• how to start a divorce in california

How to Start a Divorce in California

Getting a divorce can be a complicated process especially if the parties involved are not willing to cooperate. We often hear people say how easy it is to get married and how difficult it is to get divorced. This is somewhat an exaggeration in most cases. However, the steps to start a divorce in California are reasonably simple. With the help of A People’s Choice, finishing a divorce can also be easy and stress-free.

“I needed help understanding and filling out legal documents but I didn’t have enough money to pay for an attorney. I searched the internet for a short period looking for help and when I found A People’s Choice, I was relieved to know that I would get the exact service that I needed at an affordable price. The staff was very professional and helpful with my legal documents. They worked around my schedule and responded to my emails on a timely manner. They took care of all the paper work and filing and kept me posted. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice for your legal documents as you will get outstanding service at an affordable price. “

Sharon B.

“I want to personally thank the staff at A People’s Choice for making my divorce process so simple and painless. From my 1st contact in the office they were was warm and friendly and took the time to explain each step in a very simple and quick manner. Filing for a divorce can be a difficult and painful process and the staff was extremely professional and clear in all guidance and explanations. I highly recommend A People’s Choice.”

C. Hannon

“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 help 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

“I’m so glad I found this company to handle my divorce. They were very professional and detail oriented and answered all of my (many) questions, keeping me informed along the way.  Everything was handled for me from hundreds of miles away and made it pretty seamless. The pricing was in the exact range we were looking for. Very honest company and great to work with. Highly recommend them to anyone!”

Jessica J.

“I would just like to comment on what a great job A People’s Choice did with my divorce. I have just received the final judgement and could not be happier. They told me up front what the cost would be. They also let me know how they keep the cost down by communicating through email. I also appreciated how when I had a question they got back with me in the day or in the evening. Thank You for your quick responses. A People’s Choice is a good deal for the consumer.”

R. Leyva

“Divorce is usually never pleasant but A People’s Choice made it much easier than it would have been if we tried to do the divorce paperwork on our own. They were very quick to respond to us and always took the time to answer all of our questions thoroughly, in addition to quickly. I would highly recommend them for handling divorce paperwork.”

Susan Z.

“A People’s Choice is a great option to get legal documents prepared inexpensively. They offer a very professional, low-cost service for all sorts of legal paperwork, from living trusts to divorce, bankruptcy and everything in between. I always received a prompt reply to my inquiries and found the legal guide they gave me extremely helpful and informative. If you know what you want to do, don’t need legal advice and just need help preparing legal paperwork, I strongly recommend calling this company. You won’t be disappointed and will save lots of money as compared to using an expensive attorney!”

Kathryn R.

“I used A People’s Choice for filing divorce paperwork for an uncontested divorce. The price was very affordable and fair. Excellent service throughout. Not being able to call and talk on the phone worried me at first but they responded to every email extremely quickly. There directions were very easy to understand and they had no problem explaining something multiple times if I had questions or did not fully understand the directions. Will definitely use them again for any other legal documents I might need help with in the future.”

Frank M.

“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.

“Can not remember how I found A People’s Choice. I think it was through a web search. In any case I found the company and have been and am completely satisfied with the service provided. The person I worked with (Sandra) was very friendly whenever we spoke on the phone and always responded promptly to any emails. The answers were always clear. The entire process was smooth and painless. I would recommend A People’s Choice without hesitation.”

Les A.

“I was overwhelmed with my divorce,custody and child support paperwork Sandy at People’s Choice made everything so much easier and really put my mind at ease. I couldn’t be happier with their assistance and it really made all the process speed up for me. Thank you so much for all your help.”

Samantha R.

“A People s Choice is a business that delivers what they promise. I was treated like a VIP by their staff and Sandy was the best. As for their services, they promptly delivered all the official documents and fillings on my behalf and their price is more than reasonable. In short, this is a business that I will always recommend and continue to use. Thank you!”

Juan B.

Start Your California Divorce Today!

  • or call 1-800-747-2780

Hiring an attorney to represent you through the divorce process will cost you thousands of dollars. In this regard, consider hiring a legal document assistant such as A People’s Choice to file your divorce instead. A legal document preparer knows how to start a divorce in California. In addition, they can complete all the forms you need to finish your divorce for a fraction of the costs an attorney would charge you. Contact us for more information on how to start a divorce in California with one of our experienced divorce assistants.

Initial Forms to Start a Divorce in California

First, to start a divorce in California, you need to complete various forms. The primary document required to start the case is called the Petition, form FL-100. Generally speaking, this form provides details about your marriage, such as time spent legally married, personal information, and names of children. Also, the FL-100 addresses how you want to handle custody and child support.

In addition, You must file a Summons Form FL-110 with the Petition. This form informs your spouse that the divorce process has been initiated. The back of the Summons also identifies standard restraining orders that become effective when the divorce papers are filed.

Furthermore, if you have children the court will need the FL-105 UCCJEA form. Keep in mind many courts may have other local forms such as a court assignment document that is filed with the Petition to start a divorce in California

Next, you need to submit your forms to the court. Once presented,  the court clerk will assign a case number. Lastly, you will need to serve your spouse a complete copy of all filed paperwork. Have someone over the age of 18 give a copy of the filed papers to your spouse. Next, complete and file form FL-115. The form informs the court that your spouse received copies of the filed divorce papers.

Steps to Start a Divorce 

Keep in mind, the California court will not have authority over a divorce unless two the filing party meets two residency requirements. First, to file for divorce in California, the moving party must have lived in the state for six months. In addition, the moving party must have lived in the county where they file the Petition for at least the three preceding months

Complete FL-100, FL -105, FL-110, Fl-115, and any other local forms and submit them for filing at the courthouse. The moving party must pay a filing fee. A Petitioner may get a fee waiver of the court filing fee if they meet the court’s low-income guidelines. This option is available for a person who receives public benefits or has a low-income.

Once the moving party has filed the initial documents with the local court, the respondent must be served with all filed forms. Although there is no mandated timeframe within which the papers must be served, the court will set follow-up hearings to make sure this step has been completed.  With this in mind, once served, the Respondent has 30 days from date of service to file a Response. If the respondent fails to respond within that time, the court can go ahead and make orders about the marriage, custody and child support, property, and spousal support without the respondent’s contest.

Contact us for more information on how to start a divorce in California. We can help you prepare and file the forms you need to start a divorce in California. Not only do we prepare the forms, we will file them with the court and make sure that the court enters your Judgment of Dissolution. Call to day at 800-747-2780.

Get help with your Legal documents today!

A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your legal documents instead of an expensive attorney!


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By | 2018-03-05T00:34:15+00:00 February 22nd, 2018|Family Law|0 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.

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