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The Murrieta Divorce Process

The process of getting a divorce in California can vary depending on which county your divorce case is heard. For purposes of this article, we will be examining the divorce process for those living in Murrieta and other residents throughout Riverside county.

Which court do I file in if I live in Murrieta?

Before filing for divorce in Riverside county, either you or your spouse must have lived in California for at least 6 months AND in Riverside county for at least 3 months. However, if you have not met these requirements yet, you can file for legal separation and then file an amended petition for dissolution (i.e. divorce) once the residency requirements have been met.

The next thing to consider is which court in Riverside county to file in. In Riverside county, there are four different family law courts: Riverside, Hemet, Blythe, and Indio. One should file at the Court that is closest to their residence, based on zip code.  On the Riverside Superior court’s website there is a list of zip codes and an explanation of which court to file for divorce, paternity, or other family law case, if you reside in one of those zip codes. Once you’ve determined which court to file in, you are now ready to open your case in family court.

What do I file for Divorce in Murrieta?

Each county in California requires that you complete the Petition (form FL-100) and Summons (form FL-110) to open a divorce case. If minor children are involved in your case, then you must also complete the Declaration Under the UCCJEA (form FL-105). In addition, Riverside county also requires that you complete a local form unique to Riverside county, which is called the Declaration of Residence (form RIFL-306). Once you’ve completed these forms, they must be filed with the court clerk. If these forms are completed properly and the filing fee is paid (if necessary), the court clerk will provide you with a case number, assign your case to a family law department within that courthouse, and give you back stamped copies (or conformed copies) of the above forms.

What happens next?

Once you’ve opened a case in family court, you must then have the other party served with conformed copies of the above referenced forms, as well as blank responsive pleadings. Generally, the other party must be personally served with the initial divorce paperwork by someone other than you who is over the age of 18. The person who served the forms must then complete and sign the Proof of Service of Summons (form FL-115). The Respondent then has 30 days to file their Response to the Dissolution.

Within 60 days of filing the Petition, you must serve the other party with your preliminary declarations of disclosures (or “PDODs”). This involves completing the following forms and attaching their requested attachments: Schedule of Assets and Debts (form FL-142), Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150), and Declaration of Disclosure (form FL-140). Once this has been completed, someone other than yourself and over the age of 18 can serve the other party by mailing them these completed forms. You then must file the Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure and Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-141) with the court.

It should be noted that at the outset of your case (i.e. when you filed the Petition), you can also file a motion (Request for Order) seeking the Court’s assistance with issues such as child support, child custody and visitation, spousal support, and attorney’s fees.

Also, if you have completed all the above steps and the other party has not responded, you may still get divorced by way of a Default Judgment.

Alternatively, if the other party has filed a Response and served their financial disclosures it may be time to try and finalize the matter. You can do so by trying to settle the case out of court, by way of a marital settlement agreement, or you can ask the Court to set a Mandatory Settlement Conference and then a trial.

Prior to finalizing your case, either party may initiate “discovery.” In general, discovery is a process by which you collect information necessary to present your case at trial (e.g. gathering documents, interviewing witnesses, etc.). The discovery process can involve a variety of techniques (e.g. subpoenas, depositions, formal requests for production of documents, etc.) and is often one of the more time-consuming and expensive components of a case.

The above provides a general overview of the divorce process for residents of Murrieta and Riverside county. As you can probably imagine, this process can quickly become complicated and difficult to navigate on your own. For those living in Murrieta and Riverside county, Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP has two family law offices conveniently located in Temecula and Corona. To learn more about the divorce process and how our office may be able to assist you in your family law case, please feel free to contact either of our Riverside county offices to schedule a free consultation.

About Murrieta, California

Murrieta is a city in southwestern Riverside County, California with an average of 263 sunshine days and 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.

The population of Murrieta in 2016 was 103,466.   Murrieta experienced a 133.7% population increase between 2000 and 2010, according to the most recent census, making Murrieta one of the fastest growing cities in the state. Largely residential in character, Murrieta is typically characterized as a commuter town, with many of its residents commuting to jobs in San Diego County, Orange County, Los Angeles County, Temecula, and Camp Pendleton.

Ezequiel Murrieta purchased the Rancho Pauba and Rancho Temecula Mexican land grants, comprising 52,000 acres, and eventually turned the land over to his younger brother, Juan, who brought 100,000 sheep to the valley in 1873. Others discovered the valley after the construction of a depot in 1882 that connected Murrieta to the Southern California Railroad’s transcontinental route. When the trains stopped in 1935, tourists – the lifeblood of the town – were much harder to come by. The boom that Murrieta had experienced due to the train and the hot springs gradually died, leaving Murrieta as a small country town. However, by the late 1980s suburban neighborhoods were being constructed, and people began moving to the Murrieta area from cities and towns in San Diego, Riverside, and Orange Counties as the population grew rapidly.

The racial makeup of Murrieta in 2016 was (69.7%) White (55.7% Non-Hispanic White), (5.4%) African American, (0.7%) Native American, (9.2%) Asian, (0.4%) Pacific Islander, (8.4%) from other races, and (6.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were (25.9%).

Currently, Murrieta house market trends indicate an increase of $15,000 in median home sales in a year. The average price per square foot for this same period rose to $181, up from $172.

In July 2014, Murrieta garnered national attention following days of immigration protests. Some Murrieta residents blocked busloads of immigrant detainees. They were traveling to a temporary relocation and detention facility, which the federal government had planned to establish in the town. Protestors had learned about the presence of the buses and their destination from union officials for U.S. Customs and Border Control employees, as part of an apparent effort by some Department of Homeland Security employees to collude with anti-immigration activists.

Finally, Barry Bonds, formerly of the San Francisco Giants, is a former resident of Bear Creek.

Covid 19 Update: We are accepting new cases and we handle everything electronically and remotely, so our clients never have to leave their homes. Click here to learn more.

Covid 19 Update: We are accepting new cases and we handle everything electronically and remotely, so our clients never have to leave their homes. Click here to learn more.