Divorce Lawyer in Westlake Village, CA

Starting the Divorce Process

Divorce is one of the most stressful and emotional experiences a person may ever go through. For this reason, you must be sure to retain a caring and experienced Westlake Village divorce attorney if you are looking to end your marriage. Even when a marriage beyond repair, it can be very traumatizing and emotionally difficult to end such an integral part of your life.

Speak with a member of our legal team at Richard Ross Associates in Westlake Village today to discuss your case. Call (805) 777-1011.

Divorce Practice Areas

Attorney Richard Ross has more than 40 years of experience in family law and can provide exceptional guidance and representation for any divorce or legal separation case, including same-sex divorces. Our Thousand Oaks firm can assist you in a contested divorce case or can provide counsel as you and your spouse pursue an uncontested divorce through collaborative law. Additionally, we can assist you with any residency requirements and other legal parameters that apply specifically to your divorce.

We can help you draft a thorough divorce agreement that covers all the necessary details, including:

We can also aggressively litigate and zealously advocate on your behalf in the event that your divorce is contested.

Searching for a Thousand Oaks Divorce Lawyer?

Our divorce lawyers at Richard Ross Associates serve clients in both West Village and Thousand Oaks, CA. Contact our office to learn more about our firm and how we can handle your divorce or same-sex divorce case. Our team focuses on the needs of the client and will go the extra mile to help you through this difficult legal process. Also, Attorney Richard Ross is a California State Board-Certified Family Law specialist with proven knowledge, skill, courtroom experience, and success in divorce cases of all kinds. You can have confidence in the quality of your attorney when you choose the Ventura County firm of Richard Ross Associates.

Richard Ross Associates proudly serves the cities of Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks, as well as Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Lake Sherwood, Moorpark, Oak Park, Oxnard, Stevenson Ranch, and Woodland Hills.

Set up a case evaluation with a Thousand Oaks family law attorney right away!

Divorce in Westlake Village & Thousand Oaks, CA

The Divorce Process in California

Any divorce starts with a court filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage that states your intention to end your marriage. The paperwork must then be served on your soon-to-be ex for them to respond if he or she chooses to do so. Temporary orders may then be sought and will usually be issued by the judge. Financial disclosures discussing each party's income and assets must be exchanged by spouses. Discovery will then usually occur to obtain all relevant information. When you and your ex come to an agreement on all important matters, a settlement agreement can be prepared and signed so that your divorce can be finalized. When a voluntary settlement cannot be reached, your case will have to proceed to a mandatory settlement conference, and if not settled there, to a trial before a family law judge. At the trial, the judge will hear testimony from the parties and witnesses, review admissible evidence offered, and make a ruling. A final judgment will then be prepared. Your divorce will be finalized after the judge signs the final Judgment.

Divorce FAQ

What is the Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in California?

In a divorce in California, a wife is entitled to a share of the marital assets, including property, debt, and retirement accounts. The amount of the wife's claim will be determined by many factors, including the length of the marriage, the income of each spouse, and the contributions of each spouse to the marriage. 

In addition to a share of the marital assets, a wife may also be entitled to alimony, also known as spousal support. 

  • Alimony is a payment made by one spouse to the other to help support the less financially secure spouse. 

The amount of alimony and the duration of alimony will be determined by many factors, including the length of the marriage, the income of each spouse, and the needs of each spouse. Finally, a wife may also be entitled to child support.

  • Child support is a payment made by one parent to the other to help support the children of the marriage. The amount of child support and the duration of child support will be determined by several factors, including each parent's income, the children's needs, and the time each parent spends with the children. 

It is important to note that the law in California does not make any distinctions between husbands and wives in a divorce. 

Therefore, the same rules apply to both spouses, regardless of gender. 

If you are considering divorce, speaking with our attorney to discuss your situation and understand your rights is essential. 

Our Westlake Village divorce attorney can help you negotiate a fair divorce settlement and represent you in court if necessary.

How to File for Divorce in Ventura County

Filing for divorce in Ventura County, California, involves several steps. Here's a general overview of the process:

  1. Residency Requirements: Before filing for divorce in Ventura County, you or your spouse must meet California's residency requirements. One of you must have lived in California for at least six months and in Ventura County for at least three months.
  2. Legal Grounds: California is a no-fault divorce state, which means you don't need to prove that one party is at fault for the divorce. You can simply cite "irreconcilable differences."
  3. Prepare Divorce Forms: Obtain the necessary divorce forms from the Ventura County Superior Court or their website. These forms typically include the Petition for Divorce (FL-100) and Summons (FL-110), among others.
  4. Complete Forms: Fill out the divorce forms accurately. You'll need to provide information about your marriage, assets, debts, and any child-related issues if applicable.
  5. File Forms: File the completed forms with the Ventura County Superior Court. You'll need to pay a filing fee, but fee waivers may be available for those with financial hardship.
  6. Serve Your Spouse: Serve a copy of the filed divorce forms to your spouse. Proper service is essential to ensure they have notice of the divorce proceedings.
  7. Response: Your spouse has a specific amount of time to respond to the divorce petition. If they don't respond, you can proceed with an uncontested divorce.
  8. Negotiate Settlement: If there are unresolved issues, you and your spouse can negotiate a settlement. You may want to consider mediation or collaborative divorce to facilitate this process.
  9. Court Hearings: Attend any required court hearings. The judge will review your settlement agreement and issue a divorce decree if everything is in order.

Filing for divorce in Ventura County, California, can be a complex and emotional process. Seeking legal counsel from an experienced Westlake Village divorce lawyer at Richard Ross Associates is advisable to ensure your rights are protected, and the process is conducted correctly. They can guide you through each step, helping to make the process as smooth as possible.

How long does a typical divorce process take?

While every divorce case is unique, it's generally important to know that a divorce in California can take anywhere from six months to a few years to finalize. The duration often depends on the complexity of the case, the cooperation of both parties, and the capacity of the court. Our team at Richard Ross Associates will strive to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible, keeping your best interests at the forefront.

How is child custody determined in a Divorce?

In California, the courts base their custody decisions on what they believe to be the "best interest" of the child. Factors considered include the child's health, safety, welfare, and the nature and amount of contact with both parents. Our Westlake Village divorce lawyers are committed to helping our clients navigate the child custody process with sensitivity and dedication.

What is the difference between community property and separate property?

California is a community property state, which means all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are generally considered equally owned by both parties. Separate property includes anything owned before the marriage, gifts, or inheritances received by one spouse during the marriage. Here at Richard Ross Associates, we can help you identify and properly classify your assets and debts during the divorce process.

Do I really need a lawyer for my divorce?

While you're not required by law to hire a divorce lawyer, having one can greatly benefit your case. Divorce proceedings can be complex and emotionally challenging, with numerous financial and legal implications. The right Westlake Village divorce attorney will be able to provide the experienced support, and guidance needed to protect your interests and help you navigate the legal process with confidence.

What happens if my spouse and I can't agree on terms during our divorce?

If you and your spouse can't agree on terms, your divorce is considered contested. In this case, you may need to go to court and have a judge make the decisions for you. However, our team at Richard Ross Associates is experienced in negotiation and mediation techniques that could potentially help you and your spouse reach an agreement outside of court, which can save time and emotional stress.

Remember, these are just general answers to your questions. For guidance tailored to your specific circumstances, we strongly encourage you to call (805) 777-1011


  • I heartily recommend him to anybody in need of a well qualified, results-oriented, family law specialist.

    “I would not hesitate to, again, retain the legal services of Richard Ross.”

  • Our family and our dignity have been restored.

    “Mr. Ross and his supportive, competent staff put their hearts into their work and literally turned our lives around.”

  • The results far exceeded my expectations.

    “The entire staff at Richard Ross Associates really helped me through my divorce and they were with me the whole way.”

  • Extremely thorough and professional!

    “Richard has helped me through a very difficult divorce and I can't say enough good things about him.”

  • Polite, caring, and quick to respond.

    “Richard Ross is a subject matter expert in the field of family law.”


  • This is very important: If you have separated from your spouse before one of you has filed for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, avoid agreeing to and placing into effect a temporary parenting plan arrangement regarding the children unless you will be able to live with this arrangement after the divorce papers have been filed. Once you begin a parenting plan that seems to be working, it becomes the "status quo." It is very difficult to convince a mediator or judge to change the status quo, especially if it is working or appears to be working and is not detrimental to the minor children.
  • If you have not received a judgment dissolving your marriage before the end of the year, you may file an individual tax return under the status of "married, filing separately" or a joint tax return with your spouse. You should consult your accountant as to the advantages of these options. You may obtain special information booklets regarding tax information for divorce or separated individuals from your local IRS office or read the IRS booklet online.
  • To file an action for divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, a person must have resided in the state of California for six months and in the county where the action is filed for three months prior to filing the petition in court. This is true of either the petitioner or the respondent - either person can meet the test and allow a filing. If your spouse meets the residency requirement, you can file even if you do not meet it yourself.
  • The court can and usually will order you to move out of your residence if your spouse convinces the court that you have been violent toward your spouse or threatened your spouse. You could be given ex-parte notice to be in court the next day because your spouse is seeking an order to make you move out and stay out. You can be ordered to leave immediately and not return even if your spouse is not on the property title or lease agreement! Once you are ordered to leave, it is not likely that you will be allowed to return.
  • Before you get a divorce, photocopy all relevant financial documents that you can obtain and store them off-site with a trusted friend or relative. Do not store them in the trunk of your car where they can easily be found and removed by your spouse. There may be both personal and strategic reasons not to tip off your spouse that documents are being reviewed for a possible dissolution proceeding. Make copies of documents that you find in the residence and return the original documents to their original location as soon as possible so that your spouse won't notice that they are missing. It is often advisable to make the photocopies when you are sure your spouse is away for an extended time, such as during a workday. It is advisable to gather as many relevant financial documents as possible while they are still available and before they have been removed or destroyed by your spouse. This will significantly reduce the cost of divorce litigation if the documents do not have to be recovered later. It will also permit us to get a true picture of all community assets and debts as soon as possible.