Steps to Take to Prepare for Divorce

By Law Office of Karen S. Brown

No one expects to get divorced when they say yes to marriage. Even if you are the one filing for divorce, you may not be prepared for the emotional process or legal complexities.

As you plan for your divorce, it’s important to be empowered with accurate and helpful information. You can consult with an experienced divorce attorney to help you during this difficult time and complex process.

Karen S. Brown is a Certified Legal Specialist in Family Law, a designation awarded to her by the State Bar of California. She has undergone extensive legal training to illustrate that she is uniquely well-qualified to handle family law concerns in California. She can help you through every step of your divorce. The Law Office of Karen S. Brown is proud to serve clients in Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and the nearby areas.

Deciding on The Type of Divorce

In Los Angeles County and throughout California, there are generally two types of divorce that you can pursue: contested and uncontested. Knowing the basics of each type will help you begin this process.


In a contested divorce, the spouses do not agree with what each other is asking for. Spouses may agree on some aspects, such as property division, but not on others, such as child custody. Contested divorces can take a longer period of time to finalize as the court will need to make decisions on the issues that are contested.


In an uncontested divorce, both spouses work out the agreement with each other. They agree upon how property and debt will be divided, how spousal support (alimony) will be arranged, and if the couple has children, they agree on child custody and child support arrangements. This written agreement is submitted to the court for approval. A collaborative divorce can take less time and may be more private than other types of divorce.

The California Divorce Process

Several steps make up the California divorce process. It’s important to keep in mind that these steps may change depending on the type of divorce you are pursuing.

These are the basic steps of the California divorce process:

  • Petitioner chooses between a divorce, legal separation, or annulment, and answers key questions

  • Petitioner can attempt to work out terms with their spouse

  • Petitioner completes all of the appropriate forms

  • Petitioner files the forms with the court

  • Other spouse is served with the forms

  • Other spouse decides on a response

  • Petitioner receives a copy of the other spouse’s response

  • Spouses exchange their financial documents

  • Court approves the petition for divorce and awards a judgment

These are the basic steps of the divorce process; however, they can change depending on the type of divorce.

How Long the Process Takes

The length of the divorce process will depend on the circumstances. For example, if children are involved, if either spouse owns significant assets, or if there are conflicts, then these factors could make the divorce process lengthy.

In California, there is a six-month waiting period. The divorce will not be finalized until at least six months after the spouse receives the petitioner’s paperwork.

How a Knowledgeable Attorney Can Help

Divorce can be complicated and emotionally difficult to navigate on your own. As a Certified Legal Specialist in Family Law with over 45 years of experience in California law, Karen S. Brown is highly-qualified to represent your best interests. The Law Office of Karen S. Brown serves clients in Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and the nearby areas. Contact the firm today to schedule a free consultation.