California is a no-fault divorce state. That means that when filing divorce in California, the Petitioner does not have to show a legal claim as to why the court should allow him to file for divorce. Instead, California allows state residents to file for divorce on one of the following legal grounds:
1. Irreconcilable Differences – Irreconcilable differences between spouses leads to the irremediable breakdown of the marriage resulting in the dissolution of the marriage.
2. Incurable Insanity – Filing a petition for marital dissolution on the grounds of incurable insanity requires proof of competent medical testimony that the insane spouse was incurably insane when the petition was filed and remains that way.
When filing divorce in California, one spouse must be a resident of the state for six months or 180 days prior to filing the Petition. There is a six month waiting period from the date your spouse receives the marital dissolution petition before the marriage is terminated (termination date of marriage).
Further, California uses a community property system to divide marital assets and debts. This means that all the property and debts the spouses acquired while married are shared equally between the two upon divorce, unless the parties otherwise agree between themselves to an unequal division. During the divorce, issues regarding child custody and support will also be addressed in addition to alimony. Contact us for more information on filing for divorce in California.
Steps for Filing Divorce in California
The basic steps for filing divorce in California are outlined below:
1. Complete the Proper Court Forms
In order to begin the marital dissolution process, you will have to complete Form FL-100 and FL-110. FL-100 requires you to detail basic information about your marriage and ask for orders you would like the court to make. FL-110 contains important information about the divorce process. The form contains standard information about restraining orders limiting what spouses can and cannot do with community property, money, and other assets and debts.
2. File Court Forms with the Clerk
Once you have completed all the required forms to file for divorce, you will need to provide the original signed forms to the clerk of the court. Make sure you make two additional copies of the signed forms. One will be for your records and the other copy will be served on your spouse. Once the clerk receives your divorce forms, a “filed” stamp will be placed on them and a case number assigned. This means that your marital dissolution petition is opened. If you would like the judge to make temporary orders pending the result of your divorce, you will need to file additional forms. Contact us for more information.
3. Serve Your Court Forms on the Respondent
Due process requires the divorce forms to be served on your spouse. You must have someone over 18 years of age who is not a party to the lawsuit serve your spouse with all copies of your current court documents. Your spouse must be properly served in order for the judge to make any orders regarding your dissolution. The date of service starts the clock ticking for the six-month waiting period.
4. Complete Your Financial Disclosure Forms
You have 60 days from the date your marital dissolution petition is filed to complete your financial disclosure forms and provide a copy to the court and Respondent. You must exchange the financial disclosure in order to obtain a divorce. This is a mandatory requirement for the Petitioner.
5. Submit Final Judgment
The Respondent has 30 days from the date they are served with the marital dissolution petition to file a formal response with the court. In many cases, the divorce will proceed by default and the Respondent will not file a Response. This is the easiest way to complete a divorce case. It also saves the Respondent from paying a court filing fee. After 30 days have passed, a default judgment can be submitted to the court.
Filing Divorce in California Without a Lawyer
Not all marital dissolutions require active legal representation. This means that filing divorce in California without a lawyer is a great option for many people seeking to inexpensively dissolve their marriage. In California, you have the right to represent yourself as a pro se litigant during your divorce. If you undergo mediation, your marital dissolution can easily be settled without having to litigate any issues.
At A People’s Choice, we can help you file all the required documentation to commence a California divorce proceeding and help you get your divorce finalized. If necessary, you can always consult with an attorney for legal advice if you need help addressing certain issues along the way. Representing yourself in a marital dissolution can save you thousands of dollars. Contact us for more information.