Filing for divorce online in California can seem like an appealing alternative to dressing up and going to court. It’s usually the best option for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money, but also want to have the divorce processed as quickly as possible.

Filing for divorce online is gradually becoming the preferred method for most Californians since it can be done from the comfort of your home. The online method can even cater to complex cases dealing with children, property division, and debts. You still need to file paperwork with the court, but you can fill out all the required forms online. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect if this is the route you’d like to take.

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Can I File for Divorce Online?

Simply put, yes, you can. Numerous sites, including A People’s Choice, can provide you with the relevant forms to get started with the divorce process. It is a simple and straightforward process that gives you detailed instructions on how to begin with filing and serving the relevant forms. You will need to make sure that all the forms are filled out correctly to allow the process to go as smoothly as possible.

The Divorce Process in California

The divorce process in the state of California has several steps. Each step is as follows, and most also have corresponding paperwork:

  • Filing – A spouse files a divorce petition and serves it to the other spouse (the respondent).
  • Response – The respondent now has thirty days to file a response to this petition.
  • Order to Show Cause – One of the spouses can file for an Order to Show Cause hearing as a temporary court order. At this hearing, a judge can make temporary ruling decisions such as restraining orders and child custody or support if you two have a child together.
  • Discovery Process – The spouses then undergo the discovery process and exchange relevant documents and information relating to the divorce. The preparation of the Preliminary Declarations of Disclosure is a required aspect of the discovery process. This is a court form that has each spouse list community property and separate property.
  • Settlement Discussion – The spouses and their family law attorney meet to discuss a settlement.
  • Agreement Writeup – If the case comes to an agreement, one of the attorneys will set up a Marriage Settlement Agreement, which will include the terms of the agreement. This contract must be signed by both the spouses and the divorce lawyers.
  • Trial – A trial will take place in family court if both parties are not able to come to an agreement on things like child custody and property or debt division.
  • Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage – After the Marriage Settlement Agreement has been signed or the trial has concluded, one of the attorneys will have to prepare a Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage. This is the document that contains all of the court’s orders.

California Divorce Papers and Forms

The easiest way to file for divorce online is via A People’s Choice document preparation service. If you decide to look for the relevant papers on your own or would like to see an overview, you will be able to find many of the basic documents on the self-help center of California courts. These documents include:

  • FL-100 – The form that starts the divorce process. You and your spouse must list all important information related to your marriage, including children, debts, and property.
  • FL-110 – This form acts as a Summons and informs your spouse that the divorce process has begun.
  • FL-115 – The Proof of Service of Summons allows you to notify the court that you have made your spouse aware of the current divorce proceedings.

There are also documents related to kids and additional forms if you and your spouse own extra property that does not fit on the FL-100 form. The forms you need are dependent on your circumstances. It is crucial that you utilize every form that pertains to you if you want to save time and money. Failing to fill out all relevant forms can result in delays in the divorce process, which is why letting an expert service help out is a good idea.

How to File and Serve Divorce Papers in California

The Filing Process

First, you’ll need to fill out the forms and go to your local courthouse to submit your petition and summons. There is a fee that is payable to the state to have your divorce papers filed. Submit a Request to Waive Court Fees if you want the filing fee waived. The court will have to review and approve this request first.

After confirming that you’ve completed every requirement, the county clerk will stamp your legal forms and give you copies. Your spouse does not have to be present, but you will need to serve them a stamped copy of the documents.

The Serving Process

The second step is to serve the divorce forms to your spouse as soon as possible. There are various methods to do this, including:

  • By mail – Send the documents by mail to your spouse’s address. They must fill out a Notice and Acknowledgement of Receipt and send it to the court to confirm they received the forms.
  • County sheriff – You can ask your county sheriff’s department to serve the forms on your behalf, but this will require paying a fee. However, it’s a trouble-free method of delivering the forms if your spouse is uncooperative.
  • Friend or relative – You can request someone you are close with to deliver the forms on your behalf.
  • Professional process server – Professional services for serving forms are available for hire.

There is a six-month waiting period before the process is finalized and you receive divorce decree.

Get Help With Your California Divorce

Ending a marriage can be stressful and difficult, but filing for divorce in California doesn’t have to be. The online methods are fast, efficient, and cost-saving. Speaking to the right people and using the correct resources can make everything go smoother and faster.

Contact A People’s Choice if you need assistance with filing for divorce online. Our team of legal document assistants can help you through every step of the process!

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