Fresno Family Law Attorneys

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Divorce

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Filing for Divorce in Fresno County?

Get a Divorce Consultation: (559) 900-1263

Whatever your circumstances, you can find personalized and caring legal support at the Arnold Law Group. Our lawyers bring decades of proven insights and experience in divorce and family law in Fresno and across the Bay Area.


Why Choose Our Divorce Lawyers?

Our results-oriented team has much to offer, including:

  • 30+ years of collective legal experience
  • Legal strategies custom-tailored to your needs and goals
  • Our commitment to keep you informed at every step
  • A proven track record of 1,000s of positive resolutions

We work hard to help our clients find balanced and fair solutions to their divorces in a timely manner. Let our team help you move forward to the next chapter of your life with confidence.

Whether you are thinking about filing for divorce or have already been served with divorce papers, let's discuss your situation and what your next steps could be.

Ready to find answers? Request your case evaluation online or call (559) 900-1263 today.

Support Through Each Step of Your Divorce Case

Deciding to end a marriage is never easy. There are numerous decisions that must be resolved, including what happens to joint assets, how to divide time with your children, and many other considerations.

Our lawyers in are prepared to assist clients with all aspects of divorce:

We understand how difficult divorce can be, especially if you have children or complex assets. When you're going through one of the most difficult moments in your life, turn to our experienced family law team for trusted guidance and support.

From negotiation all the way to litigation, you'll find a team of trusted advocates and allies who can protect you and help you ease the pain and stress of your divorce.

California Divorce Requirements

Couple getting divorced

You can request a judgment of dissolution of marriage (a divorce) if you meet the state's residency requirements. If you have any questions regarding the dissolution of marriage or need assistance through the divorce process, do not hesitate to contact our firm at once.

We can guide you through the divorce and help resolve complex matters, including that of child custody.

Residency requirements for filing for divorce in California include:

  • One party must be a resident of the state for six months or more immediately before filing
  • One party must have been a resident of the county for a minimum of three months before filing

How long does it take to divorce in California?

  • California has a mandatory six-month waiting period (from the date the papers are served) before a divorce can be finalized. During this waiting period, you and your spouse should try and come to an agreement on issues in the marriage. When six months have passed, a judge will review your settlement and sign off on the divorce. If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement, you will need to notify the court and proceed toward a trial to settle any outstanding disputes.

Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce

Every person's divorce case will be drastically different from all others. With the many relationships among family members, you will need to have a tailored case strategy. Our firm handles both contested and uncontested divorce cases, which involve different elements.

  • Uncontested Divorce Cases: The divorce process is often complex but it does not have to be filled with aggravation and dispute. If you choose to pursue an uncontested divorce case, you can experience many advantages, including salvaging relationships for a brighter future and avoiding additional court expenses.
  • Contested Divorce Cases: Divorces that are contested involve couples who cannot reach any significant agreement and therefore need to go to trial. If disputes arise in your divorce, we can help you navigate the matter and reach a positive resolution.

California Grounds for Divorce

California family law code dictates that divorce can be granted on one of two grounds:

  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Incurable insanity

Unlike other states, California is a no-fault divorce state. This means that as long as one party claims irreconcilable differences, then a divorce can be granted. If you claim irreconcilable differences, you are not required to provide any proof of said differences. Even if your spouse claims that those differences don’t exist, the court can still grant your divorce. Courts in California don’t concern themselves with determining who is responsible for the irreconcilable differences.

On the other hand, if you claim that your spouse is incurably insane, then you do have to provide proof of that. This could be medical records or psychiatric testimony.

At Arnold Law Group, APC, we can help you navigate the California divorce process!

How to File for Divorce in California

Whether this is your first time considering the notion of the divorce, or you’re ready to begin the process, the idea of taking the necessary steps to file for divorce is overwhelming and confusing, especially since it comes with a host of emotions that have nothing to do with filling out paperwork. It is even more difficult if you and your spouse have not mutually agreed to go through with it.

The reality is that you’re about to embark on a journey that may be the most difficult thing you have ever done, but it also just may be the best thing. You don’t have to be ready to officially go down this road, but we want to help you weed through the confusing legal jargon so that you can understand just what you would need to do to get the ball rolling.

First and foremost, you don’t have to do this alone. Arnold Law Group, APC can walk you through every step of the legal process as a knowledgeable, compassionate advocate and let you worry about what is most important to you and your family during this time. Serving Madera, Kings, and Tulare counties. Contact us today.

Where and What Do I File?

If you and your spouse have lived in Fresno for at least three months, and have been California residents for at least six months, you will be filing your divorce papers with the Fresno County Superior Court. It’s located at 1130 O Street by the Eaton Plaza.

If you are filing alone, the documents you will need to complete include:

  • Summons (FL-110) – This is a notice to your spouse that you are filing for divorce, “summoning” them to respond
  • Petition (FL-100) – This is a notice to the courts that you are filing for divorce
  • Declaration Under UCCJEA (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act) (FL-105) – This is only necessary if you and your spouse have minor children, and its purpose is to ensure all children are accounted for in custody arrangements
  • Declaration of Disclosure (FL-140) – This is to legally verify that you have disclosed any and all assets through the following two forms.
  • Schedule of Assets and Debts (FL-142) – This is where you will disclose all of your assets and debts
  • Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150) – This is where you disclose all of your income sources and average monthly expenses
  • Proof of Service of Summons (FL 115) – This is a notice to the courts that your spouse has been served your summons. You cannot personally serve your spouse; a third party over the age of 18 must serve these papers. He or she will complete this form.
  • Response (FL 120) – This will be completed by your spouse after he or she has been served

You can find these forms on the website of the Fresno Superior Court, along with step-by-step instructions for completing each one. Of course, one of our divorce lawyers can also walk you through each form to make sure there are no errors that might cause headaches later.

How Do I Serve My Spouse Divorce Papers?

Now that you’ve gotten through the first rough step of completing all of this paperwork, the next step is possibly even harder. Not “hard” in the “I have a daunting amount of work to do” kind of way, but in the more emotionally trying sense of the term. Even though your divorce won’t be final until the judgement papers have been signed, sealed, and delivered, this step is often the one that there’s no coming back from. Don’t let this deter you, however, as you’ve gotten this far for a reason and you know it’s for the best.

So how do you go about getting your divorce papers served to your spouse?

Anyone – other than yourself – who is over the age of 18 can serve your spouse the papers, including a friend or family member. What if you aren’t ready to tell anyone? What if you don’t want to put anyone who may have a mutual investment in both you and your spouse in the middle of it all? You can hire a law enforcement officer or process server to deliver the papers.

What if My Spouse Won’t Sign the Papers?

If you’re here, you know by now that life doesn’t always work out the way it’s depicted in movies. The concept of “refusing to sign the divorce papers” is as romanticized as “happily ever after.” It is true that you and your spouse both have to be on board and sign the papers in order to pursue an uncontested divorce, however, your spouse does not actually have to participate in a divorce. It will simply be considered a contested divorce and follow a different process.

California is a “no fault” state, which means you don’t have to cite a reason for filing for divorce – which also means your spouse cannot refute it. By petitioning for a divorce without your spouse and serving the papers, you have already begun the process and have legally required your spouse to respond by a certain date. If he or she does not respond by the time specified, the divorce will actually be granted by default.

At that time, your spouse will have the opportunity to get involved and participate in the proceedings, but ultimately, if you legally pursue a divorce, your spouse cannot keep you from getting it.

Unfortunately, this is only the beginning. While some people are able to communicate, collaborate, and negotiate their way through a smooth and steady divorce, others find the process much more difficult. What comes next will depend on your openness and your ability to keep a cool head – both of which, we understand, will be very difficult.

That’s where we come in. While you may be able to represent yourself throughout the process, you might find it difficult to take a rational approach among the flurry of emotions involved. Having a legal advocate, who both knows what is necessary and understands the emotional toll it takes, can help you make sound, informed decisions. Going it alone is not recommended.

What Should I Expect During a Divorce?

At the Arnold Law Group, APC in Fresno, our compassionate divorce lawyers want you to feel comfortable during each step of your divorce and are dedicated to achieving your satisfaction. We want to include you in every step along the way, ensuring that you know what is happening at all times and what to expect when everything is resolved. By providing top-notch client service to you, we can help you prepare and get through the divorce process.

Call (559) 900-1263 today to request a consultation and start learning about the divorce process.

Making Sense of the Divorce Process for You

Although a divorce can be quite complicated and involve any number of specific assets, there are a few general steps to follow:

1. Check your eligibility: Before you can file for divorce in California, you need to meet certain residency requirements. You may also need to double-check which jurisdictions you can file for divorce in.

2. Choose your divorce option: There is more than one way to dissolve your marriage. Being able to choose the appropriate method often requires the assistance of a professional divorce attorney.

3. Divide your property: Everything you have acquired during your marriage will need to be fairly split between you and your spouse. Property division disputes are one of the leading reasons your divorce could become contested. It is highly recommended that you use a Fresno divorce lawyer to act as a mediator for this step.

4. Set up alimony payments: Depending on who was earning more money during your marriage, you might be eligible for spousal support or have to pay it.

5. Take care of your children: Child custody and child support are two more hotly contested issues during a divorce but they cannot be skimmed over. You will want to set aside some time to figure out fair resolutions to these subjects. If you cannot come to an agreement, you will need a Fresno child custody attorney to fight for your rights as a parent.

What to Expect in a Divorce with Children

When children are involved in a divorce case, you will want to ensure that you have a clear understanding of what is ahead. Especially if your divorce case is contested or you are dealing with complex child custody matters under California law, you should speak with our firm at once.

As you communicate with your lawyer, you will need to discuss the issue of joint custody so that you and the other parent can have regular contact with the children. Joint custody does not necessarily mean that it will be a 50-50 arrangement, even though that is the objective so that the child can have equal time with both parents.

When it comes to child support, California correlates the amount paid and received with the parenting time. Many factors will be assessed when child support is being determined, especially who makes the most money and is in a better financial position.

A divorce can take time, patience, and a thorough understanding of the law. In order to make certain that you are taking the right steps and not having your rights ignored by your spouse, you need to work with a divorce attorney from the Arnold Law Group, APC in Fresno, California. Throughout our years of practicing family law, we have successfully handled thousands of divorce cases for our clients all across Tulare, Kings, and Madera counties.

Get 30+ Years' Family Law Experience on Your Side. Contact Us Today.

The court will need to consider many different factors when a couple decides to terminate their marriage. You should not navigate any family law legal process on your own. At Arnold Law Group, APC, our lawyers can take action to protect your rights and ensure that your children's best interests remain the priority concern of the court. Whether you are divorcing in Madera, Tulare, or Fresno counties, we are ready to help you.

Fill out a case evaluation form or call to speak with our divorce attorneys in Fresno for assistance!