Getting a divorce in Los Angeles

Celebs have access to high-octane lawyers–but what about the rest of us?

April 20, 2011

By Mike Hinshaw

Divorce often becomes–or devolves into–celebrity news in Los Angeles because of the often volatile mix of movie stars, famous athletes from equally storied professional sports teams and the ever-present paparazzi.

For example, Bloomberg reported today that, “Major League Baseball will appoint someone to oversee business and day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers as divorced owners Frank and Jamie McCourt argue over how to divide the team.

“ ‘I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball,’ Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement released by MLB.”

Even Michael Douglas, who has been remarried for years to Catherine Zeta-Jones, is back in the glare: his ex-wife wants a slice of the pie from the “Wall Street” sequel because she was awarded money from the original movie a decade ago.

Resources for the ‘rest of us’

But regular people get divorced in LA, too–people who need legal help, family counseling and other services. Fortunately, the LA Superior Court maintains an excellent Web site, with many good resources for anyone beginning the often-painful process of divorce.

According to the site:

Dissolution Of Marriage (Divorce)

This action can be filed by a married person to end the marital relationship between a husband and wife. Along with restoring the parties to single status, the Court will issue orders for custody and visitation of the minor children of the marriage, child support, spousal support, and confirm or divide community and separate property assets and debts.

Once an action is filed by a Petitioner, the other party, Respondent, must be personally served with specific paperwork. If the Respondent fails to file the necessary responding paperwork within thirty (30) days of service, the Petitioner may request an entry of default. Once the default is entered, the Petitioner can complete the divorce proceeding without the participation of the Respondent.

If the Respondent files the necessary responding paperwork, the case will then proceed as either a contested matter or an uncontested matter.

Respondent can elevate separation into divorce

Furthermore, notice by the Petitioner of a legal separation can be turned into divorce proceedings with the appropriate filing by the Respondent.

Also, the Family Law Information Center (FLIC) “provides family law information, referral, and assistance to the public” if the person has no lawyer. However, FLIC can not act as an advocate (legal counsel) for either party.

Remember, legal experts and court officials recommend that anyone contemplating or undergoing divorce proceedings to hire an experienced, trained attorney.

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And that’s where we can help. If you’re ready to begin the search for a compatible, well trained, experienced divorce attorney, you can start with our free case evaluation. If you need more information, please browse our site, using the tabs at the top of the page.

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