"My Spouse Wants a Divorce - I've Been Served with a Petition for Dissolution, What do I do Now?" By Lance Claery, Partner at Los Angeles and San Diego Law firm Claery & Green, LLP

If you have been served with a California petition for dissolution of your marriage (divorce), you are likely wondering what you need to do. It is imperative that you respond to the petition in a timely manner and that your response is filed and served properly. Otherwise, you will be at risk of being defaulted. This means that the petitioner may obtain orders in your absence (a Default Judgment); and they will likely be unfair orders. It is imperative to take a proactive approach in any litigation you are involved in. In addition to properly filing a response, you may want to pursue temporary orders to address issues while the divorce process occurs. This is especially important if you need temporary child custody and child support orders, spousal support orders, an order for exclusive use and possession of the home you and your spouse live in or an order for any other issue that must be addressed promptly. To obtain these orders an Order to Show Cause request must be filed with the court.

A divorce will ultimately result in final orders set forth in a Judgment. These orders will dissolve the marriage and the issues related to the marriage. These issues include child custody, child support, spousal support, division of the marital assets and debts and many other issues. The paperwork filed with the court must be prepared properly, filed timely and served in the correct manner. In addition the discovery process may be initiated to investigate the existence and value of assets, debts, the opposing party's income and compensation and to uncover the opposing party's position regarding the issues, among other things.

It is critical to avoid a passive, "wait and see," approach in a dissolution. Do not rely on the opposing party's advice on what you are entitled to. Also, keep in mind that if your spouse has an attorney, that lawyer is advocating for your spouse and only your spouse. The best approach is to immediately consult with an attorney. If you feel comfortable with that attorney, he or she can help you get through this difficult time. An attorney will make sure your documents are prepared properly and filed and served in a timely manner. Most importantly, you will be advised as to your rights and what you are entitled to. You make the decisions; however you should be well informed throughout the process.

It is essential to have a divorce lawyer who is your partner during this temporary time in your life and who is passionate about family law and dedicated to making sure you feel like you have an aggressive team of advocates on your side. It is important not to feel alone during the emotionally charged and stressful divorce process.

Lance Claery, Partner
Attorney at Law
Claery & Green, LLP

Author's Bio: 

Author's Bio:
Attorney Lance Claery, a partner at Claery & Green, LLP, has been successfully practicing family law for more than 10 years. He has worked with a diverse client base ranging from multi-millionaires to low income, modest means clients. He started his career as an attorney working with one of Southern California's most experienced family law attorneys. Thereafter, Mr. Claery began working for one of Southern California's busiest and most prestigious law firms. He was made a partner of that firm very quickly and has since worked on hundreds of divorces and other family law matters. Mr. Claery has handled trials, depositions, arbitrations, mediations, hearings and emergency hearings with success. During law school, he worked with a bright, fair and aggressive family law attorney; this is when he discovered that family law was his calling. Helping individuals and families has always been a passion for Mr. Claery. He participated in the University of Maryland's internship program with the well known Hope Housing project. Here, he was able to help families in the poorest sections of Washington, D.C. work together to develop enrichment programs for children in a cooperative setting.

Mr. Claery's commitment to an open line of communication with his firm's clients sets him apart from other attorneys. He is adamant that his clients are able to reach him and members of his firm when they are needed. Mr. Claery truly cares for each and every one of his firm's clients. Family law issues are oftentimes very stressful. He ensures that his firm's clients know they have a team at Claery and Green advocating for them and only them. At Claery and Green their clients come first.

In addition to family law, Mr. Claery has notable federal and administrative law experience. He is admitted to the United States District Court and has zealously handled and worked on security clearance matters across the country. Mr. Claery's other accomplishments include making the Dean's List at the University of Maryland, and acquiring both series seven and series sixty six licenses; this experience has helped him understand all types of assets and investments. He is a member of the California BAR Association and the Washington, D.C. BAR Association as well as the Los Angeles County and San Diego County BAR Associations.