A dissolution (which is another word for divorce) is the process by which a marriage ends. A dissolution inevitably includes a change of the marital status from that of a married person to that of a single person. A dissolution can be done by agreement with your spouse or through contested proceedings.

Whether by agreement or contested proceedings, a court proceeding is required because only a judicial officer can declare a marriage terminated. However, if there is an agreement, the dissolution is uncontested but if there is not an agreement, the dissolution is contested.

When entering into a dissolution, agreement is always the better way. Of course, agreement includes having the parties’ rights and obligations agreed to except for any compromises to which you and your spouse agree. Often, agreement cannot be reached, at least not initially, and a proceeding must be started. Even when agreement is promising, you and your spouse might decide to start the court proceeding to get the “clock rolling” as there is a six month rule delaying termination of your marital status.

In all instances, however, the issue of where to file the dissolution must be decided – in what country, in what state, in what county, and even in which courthouse. The answer to this question depends upon questions of jurisdiction, venue and rules concerning case distribution. In making these determinations, there may be alternative places to start the case, and even in some case, different proceedings started in different places for different objectives.

Upon commencing your case, there will be an initial process by which you will be assigned a judicial officer or a courtroom (which will typically have a judicial officer assigned to it). In the courts, you cannot choose your judicial officer although there are mechanisms for getting a judicial officer removed from your case.

There are several steps to the dissolution process, whether by contested or uncontested proceedings. Ultimately, there will be a judgment entered, including the termination of your marriage, whether by a stipulated judgment (uncontested dissolution) or a judgment after a trial (contested dissolution).

There are many ways to obtain assistance through this process. There are self-help clinics, non-profit organizations, private attorneys, tax-payer based family law services, mental health professionals, mediators, arbitrators, parenting coaches, accountants, friends, family, internet resources, books, periodicals, State Bar of California resources, document preparers, school officials, and law enforcement agencies.

We are private attorneys and we are a boutique family law and litigation firm in Sherman Oaks, California serving clients from border to border. We appear both in state and federal courts. We are appear in both trial courts and appellate courts. Should you wish our assistance, please call us. We would be honored to help you.