The Pretrial Phase of the Divorce Process

California has a relatively complex and cumbersome divorce process that starts with what is known as the pretrial phase. The term refers to the period of time between when you first file for divorce and before you finally arrive at a settlement. The period, also referred to pendente lite in Latin, is an important part of the divorce process because many of the actions taken during this phase have a major impact on the final judgment in the case.

In California, pretrial to a divorce typically begins with the judge ordering both parties to attend a pretrial conference. State law requires both spouses and their lawyers to attend a mandatory "4-way meeting" before the pretrial conference to see if there are any issues that can be mutually resolved outside court. Once the 4-way meeting is completed, the divorce attorney for each spouse must file a memorandum with the court, clearly outlining the positions of each spouse. The pretrial conference memorandum offers an opportunity for each spouse to convince the judge how to rule in the case.

The judge presiding over the divorce proceedings then reviews each pretrial memorandum and attempts, one final time, to get the two spouses to come to some kind of mutual agreement. If the two sides are unable to come to an understanding, the judge will try and limit the number of issues that can be brought to trial and then set a trial date. Typically, the judge will also a pre-trial order explaining key deadlines and other requirements for trial.

To learn more about the divorce process in Westlake Village, California, and surrounding communities contact a divorce attorney at Richard Ross Associates.

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