Starting the Divorce Process in Westlake Village

Need to dissolve your marriage?  
Let us handle your case!

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.

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.

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.

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 Villageand Thousand Oaks,as well as Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Lake Sherwood, Moorpark, Oak Park, Oxnard, Stevenson Ranch, and Woodland Hills.

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


  • 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.