What are the California divorce forms? Every marital dissolution filed in California requires both the petitioner and the respondent to complete and file several forms before finalizing the divorce process. From filing the initial petition to entering the final judgment, parties will prepare anywhere from 10-20 documents on average during the divorce process. A family law attorney can also provide some help during this process.
This is probably not your first online quest for an inexpensive and lawyer-free divorce or legal separation. Like many unhappily married people in California, you have probably visited the California courts’ self-service family law website, glanced at the voluminous divorce legal papers required, and then quickly clicked away due to the high filing fee. Any reasonable person would be intimidated by the sheer volume of divorce legal paperwork the California courts appear to want you to submit before they will dissolve your marriage. Some also make an alternative of using a family law facilitator to review the divorce forms for accuracy. Essentially, a family law facilitator is not a lawyer but a neutral person overseeing your divorce.
In California, there are several paths to divorce, so not every person who wants to get divorced must fill out every single divorce legal paper available at the self-help center. Completing all the divorce paperwork by yourself and outlining your financial disclosures can be an exercise in frustration, like preparing your tax returns, except that making a mistake can be even more costly. At A People’s Choice, we help residents complete California divorce forms in a professional, low-cost manner without the need for a judicial council. We have years of experience successfully preparing divorce documents on our clients’ behalf. Contact us in confidence to find out how we can help you, and read on to learn more about how to obtain California divorce forms.
Which California Divorce Forms or Legal Papers Do You Need?
Exactly which documents you need depends on the particular circumstances of your divorce or legal separation. If you have minor children, you will need a parenting plan, and if you are trying to divide your spouse’s retirement account or pension, then you will need a QDRO.
All divorce cases start with the same two forms: the divorce petition and the family law summons. If you and your spouse already have a plan for how to divide your property and parenting time, then you can simply file the forms without any input from a lawyer. Most divorces aren’t complicated enough to require a lawyer (legal requirements), so hiring one is just a waste of money. Filing your court documents can be a challenge, though. This is especially the case if there exists a legal issue.
A People’s Choice California divorce forms or legal document assistant can professionally and affordably prepare your divorce documents. This could range from the initial California divorce forms of application required to start your case until the day when the judge makes a divorce judgment marking the end of your relationship.
The California divorce forms and legal papers that your case may require depends on a couple of things. First, is your divorce contested or uncontested? Did you sign a marital settlement agreement? Were you able to locate your spouse to serve him or her with a copy of the divorce papers when you filed for divorce? Do you have minor children? Is one of your marital assets the family home?
The simplest kind of divorce you can get is an uncontested divorce with a marital settlement agreement. To complete this divorce process, you will need the following California divorce forms and legal papers:
- Form FL-100 (Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Domestic Partnership)
- Form FL-110 (Summons)
- FL-105 Optional form (Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act)
- Form FL-115 (Proof of Service of Summons)
- Form FL-130 (Appearance, Stipulation, and Waivers)
- Form FL-180 (Proposed Judgment form)
If you have a contested divorce, meaning that your spouse filed a response to your divorce petition, there are additional documents and legal forms.
The Divorce Paperwork to Get Your Divorce Case Off the Ground
Your divorce can take any of several paths, but all divorce cases in California start with the same few items of the divorce paperwork. To get your divorce started, you must file Form FL-100, the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, also known as the divorce petition. When you submit Form FL-100, you also attach to it FL-110, the Summons.
If you and your spouse have children under 18 years, your initial divorce filing must also include FL-105 (Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act). Then a third party (it can be a professional process server or anyone else who is not you), must deliver a copy of those two additional forms to your spouse to notify them that you have filed for divorce.
After your spouse receives the divorce forms or paperwork, the person who served your spouse with the divorce papers must file Form FL-115, a document proving that your spouse has received the divorce paperwork, and a step guide for the divorce petition. Your petition for divorce may also get delivered to your space through a self-addressed stamped envelope. This document will contain all the legal requirements that outline the petition to end your committed relationship.
After that, the required divorce paperwork is determined by whether your spouse files a response to your divorce petition. If your spouse does not file a response, you can have an uncontested divorce or default divorce. If your spouse does file a response, then there is more divorce paperwork for your spouse to complete before the divorce judgment is made. The California courts website has a list of divorce paperwork that the parties must file in different situations of the divorce proceedings and before a formal judgment is made.
California Divorce Forms of Application to File for Divorce and Serve Your Spouse
The first step to getting divorced is to file Form FL-100 with the court in your county. Form FL-100 is the divorce petition; you must also file the summons notifying your spouse that you have filed for divorce. A divorce attorney is of less significance in such a stage. The initiating divorce application form is called the “petition” and includes the following information:
- Your name and your spouse’s name
- The date of your marriage
- The date of your separation
- The names and birth dates of your minor children
- The separate property and joint assets owned by the parties
The summons is another California divorce form of application that is required at the beginning of the process. The summons states that, until your divorce becomes final or you withdraw the petition, your spouse may not alienate marital assets or transport your minor children outside the state, or violating the residency requirement.
Alienating marital assets include selling them, discarding them, giving them away, or transferring their title to someone else’s name without declarations of disclosure.
If you have minor children, you must also file a Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (Form FL-105) attached to Form FL-100 and Form FL-110. Serving your spouse with papers means handing the papers to your spouse in person or taking some other action to make sure your spouse can see them before a divorce decree is tabled. If you cannot locate your spouse, there are alternatives to serving your spouse with papers.
What Happens Next After You Serve Your Spouse with Papers?
There are many steps involved in finalizing a divorce. Such essential steps may entail property division and division of assets. To help you we created the California divorce timeline so you can better understand the process.
Please also see our California Divorce frequently asked questions for answers to common divorce questions. After you serve your spouse with the divorce papers, your spouse has 31 days to file a response to the petition as part of the legal process.
If your spouse does not file a response, then it gets considered an uncontested divorce. Some spouses may fail to file a response to the petition because of irreconcilable differences, incurable insanity, or domestic violence.
The most amicable way to divorce is through a private mediation whereby you agree with your spouse about the terms you will request before you file the divorce petition and then have an uncontested divorce with a default judgment.
Preparing Your California Divorce Forms and Paperwork Does Not Have to Put a Big Dent in Your Finances
Filling out California divorce forms and disclosure documents can be a daunting task. Lawyers are willing to do it for you, but only if you pay them their requested hourly rate, which is usually unfairly inflated.
The most affordable way to get your divorce documents done correctly is by having a registered legal document assistant do them for you. A legal document assistant will help you in the completion of your divorce process or domestic partnership.
Non-attorney legal document assistant services are an affordable way to complete your divorce papers correctly the first time. Contact A People’s Choice to get your divorce paperwork done professionally at an affordable price. You can reach our experienced staff at 800-747-2780.
Benefits of Using a Non-Attorney Professional for California Divorce Forms
In California, it is possible to get your divorce documents prepared professionally without hiring a divorce lawyer. Non-attorney legal document assistants have the authority and the professional qualifications to prepare documents for divorce or the end of a domestic partnership. A non-attorney legal document assistant is a neutral person that can help prepare all the required documents for your divorce.
Legal document assistants are not paralegals. It is true that if you hire a law firm to represent you in an uncomplicated divorce, paralegals will probably do most of the work. The difference is that paralegals can only work within a law firm, with a lawyer’s supervision. Therefore, you are still paying law firm prices. It makes much better financial sense to have a registered legal document assistant prepare your documents for divorce.
Most divorces are simply a matter of paperwork. Attorneys usually just assign legal document preparation tasks to their paralegals at an exorbitant cost to the client. Therefore, parties should consider using a non-attorney professional to complete California divorce forms to save thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Contact A People’s Choice today to find out how you can get legal document help at an affordable price for your California divorce. We offer several convenient interview processes, including in-person, over the telephone, and online.
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