• California Divorce Timeline

California Divorce Timeline

It typically takes married couples at least 6 months to get a divorce in California. Divorce always involves filing and serving various documents. It may also include attending court hearings and conducting necessary discovery. As a result, a contested divorce can take one to several years to complete. When the parties agree on the issues, however, a quick divorce in California can occur within a few months. Read on to learn more about the California divorce timeline and how A People’s Choice can help you file for divorce and get your divorce judgment as quick as possible.

Steps for a California Divorce

There are several steps involved in filing for divorce in California. For example, both the Petitioner (moving party) and Respondent must complete the following steps in order to obtain a divorce in California:

  • The Petitioner must complete and file Form FL-100, Petition for Dissolution and Form FL-110, Summons. If children are involved, other paperwork may be required.
  • The Respondent must be officially served with the filed divorce papers.  If the Respondent is cooperative, service can be completed by the Respondent voluntarily signing for receipt of the divorce documents. If the Respondent is not cooperative, the petitioner must have the Respondent personally served. This can be done by someone other than the Petitioner. The person serving the paperwork must be at least 18 years of age. The person who serves the paperwork will need to complete a Proof of service form, Form FL-115 (Proof of Service of Summons) which is filed with the court.
  • Within 60 days after filing the Petition for Dissolution, the Petitioner must complete and serve Preliminary Disclosure documents on their spouse. These documents include a Declaration of Disclosure, FL-140, and Schedule of Assets and Debts, FL-142. In addition, the Petitioner must provide their spouse with copies of all tax returns he/she filed within the past two years.
  • If the divorce is contested, the Respondent must file a response within 30 days.
  • The Respondent must also serve Preliminary Disclosures on the Petitioner within 60 days of filing a response.
  • In contested matters, the court will typically schedule several status hearings to see how the case is going. This requires the parties to appear in front of the judge and explain how settlement is coming along.  At any time during this process, the parties can  agree to resolve the issues. They can formalize their agreement by signing a Marital Settlement Agreement. This document will outline how the parties have agreed to settle their case. This agreement is filed with their final judgment and becomes a court order.
  • If the parties cannot agree, the parties will have a period of time to complete their discovery. Once discovery has been completed, the court will set the matter for a formal trial. At the trial the judge will make a final decision on all contested legal issues. The court will decide how community property is divided through this process. The Judge will also make final orders regarding spousal and child support as well as custody and visitation.
  • If the Respondent fails to file a response, a default judgment may be entered against him/her. A default cannot be entered until 30 days have passed since the date of service. If the Petitioner has complied with the disclosure requirements, a Request to Enter Default and final Judgment can be submitted to the court for processing.  The default and final Judgment paperwork can be submitted on the 31st day after service or any later date.

Court Filing and Service Deadlines

California Divorce Timeline – The Divorce Filing Date

A divorce is considered “filed” on the date the court stamps the Petition and assigns the matter a case number. The date of filing the divorce is a line of demarcation as to a person’s intent to dissolve the marriage. This date, however, has no direct relationship to the termination date of the parties marriage. The termination date of the marriage of the parties is based on the date the Summons and Petition was served on the other spouse.

The earliest date a party can be divorced is six months plus 1 day from the date 1) the Respondent is served with the divorce papers, 2) the Respondent files a response, or the 3) when the parties file an Appearance, Stipulation and Waiver, whichever comes first.

Deadline to Serve Spouse

There is no statutory deadline to serve filed divorce papers on the other spouse. Many courts, however, automatically schedule follow-up status hearings when a divorce is filed. This makes sure that the case is timely proceeding through the court process. When a divorce is filed, you should review the paperwork returned to see if the court has set a future deadline for filing the Proof of Service or other paperwork. If a Proof of Service is not filed with the court by the scheduled hearing, you may have to appear in front of the judge to explain the delay.

Many courts also set status hearings for the filing of proof of service of disclosures, or to discuss settlement. Often these dates are scheduled far in the future. These scheduled hearings make sure that the parties are actively taking action to complete the divorce proceedings. Check your paperwork for any hearing dates that have been scheduled by the court. You may need to attend these status hearings if your case has not been completed. These hearings will simply go off calendar and no appearance by either party is necessary once a Judgment has entered.

Discovery Deadlines

In friendly divorce proceedings when parties are in agreement, the only discovery that takes place are the mandatory exchange of financial disclosures. In contested divorces, however, the court must allow both parties a reasonable amount of time to conduct detailed discovery. Each party must cooperate with the other regarding formal requests for documentation and/or answers to questions by the other side. The purpose of discovery is to allow each party to learn about the assets, debts and other issues that must be resolved to complete the divorce. A trial date is typically not set by the court until both parties have completed their discovery. Discovery can last anywhere from 2 to 18 months. Sometimes the judge can extend the time for discovery. This allows both sides to collect the information they need in support of his/her position.

Judgment and Marital Termination Date

The six-month waiting period is the earliest date at which the court can enter a termination date of the marriage and restore the parties status as single, however, nothing automatically happens in six months.

In California, a judgment of divorce becomes effective the day the judge signs the judgment for dissolution of marriage. It is important to note that the termination date of the marriage is often not the date of judgment. You should not assume that your divorce is automatically final 6 months after the date of service. The divorce is not final until the clerk enters the judgment into the court record. The clerk will enter the judgment and date stamp the documents when the judgment is entered. Each party will receive a copy of the entered order. This Order (Judgment) will state the termination date of the marriage. Often in divorce cases we file, the termination date is in the future. When the termination date on the Judgment passes, the parties marriage is officially terminated. At this point, either party is free to remarry. The court will not send out any other notices after the termination date passes.

Court Dismissal Due to Lack of Activity

Most courts monitor the California divorce timeline in divorce cases for activity. If one or both parties do not attend court hearings over a period of time, the case appears stagnant. If there is no activity in the case, the court may motion to dismiss the case. The effect of a dismissal closes the case completely. Later on, if the parties want to go ahead with a divorce, they would have to start over. This means new paperwork would have to be prepared and filed. The court would issue the case a new case number. The parties would also need to pay another court filing fee.

It’s not uncommon for couples who plan to divorce to get back together after filing divorce and prior to the case being completed. If the Respondent has not filed a formal Response to the Petition for divorce, the Petitioner can simply dismiss the case. A Request for Dismissal would need to be filed with the court. If a Response has been filed, however, both parties must agree to cancel the case. In this situation, both parties are required to request the case be dismissed. This is done by filing a joint Request for Dismissal.  A Request for Dismissal can be filed by the parties any time. The parties can even dismiss a divorce judgment prior to the termination date even if a Judgment has been entered.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information about California’s divorce timeline.

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By |2018-01-18T15:47:13-07:00November 24th, 2015|Family Law|113 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.


  1. Marinella March 15, 2019 at 8:39 am

    Ms. McCarthy,

    I am in California and my husband filed for divorce 8 mos. ago and I haven’t been served and haven’t seen any papers, but my husband e-mailed me a copy of the notification for a court hearing back in December which is scheduled for next week. I told him that I haven’t been served with the papers and haven’t seen any documents concerning the divorce. He can’t make up his mind if he wants to move forward. Since I haven’t been served with the papers, am I supposed to appear at the scheduled court date? Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    • Sandy McCarthy March 17, 2019 at 1:41 pm

      If you haven’t been served probably not. Do you want the divorce to proceed? You may want to give our office a call at 800-747-2780.

  2. Daniel March 14, 2019 at 12:36 am

    My spouse and I failed to attend a court hearing in CA. We were under the impression that we didn’t have to in order to get the divorced finalized. Is this true?

    • Sandy McCarthy March 17, 2019 at 1:50 pm

      Some status hearings are not critical if you don’t attend. Not having any specific information regarding where your case is at, it is hard to say in your situation.

  3. Dee Dee March 8, 2019 at 4:31 am

    My husband and I divorced 20 something years ago. We went to court we were granted the judgment and I thought that was the end of it. Well now that I’m thinking about retiring Social Security needed a copy of my divorce decree and I didn’t have one so I requested one through the court. I received a letter saying the judgment was granted but never finalize what does this mean? Isn’t the clerk supposed to take it from there and enter the judgment. Well I have since remarried and so has he so does that mean that we’re not divorced? I can’t get my Social Security until I have a divorce degree in my hand and I want ya o retire. Thanks For taking my question. Deedee

    • Sandy McCarthy March 8, 2019 at 6:34 am

      The process was different back then. You may need to file a motion to get the judgment back dated. I would talk to a lawyer.

  4. Natasha February 20, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Hello, I filed for divorce last April, my husband was served but he never responded. I received a letter saying i need to Enter Default. How long do I have to file default before they dismiss my case.

    • Sandy McCarthy February 20, 2019 at 8:10 pm

      Every court is different. They will usually schedule status hearings before they file for a dismissal.

  5. Magdalena Vital February 6, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    Are the 30 days to respond bissness days?

    • Sandy McCarthy February 7, 2019 at 6:11 am

      No, 30 counted days but there are special exclusions and rules

  6. Heather January 30, 2019 at 11:52 am

    My boyfriend has been separated from his wife for several years. She surfaced in November of 2017 and filed for divorce. There are no children involved and it was intended to be uncontested. My boyfriend filed his response but there has been no movement on the case since. She keeps telling him that there are additional papers and that she will complete them “soon”. It’s been over a year and she has still not completed any additional paperwork and has now informed him that he is no longer allowed to contact her. Is there anything that he can do on his end to move this process along? Also, if you look at the docket is says that the case is “VACATED” under disposition as of 5/29/18.

    • Sandy McCarthy February 2, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      If the docket shows a case is vacated that does not seem like a good sign. The case may have been dismissed. He may need to re-file a new case. Check with an attorney.

  7. Mom of two January 25, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    I filed divorce in sept 25, 2018 and he was served by posting and mailed to the last known address as per the service rules. He appeared at the court on nov 13th for our RFO ( temporary order for custody), we have another court date for continuing of RFO on feb 5th, 2019 and he still hasn’t filed response of my petition. Can I go ahead and file default? If I count the date then I was supposed to enter default on Dec 10th, 2018. What should I do? I am being impatient and want it done already.

    • Sandy McCarthy February 2, 2019 at 7:33 pm

      Unfortunately, if our office is not helping you with the paperwork, we would not be in a position to give you any direction with regards to the process or timeline of your particular case.

  8. Lena Moreno January 25, 2019 at 10:54 am

    My Fiance thought his divorce was final but after going to the court house (El Cajon, Ca) n trying to obtain a copy of the papers I was told that his case is still open, and either him or his wife needs to finish it. He is currently incarcerated and so I’m wondering would it be difficult for him to finish the divorce process from jail

    • Sandy McCarthy January 27, 2019 at 7:11 am

      We could certainly help finish the divorce even if he is incarcerated. Let us know. 800-747-2780.

  9. Chris January 18, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    I filed for divorce but my spouse responded after 30days and I able to go through divorce by default

    • Sandy McCarthy January 21, 2019 at 6:33 pm

      If your spouse filed a Response before you filed the default request, unfortunately the matter cannot proceed by default.

  10. Jose January 9, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Hello I was involved in a divorce in 2011 and I got finalized 2012 at the time our assets were negative 38,000 Although our agreement was to split the assets which would have been -19 thousand so she did not whant enything to do with me or the property. she move out of the property and out of the state remarry and now 2018 I Got Served to refinance or sell my home and give her half of the assets which now my property has $200,000 equity.I feel she abandoned the property and she doesn’t deserve anything from it what are my options thank you I’m in California.

    • Sandy McCarthy January 11, 2019 at 11:33 pm

      I would recommend you have an attorney look at the court judgment.

  11. Susan December 15, 2018 at 4:34 am

    A couple of days ago, I discovered that my husband had filed a divorce in August 2018 and used someone to file a proof of service with the court without my knowledge. He requested to enter default and it was approved by the court in late September. I contacted the courthouse and obtained the copies of the divorce papers. On the petition, it was written that there was no assets or whatsoever, which is a lie. Now it has been three months and three weeks since he allegedly served me with the divorce papers. I am now preparing a document to revoke the default setting.
    My question is, what will happen if the court has already scheduled a default hearing? I want to submit the application to cancel the default setting as soon as possible, though. How long does it normally take to have a default hearing after default is entered by the court? Also, is there a way to nullify the default judgement ?

    • Sandy McCarthy December 19, 2018 at 1:15 am

      I would strongly recommend you get professional help from an office such as ours to help you with this paperwork if you want to have any chance of a successful outcome. You can reach us at 800-747-2780. This is nit something you should try to do on your own.

  12. Latonia thomas December 5, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    My husband filed a petition for divorce now he wants to dismiss it.Do I still need to answer in 30 days if the dismissal is filed Defoe’s my time is up?

    • Sandy McCarthy December 6, 2018 at 7:54 am

      If your husband dismisses the case, there would be no reason to file a response and pay a court filing fee.

  13. Carl November 9, 2018 at 6:49 am

    Hello ,
    I’m wondering about my case. It’s a summary dissolution and it clearly states my divorce terminates today since it’s the six month waiting period. Filed May 8th 2018. Talked to one clerk and it was told I would be able to pick up copies of decree next week then another stated they are back log from March and it may take longer.

    • Sandy McCarthy November 13, 2018 at 8:31 pm

      Some courts are backlogged so this scenario is not uncommon. Keep calling the court. Often the squeaky wheel gets the grease!

  14. betty j farrell November 4, 2018 at 8:55 am

    My name is Jane and i have a question. My family law case finally went to trial in March. It was continued to September but on the first day we were to resume, the judge called a mistrial because this case is very hard and she was frustrated. This was my ex’s plan as he has delayed trial through every means available, including bankruptcy. We’ve been sent back to the lower level judge and the court wants us to start the process all over again with a mandatory settlement conference. We have no new trial dates. When the Judge “quit”, there were three separate matters before her. There is an RFO (filed last January) to increase spousal support that has not been heard; a sanctions motion for not production of documents per the court’s own order, and trial on the issues. How do I get the court to hear, and not just sit on, the RFO to increase spousal in the meantime?

    • Sandy McCarthy November 13, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      You may want to try and refill your motion to get it back in calendar.

  15. Cynthia October 30, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Hello, we’re in CA and my husband filed for divorce for almost 3 months ago and I haven’t been served with the papers because I moved. We are in the process of reconciling but he hasn’t dismissed the case yet. I saw online that the resolution conference is set for April 2019 and I’m wondering what’s going to happen if I don’t get served and when will the court automatically dismiss the case due to no activity?

    Thank you for your assistance.

    • Sandy McCarthy November 2, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      It is hard to say what the court will do. Usually a court will not dismiss an inactive case until several years of inactivity. (usually around 5 years)

  16. Mark Craig October 29, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Hi, Sandy I recently filed for divorce ,Both me and my ex wife were in total agreement and there was no contesting of anything as we do not have any kids,finances,or property together. My ex wife is a paralegal so she drew up the paperwork for us, I just filed it as she is in Arizona and I am in California, however I just received my paperwork back stating that a few things were missing and needed to be corrected. I sent the paperwork back to my ex wife as she instructed me but my question is will my six month date start from the date that I originally filed the divorce or will it start from the date she corrects what was wrong and resubmits the paperwork?

    • Sandy McCarthy November 2, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      The 6 months starts from the date of SERVICE.

  17. SUSAN October 18, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    My son’s divorce is dragging on and on. It seems he has no rights whatsoever. His almost ex spouse doesn’t want the divorce he file last February. She has contested the divorce and has remain hidden, even from her attorney for the last four months. It doesn’t seem fair that my son can’t proceed with the divorce. In the meantime he still is paying her insurance and that of her daughter (daughter is 20 and living with her legal dad). A month before he filed for divorce she put him in debt over $10,000 which he is trying to pay-on top of retaining an attorney. I’ve helped him financially all I can and he cannot continue with an attorney. He is four months late in his mortgage for a house he bought 6 months after they separated. She has signed all the legal documents stating she has no interest in the house and the house is his solely. She responded to the divorce saying she wants half the equity in the house. He only owned it one month before he filed for divorce and he paid higher than the appraisal by 12,000. There is still no equity in the house. This is all she has told her attorney she wants to fight for. In the meantime, she is holding personal property of my sons in a storage unit that he cannot access. He is letting his attorney go today because neither of us can afford to pay her anymore money. Can we just ask the court for a date of dissolution and let the judge decide the property division?

    Thank you,

    • Sandy McCarthy October 21, 2018 at 9:27 am

      There are probably several things that can be done. You may want to give our office a call if you need help with the paperwork. You reach us at 800-747-2780.

  18. palau simran October 16, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    its been almost 1 year I filed for divorce. still now nothing any update I get.
    I am so much frustrated, I have no idea what do I do, how long take time to get result of direct case. please give me some info
    and idea.

    • Sandy McCarthy October 18, 2018 at 6:57 am

      An uncontested divorce should not take a year to complete. It is a confusing process, however, and I understand how you could find this difficult on your own. I would suggest you contact our office at 800-747-2780 so we can check the court docket and see where the case is at and how we can help you get this finalized.

  19. Lee gifford October 4, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    I just was served( I arranged a meeting location) for the divorce papers I’ve been separated 3 years. I agreed on a location and accepted the documents. Only question I have is the documents are dated 10-06-2015. Today’s date is 10-04-2018. What is the timeline here? I’m a little cautious to say the least.

    • Sandy McCarthy October 7, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      It sounds like your spouse filed the divorce after you separated but never served you. The paperwork should be OK to use as long as the court case is still open. If you need help with preparing an agreement or finishing the case up, just let us know.

  20. Jasmin August 27, 2018 at 12:50 pm


    I’m trying to find out what will happen if my spouse moves before he receives the final judgement paperwork.

    My spouse is incarcerated in California, where we both reside. I filed for a dissolution Nov. 2017, and had him served by the prison litigation officer. Following that, he responded, and was denied for non-payment. I just filed the final paperwork requesting judgement, but I now found out that he is scheduled to be released from prison this month. I am concerned that he will be released before he gets notice that I requested judgement, and he will definitely be released by the time the judgement is complete. My question is, if he doesn’t receive any of this final info will my final judgement still go through?
    Thanks for the help!

    • Sandy McCarthy September 1, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Him receiving the documents has nothing to do with the court processing the Judgment. The Judgment is processed first and then mailed to the parties.

  21. Lisa August 22, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    Hi Sandy,
    Divorce papers have been filed and served, and respondent file a response within the 30 days after being served. Does the respondent need to serve the petitioner a copy of their response within 60 days after filing a response? What happens if the respondent does not serve the petitioner a copy of their response that was filed?

    • Sandy McCarthy August 23, 2018 at 7:27 am

      If you know a Response has been filed but you were not served with it, I would simply order a copy from the court. If you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement you can reach out to us and we can help repair all of the final judgment documents, including the agreement. otherwise at this point the case will be basically at a standstill unless you file motions to get temporary orders or pursue discovery etc. to move towards a trial.

  22. Raja August 14, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Good evening Sandy,

    My wife filed divorce case without my knowledge in July 2017 as we don’t live together nor she knows where I live. When i check the superior court California website it shows last update as notice of progress of family law action filed. My question is what does that means ? secondly this is the last update on the website which is 02-20-2018 and since the there is no update. So I was wondering what is going on.

    • Sandy McCarthy August 14, 2018 at 9:18 pm

      Well I would check the court file because it is possible to serve a spouse by publication. You don’t want to ignore this.

      • Raja August 15, 2018 at 3:58 pm

        By checking court file you mean I have to personally go to the court house and check the case file physically? As I live in Atlanta.

        • Sandy McCarthy August 15, 2018 at 7:35 pm

          You could perhaps hire a service to get copies of the file if you are not local.

          • Raja August 19, 2018 at 5:54 pm

            How much would be the cost if I hire the service of your company

          • Sandy McCarthy August 20, 2018 at 8:50 pm

            We would need to get some facts first. Fees run $499 to $775.Give us a call at 800-747-2780.

  23. Nora Mendez August 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    Good evening Sandy! I just filed form FL165 request to enter default. How long do I have to wait to file form to request default judgement

    • Sandy McCarthy August 11, 2018 at 9:25 pm

      Hi Nora – We would be happy to help you finish up your divorce case if you would like to hire our services. Unfortunately unless we have copies of your file and have been retained we would not be able to comment since every case has different issues.

  24. Diana July 8, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Hi Julie,

    My fiancee filed for divorce in 2000 case #RFLRS028443. In 2013 his wife told us her lender said they were still married. Since that time we have repeatedly asked his lawyer to finalize the divorce, but he hasn’t and we are, or should I say were, to be married 8/8/2018. How much would it cost to finalize the divorce?

    • Sandy McCarthy July 9, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      Call us so we can get more specific info. 800-747-2780.

  25. Shem Spinner June 27, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    Good evening Mrs. McCarthy. I am the Respondent to a Dissolution of Marriage. July 19th is our court hearing but the Petitioner and myself have yet to complete the required documents disclosing our debts and assets or a MSA and we are in the process of selling our home? What should we expect July 19th if both or one party fails to provide the required documents by that time? Can a continuance be requested? Thank you for your time.

    • Sandy McCarthy June 27, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      What is the hold up to finalize your case? We can help if you both have a meeting of the minds. It’s hard to say the court’s position but they will probably not be happy the case is sitting idle. Call us and see how we can help! 800-747-2780.

  26. M A June 6, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    Hi Sandy,

    I’m the petitioner in a dissolution, my 60 day window on disclosure is closing and I need time. Would would a simple email agreement with the respondent for more time be sufficient? Or does it need to be in a specific format and filed with the court? Thank you.

    • Sandy McCarthy June 8, 2018 at 8:11 am

      Usually the court is not that particular with completing the mandatory disclosures within that timeframe but you certainly could write an email to the Respondent as that wouuld show that you are working on it. Talk to an attorney if you need legal advice.

  27. Lilia Ortiz May 25, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    Hi. I filed for divorce last year back in 9/13/17. Served the papers right away and the case entered default on 11/06/17 (a little odd because i thought it should’ve been done 30 days after since there was no opposition from the other party, no children, no property). It’s 05/25/18 and I’m still not divorced. I did hired a lawyer thinking the process would have been quicker but there’s no response and the case has entered default again on 5/10/18. Any idea why my case is taking so long?

    • Sandy McCarthy May 26, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      You could call us with your case number and we could look at your court docket to see what is going on.

  28. Ivy Cao May 23, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Hi , I am planing to divorce in California, because of the new tax law, me and my husband r argue the alimony . We both want to have an uncontested divorce, if on the divorce agreement states that alimony can not be deducted by him, and I don’t need to pay tax for it. Is it ok? And how long will an uncontested dirvoce take? If our marriage finalizes after 1-1-2019 , but we are going to divorce now, does the new tax law will apply on our case? If we file uncontested dirvorce right now, do we still need to wait 6 month to be finalized?

    • Sandy McCarthy May 25, 2018 at 8:43 pm

      We can certainly help you prepare your divorce documents but you are asking questions that constitute tax or legal advice which should be directed to a lawyer or CPA. When you are ready to proceed, give us a call at 800-747-2780.

  29. Carol May 11, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    My mother filed for legal separation but wants to withdraw the petition. My fathers POA refuses to sign it as she wants my parents separated so she has control of his assets. If my mother stops providing requested documents and stops attending hearings will the courts cancel the separation process.

    • Sandy McCarthy May 14, 2018 at 7:49 am

      I don’t believe it will stop the process and failure to attend hearings or comply with legal requirements to private de documentation may get her into trouble. She should speak to an attorney for advice.

  30. Allison Hamilton May 9, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    My husband, filed for divorce in December in California I live in Virginia and he did not served me until now May. Is he allowed to wait that long to serve me? Is that paperwork valid that entire time or was he suppose to resubmit? The papers he send me were filed in court in December but signed his petition in October, there are different time frames during the oct-nov that the different papers were signed by him. This are the different forms FL 100, FL110, FL105/GC120, RI-FL036 along with the papers they send for me to respond FL120, FL105/GC120, FL142, FL150. I was not aware that he was serious about getting a divorce until I get served. He was making me think that he was going through a stage and to give him time, not until I got served that I found out he was serious about getting divorce. I guess my question is if that paperwork he send me still valid and if he can do that. It seem very shady to me that he waited so long to serve me. He is also there on orders, he is military about to retire in a couple of months.

    • Sandy McCarthy May 10, 2018 at 7:28 am

      I cannot comment on the validity of the paperwork but I can say that as long as the case is “active” there is usually no set time within which the documents should be served other than deadlines set by a court. You probably will need to hire a company like ours to help you file a response and perhaps other motions you may need to get orders to protect your interests. You can reach us at 800-747-2780 for help.

  31. emiliano Quevedo jr May 5, 2018 at 5:12 am

    Happen to come across a doc stating osc-re: dismissal ..what does this mean ? I guess i would be considered the respondent.. Thank you!

    • Sandy McCarthy May 5, 2018 at 7:58 am

      It means the court has set the matter for dismissal because the case has not been timely completed. You should call us assp to get this finished so it will not be dismissed. 800-747-2780.

  32. mohamed basha May 3, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Hello Sandy,

    My girlfriend filed for divorce February of 2017 and got rejection notice on October of 2017 that she missing a form and she fixed whatever was missing and then another rejection on February 2018 because they had her name wrong as Petitioner she had all the paperwork right they wrote her name somewhere wrong in the system so we had to do an Amended on march 2018 and very much applied everything from the beginning, she just got the Summons form from the court and will file judgment this week, now the question is the 6 months will start over starting March 2018 or it should started last year already when she first filed? how long should we expect for the final divorce?
    thank you for your time.

    • Sandy McCarthy May 4, 2018 at 8:27 pm

      Sounds messy but I don’t think your girlfriend has followed proper procedure. We would be happy to help you get this fixed. Call us at 800-747-2780.

  33. Shannon leonardo April 26, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    Good Morning Mrs. McCarthy,
    My boyfriend got divorced in 2006/2007 & made sure that the judge left the community debt reserved so they could re-visit it at a later date(she did some shady deals & open several credit cards under his name without him knowing). In addition one of these creditors had served him some court papers about the 5,000 debt owed, he assumed that they were mistaken because he had never opened a chase bank acct or credit card( his wife would get all mail before he got home & even had the father-in-laws mail stopped while they were on vacation so no one would find out what she was up too. Now almost 12 years later that creditor is trying to get the $ which has turned from 5,000 to a whopping 19,000!!!!!! Even trying to attach his wages, which they can’t current due to an irs garnishment that is currently in effect. The ex-wife also did his taxes the last yr they were married & double filed & got him in more financial trouble.
    My brother is in law school & said we could possibly sue her for part of the community debt & maybe some of the tax debt she got him into. My boyfriend said the judge left the community debt reserved in the divorce, so I guess my question is “is there a time limit or a statue of limitations on debt that is reserved in a 2006/2007 divorce?”
    We want to move forward with our relationship but he has a lot of financial baggage that I am trying to help him maneuver through that way we have things somewhat settled & off of his plate.
    I hope this wasn’t too confusing! Thank you again for your time!!

    • Sandy McCarthy May 1, 2018 at 3:12 am

      Cannot comment as to statute of limitations. That’s a question you will have to ask an attorney as it is giving legal advice. We are not lawyers.

  34. Jo April 26, 2018 at 7:54 am

    I am in the middle of a divorce in California. I will be receiving spousal and child support. My question is, if my girls and I move in with my parents so I can have physical support for my girls while I am at work and hopefully attending school, will I still be able to collect whatever spousal support I will be rewarded. My husband informed me that if I live with my parents, that counts as them supporting my financially and I would not likely receive any spousal support. I just want to know if that is in fact correct.

    • Sandy McCarthy April 28, 2018 at 12:21 am

      It would not be normal for the amount of spousal support to be based on you living or not living with other persons such as your parents. I would suggest you carefully read the order to see what it says. If you need legal advice or interpretation of the order, you may want to contact a lawyer.

  35. melanie April 17, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    our msa was turned in and we are waiting for the judge to sign off and have it recorded. my soon to be ex is closing escrow on a new home not in the MSA and wants me to sign an interspousal transfer grant deed but it wasn’t part of the MSA am I required to transfer the grant deed. technically we are still married

    • Sandy McCarthy April 19, 2018 at 3:22 am

      Most likely it is a requirement of the bank he is using to finance the purchase. I am not sure why you would be unwilling to sign it since obviously the property being purchased is not community property nor does it seem you would have any interest it. If I were you, I would try to cooperate. If you feel you need legal advice, talk to an attorney.

  36. A April 15, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Hi, I want to divorce my husband, I do not want to leave the house for fear of losing custody of my children. At what point can I leave the house with out him filing abandonment. Also this is an uncontested divorce.

    • Sandy McCarthy April 19, 2018 at 3:26 am

      Unlike some other states, Abandonment is not a legal basis for divorce in California. That kind of allegation is a non-issue. Talk to an attorney if you need legal advice.

  37. Lisa April 9, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Is there a timeline to get a divorce finalized? I was told it expires after 5 years from the filing date if it hadn’t been settled?

    • Sandy McCarthy April 11, 2018 at 4:20 am

      A court will eventually file a motion to dismiss the case but it varies between courts when this is done.

  38. Jonathan April 9, 2018 at 4:56 am

    I live in CA. I filed for legal separation and had my wife served. However, we are now reconciling. I did not submit the proof of service with the court (there was a lengthy delay in getting her served and then I was out of town for a week+).

    Our status check isn’t until June. Do I need to file anything with the court to withdraw my separation petition? Or can I just let it expire since I was supposed to file proof of service within 30 days?

    • Sandy McCarthy April 9, 2018 at 5:14 am

      You should probably dismiss your case.

  39. Angie March 24, 2018 at 7:06 am

    I have an odd situation. My ex left one day and never came back … which was ok by me. We do not have children together nor property. He left oct 2012 .. and I still have never heard from him or tried to make contact myself. My daughter, who is not his , has seen him recently, but nothing was mentioned. After he left I was as counseled to file abandonment charges by an attorneys office. I went to do that Jan 2013 and was told that it was something I could no longer do. Bottom line … it’s been since 2012 … I don’t consider myself married in fact I actually forgot I was. I don’t know where he is residing … I don’t want anything from him and I’m sure he feels the same. What’s the easiest cheapest quickest way to just get this done and over with.

    • Sandy McCarthy March 24, 2018 at 2:50 pm

      It is possible to get a divorce. California law does not have a premise of abandonment charges under which you could file a divorce so I am surprised that an attorney would tell you that unless, of course, you do not live in California. We could help you file for divorce if you were interested in doing that. Please contact our ofice at 800-747-2780.

  40. mai March 23, 2018 at 2:18 am

    My husband lives in CA and I live in WI. He has an attorney and I do not and he is the petitioner. As a respondent, do I have to do proof of service to him and to his attorney? How about mailing my response to the court? I cannot do proof of service yet if the court does not stamp “file endorsed” on my response form right?

    • Sandy McCarthy March 23, 2018 at 2:29 am

      Yes you do and it should be attached to your Response before it is filed with the court.

  41. Julie February 27, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    My question is if I initially filed for divorce and we had an MSA ( that did not address spousal) but then my ex got an attorney and we went back and forth and ended up settling the spousal issue the night before our trial was scheduled what has to happen now, meaning do I need to file any other forms or do we just wait for the judge to sign off on it since we have settled and do we still need to file the original MSA?

    • Sandy McCarthy February 28, 2018 at 2:58 am

      It’s hard to answer your question without knowing what documents were filed and what documents were not filed. You may want to talk to an attorney to review your file if you are not sure where you are in the case. You can also review the court docket either online or by going to the courthouse.

  42. Rebecca Duckworth February 17, 2018 at 5:08 am

    Hi there! My divorce case was a true default and I submitted all the appropriate documents such as FL-190, FL-165, FL-180 & Fl-170 by mail back in October and the divorce termination date is for 2-17-18. My question is will I receive anything other than my forms that were endorsed by the court back in October? Also, do I need to serve the documents and file a proof of summons again? Thank you in advance.

    • Sandy McCarthy February 20, 2018 at 2:28 am

      unfortunately without looking at the documents you submitted I would not be able to provide any response to your question. When a judgment is entered, you always receive a conformed copy of the entered judgment. If you did not receive that, there probably was that problem with your paperwork.

  43. Chevelle solorio February 7, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    I filed for divorce February 2017 it is now February 2018 and he has yet to respond. Can I continue to move forward?

    • Sandy McCarthy February 7, 2018 at 11:52 pm

      Most likely if the case is still active. Give us a call at 800-747-2780.

      • Sophia Chen April 26, 2018 at 8:54 am

        Hi. My husband filed dismissed the divorce case on April 3, 2018 in California. And today (4/24/2018) I found online the case shows “off calendar, complied with resolution program”. Please tell me what is that mean? Is that mean this case already cancelled or this case is still going on? Thank you very much!

        • Sandy McCarthy April 28, 2018 at 12:17 am

          I would contact the court clerk’s office where the case was filed to find out where the case stands.

  44. Rebecca January 23, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    My ex filed for divorce 11/15/17… I was told he had 60 days to serve me the paperwork? I have not recieved anything yet. does that mean he has to refile?

    • Sandy McCarthy January 24, 2018 at 4:56 am

      No but if you want to move the case along you can simply go to the court, get a copy of the filed paperwork, and find a Response.. Let us know if you need help.

  45. Lilly November 30, 2017 at 5:25 am

    File divorce 1998, want to marry my girlfriend. Have been together 9 years have 3 children together. My question is after the divorce goes thru do I have to wait six months to get married?

    • Sandy McCarthy November 30, 2017 at 6:13 pm

      If you filed divorce in 1998 and never completed your case, it may have been dismissed. I would suggest giving our office a call so we can check the docket. Our contact number is 800-747-2780.

  46. Sam Dhupar November 5, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Hi, I am going thru a divorce, my son is representing my wife against me. He is purposely delaying the case by asking more documents. I have an attorney, She says that we can’t ask for court date until all the discoveries have been finished. Is that true?

    • Sandy McCarthy November 6, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      Discovery is part of the normal legal process before a matter proceeds to trial.

  47. Julie McCauley August 29, 2017 at 4:44 am

    My husband and his ex divorced 20 yrs ago in CA. They had an MSA, but the law office (a paralegal) failed to file the MSA with the courts. At least that is how it appears as the MSA can not be found anywhere. The judge in the case signed off on the divorce, as far as anyone can tell.We are now back in court fighting with his ex because she has decided after 20 yrs (and another marriage and another divorce) that she wants some money.
    We had a trial today, and the judge handling the case now, can not figure out what happened to the MSA, why the judge 20 yrs ago signed off on the divorce without one, if the para committed malpractice, or what. The judge does not know if there is even any precedent for anything like this in CA.
    We are set to do another phone hearing in Oct. Do you know if there is a precedent for anything like this in CA? We are representing ourselves because we don’t have the funds to hire an attorney. His only income is SSD. The money that was in his retirement account back then is now gone as he became disabled 4 yrs ago, and he had to pull funds out of it (that were rolled over into an Annuity 15 yrs ago) for various reasons over the years.
    His ex admitted in court today that she failed to follow through 20 yrs ago, with making sure she got all the necessary paperwork filed ie: MSA and QDRO.

    • Sandy McCarthy August 30, 2017 at 3:44 am

      This is the strangest story I’ve ever heard. We may be able to help you prepare the appropriate responsive documentation and our fees would certainly be lower than that of an attorney. I would be curious seeing her moving paperwork! please feel free to give us a call at 800-747-2780. You can speak with either myself or David.

      • Julie McCauley September 11, 2017 at 7:38 pm

        Sandy, I didn’t realize you had replied to my comment. I am doing some more research today, and what happens? We get a letter in the mail. From my hubby’s ex-wife’s attorney, saying she is no longer representing his ex, and that from now on his ex is representing herself.

        We are a bit stunned. Why would an attorney either be let go after fighting this for almost a year, or why would the attorney say they couldn’t represent my hubby’s ex anymore. It is confusing as all get out. I mean there was a lot of stuff that came out in the hearing…for example, the ex admitting she knew the retirement was there at the time of the divorce (even though all this time the lawyer has been stating that her client did not know about the funds, so they were an ommited assest) and she filed the paperwork for the but then never followed through, and when asked why she even decided to file this after 20 yrs, her response was because someone she was talking to who retired from the same company had a really good retirement fund through the company, so she decided to try and get some money now. (even though my hubby never retired from the company…the company was bought out and he transferred to another company)

        So now we wonder….did her attorney tell her there was nothing more she could do? We have a lot of questions now. But anyway, we are sending the judge all of the results I have found doing research on this, and I guess we will see what happens in 3 weeks.
        I know, it is all kind of mind boggling.

        • Sandy McCarthy September 13, 2017 at 3:57 pm

          Probably the attorney’s bill was not paid. It is hard to say but that is usually the number one reason why an attorney would pull out of a case.

  48. Thuc Ruma June 24, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    If the responding spouse Does Not have money for fees Or Not doing his part to fill, to respond and to Proceed on with divorce, What will happen to the Petioner then …

    • Sandy McCarthy June 24, 2017 at 9:28 pm

      The Petitioner should be able to proceed by way of default. The paperwork is a bit more complex. Give us a call for help with the required paperwork. 800-747-2780.

  49. Lorita Butterbredt June 4, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    My ex filed for divorce in late 2014 but never finished the process. I have not seen or heard from him since and I want it over with but I live in Colorado and the case is still active in California. What are my options?

    • Sandy McCarthy June 5, 2017 at 1:07 am

      Lorita – please call the office so we can look at the court docket and see where the case is at. We can certainly help you but we need more info. Our telephone number is 800-747-2780.

  50. argie dimebag September 7, 2016 at 4:01 am

    Interesting piece – I loved the info , Does someone know where I could possibly access a fillable CA FL-142 form to work with ?

    • Sandy McCarthy September 7, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      The FL-142 is typically not used on its own in a divorce process, but rather is one of several forms used in the disclosure process. Typically these forms can be obtained through the court’s website . Please let us know if you need assistance complying with the disclosure requirements.

      • Lou June 29, 2018 at 2:20 pm

        My daughter filed for divorce in March and the papers were served. The estranged husband did not respond within the 30 days.

        She was told by the court he filed a document.

        Can he still contest after the 30 days?

        • Sandy McCarthy July 1, 2018 at 6:22 pm

          If she did not proceed with the default then yes he could file a response, even after the 30 day period of time.

          • M Vargas November 12, 2018 at 12:26 am

            My husband filed and forged everything so it “appears” like I received everything, however I’m not even living at the place he supposedly served me at. What are MY options?

          • Sandy McCarthy November 13, 2018 at 8:41 pm

            Talk to an attorney asap!

    • Sandy McCarthy February 24, 2019 at 8:11 pm

      The court probably set a status hearing because the case is not proceeding in a timely manner.

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