Filing for California divorce online can seem like an appealing alternative to dressing up and going to file a legal form in 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 within the shortest period of time.

Filing for California divorce online is gradually becoming the preferred divorce option for most Californians since it can get done from the comfort of your home. The online method can even cater to complex cases dealing with minor children (legal custody and parenting plan), property division, marital assets, tax consequences, and debts. You still need to file paperwork with the superior 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 California Divorce Online?

Simply put, yes, you can. Numerous sites, including A People’s Choice, can provide you with the relevant forms from the judicial council website to get started with the California online divorce process. It is a straightforward process that gives you detailed instructions on how, to begin with, filing and serving the relevant divorce forms for dissolution of a domestic partnership. Common divorce options provide a simple filing and serving process through a court-imposed order.

The instructions for divorce state that both parties should get notified of the divorce petition. Thereafter, the grounds for the dissolution of the marriage will get outlined. This could also entail the division of property through an amicable agreement. Therefore, the divorce process happens in a step-by-step format. You will need to make sure that all the legal requirements are filled out correctly to allow for a smooth online divorce service and presentation of a divorce decree.

The California Divorce Online Process

The online divorce process in the state of California has several steps apart from accessing the download forms. First, the spouses should check whether they meet the California residency requirement so that California courts can have jurisdiction over the case. 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 business days to file a response to this petition. If no response is given, the ground for dissolution will get set an uncontested divorce or uncontested dissolution. The dissolution procedure will therefore get declared complete hence setting the ground for dissolution of the marriage.
  • 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 (for a reasonable period) such as restraining orders and child custody or support if you two have minor children.
  • Discovery Process – The spouses then undergo the discovery process and exchange relevant divorce documents regarding the divorce settlement. 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 the marital settlement agreement. They can also discuss a joint petition for summary dissolution with the help of a neutral person.
  • Agreement Writeup – If the case comes to an agreement, one of the attorneys will set up a Marital Settlement Agreement, which will include the terms of the divorce settlement agreement after an irremediable breakdown in marriage. This contract must be signed by both the spouses and the divorce lawyers for informational purposes.
  • Trial – A trial will take place in family court if both parties are not able to come to an agreement (through divorce mediation or private mediation) on things like child custody (for minor children) and property or debt division.
  • Judgment 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 and legal issues regarding the divorce judgment and service of process. The dissolution procedure for the marriage is, therefore, declared complete.

Papers and Forms for California Divorce Online

The easiest way to file for California divorce online and dissolution of domestic partnership is via A People’s Choice document preparation service. If you decide to look for the relevant papers or a self-help book on your own (from the judicial council website) 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 will outline the grounds for divorce. You and your spouse must list all important information related to your marriage, including children, debts, credit cards, 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 is also a vital record 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 in your joint petition for summary dissolution are dependent on your circumstances and available records searches. You must utilize every form that pertains to your career position if you want to save time and money. Failing to fill out all relevant forms or leaving blank forms can result in delays in the divorce process. This is why letting self-help center staff help out is a good idea for your uncontested divorce or quick divorce.

How to File and Serve California Divorce Online Papers

First, you’ll need to fill out the forms and go to your local courthouse to submit your petition and summons. There is a filing fee that is payable to the state to have your divorce papers filed. In some instances, you may also be given a fee waiver for the judgment form. Submit a Request to waive court fees if you want the filing fee waived for your quick divorce. The court will have to review and approve this request first based on the existing fee schedule.

After confirming that you’ve completed all filing requirements, the county clerk will stamp your legal forms and give you copies after the approval of divorce papers for your marriage record. Your spouse does not have to be present, but you will need to serve them a stamped copy of the documents by providing their email address.

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 regarding the divorce request by mail to your spouse’s mailing address. They must fill out a Notice and Acknowledgement of Receipt of the divorce request 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 divorce 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 or prone to starting domestic violence.
  • Friend or relative – You can request someone you are close with to deliver the current forms on your behalf in portable document formats.
  • Professional process server – Professional services for serving confidential documents are available for hire.

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

Get Help With Your California Divorce Online

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

Contact A People’s Choice if you need assistance with filing for divorce online or getting a self-help book. Our team of legal document assistants can help you through every step of the process! You can also schedule an online interview with us.

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