The first step is to file a divorce petition and serve the other spouse, known as the respondent. The respondent has thirty days to respond to the petition and then you will go through the process of exchanging information and documents that are relevant to the divorce. Important paperwork during this discovery period includes the Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure, which is a court form that allows each spouse to list their community and separate property. As a part of this disclosure you will also be required to exchange income and expense information. Once the discovery period is over, you will discuss the case with your attorney and go into negotiations.
If you can easily come to an agreement then a Marital Settlement Agreement will be filed, which will include all of the terms of the agreement. If, however, you cannot agree on all of the issues of the case, then you will go to trial. Once an agreement is settled, or the trial concludes, one of the attorneys will prepare a Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage that contains all of the court’s orders.