There is a divorce in California.
If you are a California resident who is considering ending his or her marriage through divorce or your spouse has served you with divorce papers, it is important that you learn about the divorce process.You and your spouse may be able to negotiate the terms of your divorce together, use a mediator or both hire attorneys to decide issues of child support, child custody, and the division of marital assets.
Step 1: Represent yourself in the divorce.
Many people don't hire an attorney to negotiate the terms of their divorce.Local court resources, self-help books, and internet services can be used to help negotiate the divorce.If you feel comfortable filing court documents and negotiating with your spouse, you may be a good choice to represent yourself.Both parties are willing to work together after the divorce.There is not much to divide.Your spouse isn't hiring an attorney.There aren't any children.
Step 2: A mediator can be hired.
A neutral third-party is hired by you and your spouse to help negotiate the terms of your divorce.The goal of mediation is to agree to a legally binding "Judgment of Dissolution" which sets forth the parameters of your divorce.A mediation can help you and your spouse understand alternatives and come up with solutions to reach a settlement.If you and your spouse share financial information openly, a mediation may be a good choice for you.Both parties prefer to handle their divorce in private.Someone to help facilitate a conversation and plan for parenting and custody is what you want.You want to save money on the divorce.The settlement should be reviewed by an attorney before it is finalized.
Step 3: A collaborative divorce is possible.
The purpose of a collaborative divorce is to reach an out-of-court settlement.Collaborative attorneys do not represent individuals in court, but rather facilitate exchange of documents, negotiating custody issues and property distribution in an agreeable and cooperative manner.If both parties want the divorce and it is not contentious, a collaborative divorce may be a good choice for you.Both parties agree to work together.Both attorneys agree not to be involved in litigation over the divorce.All relevant documents and information will be turned over.Both parties agree to act in the best interests of their children and not use them in divorce proceedings.
Step 4: You should hire an attorney.
It's a good idea to hire an attorney to handle your divorce.If necessary, experienced family law attorneys will be able to negotiate a divorce settlement, understand and complete all of the paperwork, serve and file court documents, and make appearances in court.If you are concerned that your spouse is hiding assets or not turning over complete financial information, you should hire an attorney.The divorce is not easy.There is a fight.You are not comfortable filling out court documents.Your spouse has an attorney.
Step 5: You should locate an attorney.
You can get a referral from a friend or family member.If you know someone who used an attorney for their divorce, you can ask them if they would recommend that attorney.A trusted person with personal experience with an attorney is a good place to start.State or local bar associations.Referral services are provided by local and state bar associations.You can check for complaints against your attorney through the state bar associations.The American Bar Association has compiled a list of state-by-state resources that can direct you to attorney referral sites.State Bar-certified lawyer referral service in your area is provided by the ABA.There is a list of lawyer referral services on the California Bar's website.The California Bar can be reached at (866) 44-CA-LAW or from out of state at (415) 538-2250.
Step 6: Understand property division in California.
California is a community property state, which means that property accumulated during the marriage is considered marital property and the overall value of shared property is divided evenly.If you owned property before the marriage, it is not subject to division.California courts allow couples to decide how the property will be divided; however, a judge must sign off on the agreement and issue a final order.
Step 7: Determine where to file for divorce.
You have to meet certain residency requirements in order to file for divorce in California.You or your spouse must have lived in California for at least 6 months and in your current county for 3 months.If both spouses resided in California for 6 months and the same county for 3 months, you can file your divorce there.If one spouse lived in California for 6 months and the other in another state for 3 months, you could file for divorce.If one spouse resided in California for 6 months and the other spouse did not reside there for 3 months, you would file the divorce in the county of the spouse who resided there.If neither spouse resided in California for 6 months or more, you can't file a divorce.
Step 8: Start divorce proceedings by filling out a petition.
You can begin preparing the required paperwork once you determine where you can file for divorce.The first document you need to complete is a "Petition - Marriage/Domestic Partnership," which can be found at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/FL100.You have to type the information or write in blue or black ink to complete the form.Tell us your name, address, phone number and email.If you want to file for divorce, give your name and your spouse's name.If you have children and you are dissolving a marriage, give their names, birth dates and ages.Take a look at the property that you had before the marriage.Do you have debt or assets?Do you have attorney's fees?Print and sign your name on the date.
Step 9: You need to fill out the form.
The summons asks for the names of you and your spouse.The summons, form FL-110, can be downloaded at http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/FL-110.The time frame that the responding spouse has to respond is provided in this form.There are restraining orders against both parties.Restraining orders prevent both parties from changing the beneficiaries of health insurance, life insurance or other insurance programs.restraining orders against both parties
Step 10: A declaration under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act form is required.
You must fill out and submit this form if you have children under the age of 18 with your spouse.Information regarding your children and any custody agreements that are already in place are requested in this form.
Step 11: Check to see if the court requires specific forms.
Additional forms are required by some county courts.If you want to find out if there are any additional forms, you can call the court clerk or go to the website.You have to complete additional forms.If the court where you are filing for divorce requires additional forms, be sure to download and complete them in accordance with the instructions.
Step 12: You need to make at least two copies of your forms.
The original forms will be kept by the court and you will have one copy for yourself and one for your spouse.
Step 13: You should file your forms with the court clerk.
The originals and copies of your Petition, Summons, and Declaration should be taken to the court clerk when you file for divorce.The clerk will stamp and keep the original if the documents seem to be in order.The court will return your copies to you.A filing fee is required for your documents.You can find the amount of the fee here.If you cannot afford to pay a filing fee, you can request a fee Waiver by filling out a Fee Waiver form located at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-feewaiver.htm.
Step 14: To serve on your spouse, gather divorce papers.
You must serve your spouse a copy of your divorce papers once you have filed them with the court.You must give your spouse a copy of the Petition you filed with the court.You filed the summons with the court.If applicable, a copy of the Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Form that you filed with the court.A copy of the local forms.The Marriage/Domestic Partnership form can be found at http://www.courts.ca.gov.You must serve your spouse with a blank Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act form if you have children and filed your own Declaration.
Step 15: You should serve your spouse with the divorce papers.
You must give a copy of the papers to your spouse once you have gathered all of them.A person over the age of 18 can deliver a copy of the divorce papers to your spouse.Someone can be a friend, relative, professional process server or a sheriff.This is called personal service.You can serve your spouse by mail if you send a copy of the divorce papers by registered mail with a Notice and Acknowledgement of receipt form.You can find a copy of the form here.
Step 16: You have to fill out and file the proof of service.
If you used personal service, the person who served your spouse must complete a Proof of Service of Summons form.The form shows that your spouse received the documents.If you received a Proof of Service of Summons or a Notice and Acknowledgement of Receipt, you need to file these documents with the court to prove that you complied with legal requirements.
Step 17: Wait for a response.
The spouse who was served divorce papers has 30 days to complete the response form and serve the document.
Step 18: Financial information to be gathered.
You have 60 days to file your financial disclosures.You should collect your financial documents immediately, which may include W-2 and 1099s.There are at least two pay periods.There is a copy of car titles and car registration.List of all debt, including loans, mortgages, and/or credit cards.
Step 19: There are complete financial disclosure forms.
You have 60 days to complete and file these documents with the court.The forms include a declaration of disclosure.To attest to the truth of your statements, you must check all of the applicable boxes on the cover sheet.The form can be found at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/FL140.You and your spouse's assets and debts are listed in this document.You can note the asset on the form as separate property if it was acquired before the marriage.The form can be found at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/FL-150.All of your earnings and expenses are set in this document.You will have to attach the forms.If you own a business, you need to submit profit and loss statements.Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure can be found on Form FL-150.The document requires you to mark who you are serving the document to.The form can be found at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/FL141.
Step 20: You have to file your financial disclosures with the court.
The original and two copies of your financial disclosures should be taken to the court.The court will stamp and keep the original.
Step 21: You have to file a declaration regarding service.
You can either serve your spouse by personal service or registered mail.You must fill out and submit a Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure after your spouse is served.The form shows that you gave your spouse the court documents.
Step 22: Complete the divorce forms.
The forms you must complete depends on what your spouse did.There are four scenarios that could have happened.You did not enter into a written agreement specifying the dissolution of marriage if the Respondent spouse didn't file a response.
Step 23: When there was no response or agreement.
After waiting 30 days after the response was served on the spouse, the Petitioner spouse should complete, file and serve the below documents.The Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation can be found at http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/FL170.You need to complete and file a Notice of Entry of Judgment if you want to get alimony, child support, or other orders related to the divorce.
Step 24: There was an agreement but no response.
Write up your agreement in order to finalize your divorce.Complete and file a Request to Enter Default, Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation, and a Notice of Entry of Judgment.All of the financial disclosure documents you previously filed should be included in the final Declaration of Disclosure.The documents include Declaration of Disclosure, Schedule of Assets and Debts, and Income and Expense Declaration.
Step 25: When there was an agreement and a response.
The divorce is not considered contentious.Write up your agreement.Complete and file a Request to Enter Default, Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation, and a Notice of Entry of Judgment.All of the financial disclosure documents you previously filed should be included in the final Declaration of Disclosure.The documents include Declaration of Disclosure, Schedule of Assets and Debts, and Income and Expense Declaration.
Step 26: When there is a response but no agreement, take the next steps.
The divorce iscontested when the parties can't agree on a settlement.If you want to finalize your divorce, you should hire a mediator.You should hire an attorney to represent you in court.You will have to appear in court for a final determination of your divorce if you can't agree on everything.If you have a divorce case, you should retain an attorney who can handle it.
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