How to Solve Divorce Problems in California in 2014: How to Manage a Contested Divorce -- In or Out of Court


From mildly contested to flat-out war, with or without an attorney.


If your case is not going smoothly, then you need this book. Most California divorces encounter some problems along the way, but whether they're minor or huge we show you how to overcome them and move the case forward.

Take charge of your own case all the way through the court system, even against ...

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From mildly contested to flat-out war, with or without an attorney.


If your case is not going smoothly, then you need this book. Most California divorces encounter some problems along the way, but whether they're minor or huge we show you how to overcome them and move the case forward.

Take charge of your own case all the way through the court system, even against lawyers. We show you how to get information from uncooperative parties, reduce conflict, take your case to court if you have to, defend yourself against legal action, use legal means to resolve problems, and either negotiate a settlement or get a judge to decide unresolved issues. Even if you decide to get legal advice or support, the case stays in your hands where it belongs. If you want an attorney to take over your case, you'll find out how to select and supervise your attorney, know if your case is being handled competently, and even how to fire an attorney who is not giving good service.

You need this book too! How to Do Your Own Divorce in California--An Essential Guide for Every Kind of Divorce
This is the book you use to start your case. It contains the basic forms that are required in all divorce cases, and could be the only book you need if neither spouse goes to court to solve problems. It includes a discussion of divorce law, practical advice, a sample Settlement Agreement, and a set of forms with step-by-step instructions to get your judgment in an out-of-court divorce.

For over 40 years, Ed Sherman has helped millions of people get better divorces. This book will save you a lot of time, trouble and money.

Ed knows how to make any divorce better--he's proven that more than a million times! His practical advice makes divorces go more smoothly and with much less emotional and financial cost. With over a million books sold and more than 40 years experience, his proven techniques can make your divorce better too. A family law attorney since 1970, Ed Sherman founded Nolo Press in 1971 with his famous book, How to Do Your Own Divorce in California. In 1989, he co-founded Divorce Helpline, which he left in 2007. He is the author of 12 other books and three divorce software programs.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I'm an attorney and I really like your books. I know a lot of lawyers buy them. Your books are wonderful—they are suitable for the general public, and make a very nice overview for attorneys."
—DM, Esq.

"Thanks to you, a difficult situation was made easier. My appearance in court was a "piece of cake." I'm happier than I have been in a long time!"
—SD, Antioch

"I've been a family law paralegal for 30 years and these are the clearest, most user-friendly references I have used. Because we are generally limited to support issues, we have referred many clients to your volumes for custody and visitation questions—the clients are able to prepare themselves for Court and they truly understand the procedures and achieve a better result. Many of our clients have followed my recommendation, purchased a copy for their own use and are very happy."
—Candice Silva, Legal Assistant, Family Law Facilitation Centers, Rancho Cucamonga

"Your book…is the first that finally gives answers for difficult cases. This book…finally addresses legal questions I need answered. Thanks so much for your books and your work to help the underdog."
—California reader, 03/03

"As a family law practitioner. . . not only would I recommend this book to any individual who is contemplating a divorce, but I would also recommend it to any attorney."
—Hamid B. Naraghi, Attorney, San Jose

"The person who prepares his or her own case using this book will be a worthy adversary for his or her ex-spouse and attorney."
—Stephen G. Stanton, Attorney, Napa

"Your book will make an excellent text and I would commend it to any attorney who is unfamiliar with family law. Yes, a person could do as good a job as the average family law attorney in my county."
—David J. Golde, Family Law Facilitator, Redding

"I am impressed by the scope of information and helpful tips in your book."
—Chris Doehle, Family Law Facilitator, Cresecent City

"I believe that a person without legal training could follow your instructions at every stage of the action. I expect to show it to a large number of people as a way to help them help themselves."
—Dale R. Wells, Family Law Facilitator, Indio

"These guys know their job. Clear and complete."
—judge, Publishers Marketing Association Benjamin Franklin Awards, 6/14/01

"As we learn more and more about the imperfections of the family court system, we find that the usual do your own divorce books just don’t work for most of us. If you’ve used other such books and been frustrated because your case wasn’t following the “ideal” path they described, then this book is for you! You should have this even if you are planning to hire a lawyer. You’ll learn how to choose and work with a lawyer, how to spot a good/bad one. If you already got divorced, but a new issue is stirring, or you’re having problems with your ex, you’ll learn how to make changes step-by-step…. clear, detailed, easy to read examples and a sense of humor to help you through one of life’s biggest stresses. Includes all the forms you need (saving you time and money tracking them down). I could have saved thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees by having this book and the knowledge it gives. Knowledge is power, do yourself a favor."
—customer, 5/23/00

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780944508930
  • Publisher: Nolo Press Occidental
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Edition description: 12th Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,364,890
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ed Sherman was born in Hannibal, Missouri in 1938, graduated from Boalt Hall School of Law in 1964 and was admitted to the California Bar in 1965. He founded Nolo Press — and the entire legal self-help movement. His books include How to Do Your Own Divorce in California, Practical Divorce Solutions, How To Do Your Own Contested Divorce in California (the title was later to changed to How to Solve Divorce Problems in California), Legal Essentials for California Couples, Make any Divorce Better, and The Couples Contract for a Lasting Relationship.

In 1989 he founded the Divorce Helpline and through these guidebooks is able to share his secrets and lessons learned from over 35 years of experience with more than 45,000 successful cases. He lives in Santa Cruz, CA.

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Read an Excerpt

YOU ARE HERE—which way to go, what it takes

A. Deal with emergencies first
B. Three ways you can go in your case
C. What it takes to get where you want to go

Deal with emergencies first
In the legal system, an emergency is something that requires court orders and can’t wait the several or many weeks that it takes to get a hearing on a motion. You have an emergency if you have good reason to believe that, unless you get immediate court orders, something bad will happen very soon. For example:

• You or your children are in imminent danger;
• Property will be taken, transferred, wasted, or hidden;
• Your children will be physically removed or hidden away from you.
• Legal papers have been served on you that require you to show up in court very soon.

If you have an emergency, go o immediately to chapters 10–14 and deal with it. Come back here later and pick up where you left off.

Three ways you can go in your case
At any given point in any case, there are only three things you can do:
1. Take legal action
2. Negotiate
3. Do nothing

As a general rule, you should always encourage and work toward a negotiated settlement unless there is a good reason not to. In many situations, you can take legal action and negotiate at the same time.

1. Reasons to choose legal action
a. Emergency (chapters 10-13)
b. Respond to action from the other side (chapter 14)
c. Get needed information (chapter 17)
d. Strategic need for action (see below)
e. Put pressure on negotiations, move case forward (see below)
f. “I don’t know, we just always do it that way” (for lawyers only)

You can read the rest of this chapter at

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Table of Contents

1 You are here – which way to go, what it takes

Part One: Solving problems out of court
2 When a case becomes contested
3 How to get out of the legal system – obstacles to agreement and how to overcome them
4 How to negotiate an agreement
5 What to do when you reach full or partial agreement

Part Two: Preparation: where cases are won or lost
6 How to plan and prepare your case
7 Working with and against an attorney
8 How to get the information you need

Part Three: Solving problems in court
GROUP A: MOTIONS & OSCs – Where most problems get solved
9 Basics – local rules, using forms, doing paperwork
10 When to use an OSC or motion
11 How to prepare for an OSC or motion
12 How to do a motion
13 How to do an Order to Show Cause
14 Responding to a motion or OSC
15 Presenting your case at the hearing
16 How to do orders after the hearing
17 Discovery – formal requests for information
18 Compelling discovery in court
19 Vocational (and other) examinations
20 Parenting programs and mandatory mediation
21 Status-Only Judgment – divorce now, settle issues later
22 At-Issue memorandum – push the case toward trial
23 Settlement conferences – judge helps you settle
24 Motion to postpone the trial
25 Going to trial
26 Getting your Judgment
27 After the Judgment

Blank Forms

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