by a friend or relative, but is often handled by a sheriff's deputy or process server. "Proof of service" (form FL-115) must be provided to the court.

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How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Los Angeles?

Due to the mandatory waiting period for divorce in California, the fastest you can get divorce in Los Angeles County is 6 months. That does not mean that your divorce will only take 6 months, however; most divorces take longer, especially if they are contested and involve court dates for litigation. Speak with a Los Angeles divorce attorney at Castellanos & Associates, APLC to get a more accurate idea of how long your divorce might take in L.A. County.

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How Much Does it Cost to Get a Divorce in Los Angeles County?

In Los Angeles County, it costs $435 to file for divorce. The fee to file a response is also $435. This is not the final cost, however, since no two divorce cases are the same. You will need to pay additional filing fees, court fees, and attorney fees before your divorce is finalized. Speak with an attorney about your situation in order to get a more accurate idea of how much your divorce in Los Angeles will cost.

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What Is "Dissolution of Marriage" and How Is It Different from Divorce?

In California, "summary dissolution" is a simpler way to get a divorce. By getting a summary dissolution in Los Angeles, you will not need to talk to a judge. You will also not be required to hire a lawyer, but even the California Courts emphasize how important it is to consult a divorce lawyer if you are looking to end your marriage.

To qualify for a summary dissolution, you must meet these requirements:

  • Married for less than 5 years
  • No children together (including adopted and unborn)
  • No land or real buildings owned
  • No land or buildings rented (current residence excluded)
  • No more than $6,000 in debt owed since date of marriage (car loans excluded)
  • Less than $45,000 in community property acquired during marriage
  • Less than $45,000 in separate property (cars excluded)
  • In agreement that there will be no spousal support
  • Signed agreement that includes division of property, cars, and debts
Return to Questions

What Is the Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce?

In California, legal separation allows you to live separate and apart while remaining legally married, while divorce / dissolution puts a final, legal end to your marriage.

Return to Questions

Is It Okay to Use Social Media During My Divorce?

As Los Angeles divorce lawyers, we can tell you that there has been an increase in the use of social media as a source for obtaining evidence against an opposing spouse or party during divorce proceedings. As a result, we would rather not have clients using Facebook, Twitter and other social media during their family law cases to avoid posts, comments, and embarrassing moments caught on Facebook being used against against them.

Family Lawyer Magazine has published a terrific article on the use of Social Media during divorce proceedings entitled “Social Media In Divorce Proceedings,” written by Judge Michele Lowrance and Pamela J. Hutul. Also, in a study published by the University of Birmingham, we learned that information-sharing on Facebook could end some relationships.

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Contact Castellanos & Associates, APLC

At Castellanos & Associates, APLC, we are committed to providing the most affordable and highest quality legal representation in family law in Los Angeles. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your family law matters with one of our friendly and knowledgeable attorneys. We look forward to serving you.

Castellanos & Associates, APLC wants to help you understand your situation and your options before retaining legal counsel. Contact us online or call (323) 212-5599 today to schedule a FREE consultation with no time limit!

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