California, the state with the world’s best beaches and home to lavish customs and lifestyle, is probably not the most pocket-friendly state. Divorce in California is expensive, confusing, and a little chaotic. Contrary to popular belief, this unpleasant situation can get overturned.

As hectic and emotionally draining as divorce is, nobody needs complex legal matters to add to the desolation. Thanks to the free, printable forms available on the California Courts’ website, you can get a smooth divorce without an attorney. Since divorce is mostly paperwork, all you need to do is fill the individual forms correctly and file the paperwork with the court on time.

Keep reading to know which California divorce papers you need and where to find them.

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L. Carnes

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Susan Z.

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Debbie E.

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Seth M.

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Juan B.

“Thank you A People’s Choice for saving me all the headaches when I thought I could save money and file my own divorce paperwork. The court clerks offer no assistance whatsoever with simple questions and handed me another packet to figure out on my own. Trust me, the best advice I can give you is to call A People’s Choice first. They typed up my paperwork and my divorce was final in two weeks! I am so grateful to them and I would highly recommend them to everyone.”

L. Bayer

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Gene A.

“Great way to get your divorce processed without attorneys for approx. $495. There were a few small hiccups with the documents, but nothing major, which I caught when I reviewed. I am happy with their service, efficient and organized, and would recommend them for filing a divorce that is mutually settled and skip the attorneys. Note: They are not process servers, so find your own server, or if you can do it yourself and save the $$. Thanks for a job well done!”

Bud P.

“I was very happy with the service received. They were extremely responsive by phone and email and completed the document in less than 24 hours! All questions were answered promptly. I would highly recommend this service to anyone needing a legal document prepared!”


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I have worked with A People’s Choice since September 2013.  They are very knowledgeable and experienced.  Their work is done professionally and timely.  They show a real concern for my situation.  I recommend you give them the opportunity to be of service to you.”

D. Echeverra

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in California?

The length of a divorce service process depends on various factors. To begin with, there is a mandatory waiting period of six months before filing the list of forms required for divorce. There is nothing you can do to reduce this period. Even if your legal separation was decades ago based on family law forms, you will have to wait six months after filing the divorce petition to get a divorce.

It is advised that you pay the filing fee and keep all your documents ready to get the divorce finalized as soon as the waiting period is over. Any additional documents should also get provided after the six-month waiting period. Ensure that you’ve filled the correct forms before the divorce process starts.

The length of a divorce depends on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, i.e., whether the court needs to interfere or you and your spouse can negotiate and agree on everything related to the divorce issues.

The divorce may stretch even more if minor children are involved. Custody of children’s battles tends to take a lot of time even if both parents are cooperative. However, this time is important since young children are involved and you need to make decisions regarding child custody. If parents try to rush the divorce and do not give their children enough time to cope, it could affect their mental health adversely.

How Do I File for Divorce in California?

Grounds for Divorce

California was the first state to adopt the concept of “no-fault” divorce, meaning that the grounds for divorce in California are “irreconcilable differences.” So, if your partner does not want a divorce, you can independently end the marriage (mutual consent for divorce is no longer compulsory).


Before the filing process for divorce in California, you must first check whether you meet the eligibility criteria or not.

The California divorce residency requirement states that at least one spouse must be a resident of the state of California for at least six months before filing the divorce petition and requesting for nullity of marriage. You also must be living in the county where you are submitting the divorce plea for at least three months before filing the petition. If neither spouse fulfills California’s six-month living requirement, they can file legal separation form attachments and then modify the petition when they meet the residency criteria.

Steps for a California Divorce

Once you’re positive that you meet the criteria, you can file the mandatory standard forms needed to start a divorce. Detailed information on these forms is available in the next section.

After this step, you will have to serve the divorce papers to your spouse to make them officially aware that a case has been opened for marriage dissolution and legal separation. During the divorce proceedings, you can demand temporary orders through self-help forms if required. You can also obtain relevant information from your spouse through “discovery.”

Next, you will have to fill all financial disclosure forms for your divorce paperwork. Following this, you can proceed with a settlement or trial, based on the complexity of your case regarding the nullity of marriage.

Finally, once you receive your filed judgment back from the court with a judge’s signature on it, along with a separately filed Notice of Entry of Judgment, you will know that your marriage divorce is final.

Printable divorce papers

What Printable Divorce Papers Do I Need?

You will need the following legal forms for your California divorce:

  • Petition (Form FL-100):

    All divorce proceedings start with a divorce petition. This form includes basic information about you and your spouse. It also declares whether you’re opting for legal separation, dissolution of marriage, or dissolution of a domestic partnership. If you choose dissolution of marriage, you have to indicate that you meet the residency requirements mentioned in the previous section. This form also requires you to state the reason for the dissolution of marriage. Since California is a no-fault divorce state, you will have two options to choose from: irreconcilable differences or invalidity of the marriage from the very beginning. This form also indicates which spouse is the petitioner and which is the respondent regarding the nullification of marriage.

  • Declaration Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (Form FL-105):

    If you and your spouse have children from your marriage, then this form is mandatory in representing a minor child. Apart from the basic information about your children like name, age, and height, this form requires you to mention if there is any domestic violence restraining/protective order currently in effect or if your divorce child has ever been involved in a court case. This may then call for child support custody. If you have no dependent children in your marriage, you can skip filling this form.

  • Summons (Form FL-110):

    You do not need to fill anything out in this form. Instead, the court fills this form out to provide you and your spouse with essential information regarding your divorce. It mentions that the petitioner has filed for divorce and that the respondent must respond within 30 days. It also provides a list of things that you or your spouse cannot do until you receive a final judgment of divorce.

  • Proof of Service of Summons (Form FL-115):

    As the name suggests, this form is basically to prove that the petitioner has served the respondent with the necessary divorce documents. The simple form also indicates when and how the service took place. Unlike other legal divorce forms, you or your spouse do not have to fill this one. Instead, the person who carried out the service is responsible for filling this form. Anybody who isn’t involved in the divorce case and is above the age of 18 years can serve the legal papers.

  • Proof of Personal Service (Form FL-330):

    The petitioner can choose how to serve the divorce papers based on the type of divorce. The most common choice is personal service wherein someone physically delivers (serves) the legal papers. The person serving the papers must sign this form to indicate that the service happened this way indeed.

  • Proof of Service by Mail (Form FL-335):

    Though not very common, service by mail is also legally acceptable for a marital situation. Here too, the person serving the papers via email must sign the form. Even though the service is online, a third party is necessary.

  • Notice and Acknowledgement of Receipt (Form FL-117):

    This form allows the respondent to confirm that they have duly received the package of forms. This is a very pertinent form because if the respondent fails to respond within 30 days of receiving the papers, the judge rules a default judgment that is usually in favor of the petitioner. If this form is missing, the court will suspect that the respondent may not have received the papers.

  • Response (Form FL-120):

    If you are the respondent who has been served with the papers, this is the form you need to fill. The form’s contents are similar to those of the petition (Form FL-100). The only difference is that the respondent fills this and not the petitioner.

  • Appearance, Stipulations, and Waivers (Form FL-130):

    This form is signed by both spouses and indicates whether it is a contested or an uncontested divorce.

  • Declaration of Disclosure (Form FL-140): 

    This form requires both spouses to mention everything about their expenses, income, debts, and assets. Both community and separate property need to be stated in this form.

  • Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure and Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-141): 

    In this form, both you and your spouse will have to sign off that the other one has provided relevant financial disclosures and associated documents.

  • Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form FL-190):

    This form is to notify you and that your divorce is final. If you hired an attorney for your divorce, this is when the billable hours will stop piling up.

How Do I Get Printable Divorce Papers?

All the divorce forms mentioned above, and other forms that you may need, are available for free on the California Court’s website under the Self-help section. All the forms are available as PDF documents and are printable. For your ease, printable forms have been linked in the previous section as well.

Do I Need an Attorney?

Even the most organized people make mistakes when they are emotionally and mentally stressed. So it is not unusual for spouses to get stuck here and there in the divorce process. When this happens, you can go one of two ways, either request a family law facilitator at the court to review your forms and make sure that everything is in order, or use a legal document assistance service for detailed instructions like A People’s Choice.

If you wish to hire a divorce lawyer, the California Courts website has a list of recommended family law attorneys in every county.

However, do not forget the beaches, the lavish lifestyle, and the expensive attorneys of California. If you hire an attorney, your divorce will cost you somewhere around $17,500. The cost can rise to $26,000 in cases involving children.

If you don’t feel like paying all that extra money, our team of legal document assistants is exactly what you need.

Contact us to get help with your California divorce today!