How to Divorce in California Without an Attorney With A People’s Choice
Using a divorce document preparer or divorce preparation service is the easiest and fastest way to complete an uncontested divorce in California. Plus, A People’s Choice has been preparing California divorce documents for over 40 years. Here’s how we have successfully helped thousands of couples navigate the California divorce process:
Step 1: Prepare and File Your Initial Petition
When you work with A People’s Choice, we help you prepare and file your initial petition for divorce with the court. More specifically, this petition consists of Summons FL-110, a Petition FL-100, and any other local forms required by your county court. Filing the initial petition with the court provides the clerk an opportunity to assign a case number. Note that this step will require a filing fee.
Step 2: Serve Your Spouse
Once you’ve filed the summons, petition, and any other required documents with the court, you will be responsible for ensuring your spouse is served the divorce papers. More specifically, a process server or friend may serve your spouse. Otherwise, your spouse may voluntarily accept service by signing an acknowledgement of receipt.
Regardless of how you go about serving your spouse, A People’s Choice can help you complete and file the required form, Proof of Service FL-115. Legally speaking, the date and time of service determines the earliest date of termination of the marriage. Therefore, this form is important for proper documentation of this information.
Step 3: Exchange Financial Information
The state of California requires that divorcing couples exchange a detailed list of all community and personal property and debt. Believe it or not, even in a completely uncontested divorce, California couples must exchange this information in at least one preliminary meeting within 60 days of service. Luckily, A People’s Choice can help you understand and locate the documents necessary to provide this information.
Step 4: Sign a Marital Settlement Agreement
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of working with A People’s Choice is getting help with your marital settlement agreement. A marital settlement agreement is a legal document in which divorcing spouses outline all agreed-upon issues, including:
- Child custody and visitation;
- Spousal support;
- Child support;
- Retirement division;
- Real property division;
- Health insurance;
- Tax issues; and
- Division of other property and debt
While some couples in an uncontested divorce may have an easy time deciding upon these factors, communicating them in writing with professional, legal language is not always simple. As a result, most legal professionals do not recommend that divorcing couples use fill-in-the-blank “DIY” marital settlement agreements.
Unfortunately, many of the free or downloadable “sample” agreements you find online do not fit the needs of every couple. Plus, when you work with A People’s Choice, we begin drafting your marital settlement agreement upon filing the petition for divorce. Oftentimes, couples benefit from having this list of necessary legal concerns before they attempt to discuss them.
Furthermore, it’s important to recognize that a marital settlement agreement must have detailed descriptions of each party’s responsibilities after marriage dissolution. Also, the document must be tailored to the county in which the couple is divorcing. Therefore, working with a legal document assistant is a great way to ensure your marital settlement agreement has all necessary provisions before filing it with the court.
Step 5: Request to Enter Default
Parties involved in an uncontested divorce may request to enter default 30 days following the date of service. This request allows the divorce process to continue without the other party paying an extra fee for filing a response.
Step 6: Complete and Submit Your Final Judgment
After finalizing the marital settlement agreement, parties attach the document to the final judgment and submit it as a court order. A People’s Choice’s family law services offer extensive assistance with all the documents necessary to submit a final judgment.
As long as the parties submit these documents, the marriage will officially terminate six months and one day following the date of service. Upon this marital termination date, both individuals are legally free to remarry.
A People’s Choice Provides Flat-Fee, Tailored Services
Couples wondering how to divorce in California without a lawyer should consider working with a registered legal document assistant. In particular, A People’s Choice provides flat-fee services tailored to your specific needs. For example, our full service prices include assistance with case management and filing documents with the court. On the other hand, our NEW “documents only” services are a wonderful budget option for who only need help filling out legal forms.
From filing the initial petition to the final judgment of dissolution, A People’s Choice is here for whatever you need. The combination of our 40 years experience, streamlined processes, and informational materials make the divorce process both educational and stress-free for our clients. Contact us today for more information, or use our Quick Start Interview to begin the process ASAP!
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