How to get a divorce in California
It is difficult to get specific information about divorce, especially without some sort of legal help. There are various ways that you can obtain help. This blog will give you some idea as to the type of legal help that is available to you.
If you intend on filing for divorce, the first thing you need to decide is whether you want to hire a divorce lawyer. If you do, find yourself a good one and the rest of the process will be much easier. The lawyer will interview you, fill out all the divorce papers for you, file them, have them served for you, advise you and walk you through the process every step of the way.
The best way to find a good attorney is to ask people you know who have gone through the divorce process if they can recommend one to you. The next best way would be to obtain a referral from a legitimate lawyer referral service. Beware of a common mistake: do not hire an attorney because it is convenient or you feel pressured. Only hire someone that you feel comfortable talking to, and one that you believe is able to clearly explain to you what you can expect, as well as what your rights are. Divorce is confusing, and stressful. You need to have someone by your side that you can talk to and trust. Sadly, many attorneys will not take the time it takes to talk to their clients and answer their questions.
Whether you need an attorney depends on how complicated you case is. Chances are if your divorce invovles children, you own a home, there is domestic violence in the marriage, or your spouse gets an attorney, you will need your own attorney, as well.
Some people do not have the option of hiring help. Even if a person cannot afford a lawyer, there are options available to the general public. The next best option would be to hire a paralegal. The difference between a paralegal and an attorney is that a paralegal did not go to law school, cannot give legal advise, and cannot go to court with you. However, a paralegal can help you prepare the papers. He or she will usually file the paperwork for you, and will help you get your spouse served.
In cases where you do not have the money to hire an attorney, or where the parties have already agreed to the terms of a simple divorce, a paralegal is sometimes the best option. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find a good paralegal. The industry has a reputation for being unreliable. There are good, competent paralegals that exist. The trick is to find one. Once again, your best bet is probably to ask people you know who have gone through the process to recommend one.
If hiring a lawyer or hiring a paralegal is not an option, you will have to file the paperwork on your own. There are on-line services that assist in filling out the papers. There are also several good books sold at your local bookstore for a nominal fee. Finally, most courts have a family law help office. This is also a free service. They will be able to tell you what forms to use and they will tell you how to file for divorce.