File the Appropriate California Divorce Paper
Going through a divorce requires time, patience, and often money, even under the laid-back Californian sun. What California divorce paper do you need to file to end your marriage? We provide the answer and some additional tips to finalize your divorce as fast as possible.
Before completing and filing the necessary divorce paperwork in California, you should understand that there are different ways to end a marriage or registered domestic partnership:
- Legal separation
The best scenario is a friendly divorce, with both spouses cooperating and agreeing on all crucial aspects. Keep in mind that even if your spouse doesn’t want to get divorced, you can still go through the whole process and get a default judgment. In case you believe unbiased third-party professionals might help with resolving some issues, you could try mediation.
As California is a no-fault state, you don’t have to prove that your spouse did something wrong during the marriage. Stating that you are not getting along—the legal term is irreconcilable differences—is sufficient grounds for divorce.
Different rules apply if your spouse is in the military, so you should talk to a lawyer in that case.
You can find the required divorce forms on the California Courts website. Here’s what should be included in the divorce packet in California:
|Everyone||Couples With Underage Children||Optional|
||Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act||
To complete a preliminary disclosure, you need to include the following:
- Declaration of Disclosure
- Income and Expense Declaration
- Schedule of Assets and Debts or Property Declaration
- Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure
If you’d like to request a fee waiver, you’ll need to fill out another form—the Request to Waive Court Fees. While the same divorce package is used in all courts across California, you should contact your local court clerk’s office to check if they require you to fill out additional forms.
To check what divorce forms you need to file in your county, you can:
- Contact the court clerk’s office
- Use a local self-help center
- Consult a lawyer
You can contact the court clerk’s office directly by following these steps:
- Access the California Courts Find Your Court page
- Type in your city or ZIP code in the search box
- Click on the Find button
Another option is to click the View All Courts link next to the Find button. On the provided list, click on your county to visit your county court’s website. Once you get to the website, you should:
- Look for the forms and filing sections
- Get in touch with the clerk’s office using the available contact information
To access your county court’s self-help center information, you should:
- Visit the California Courts Self-Help Centers page
- Click on your county
- Use the provided resources to find the necessary forms and information
You can opt for the services of an experienced divorce lawyer at any point. If you’d like to cut your costs, you should go through the steps alone and consult a lawyer only when:
- You don’t understand some matters
- There are complicated divorce issues
- You’re getting ready to file the forms (have your lawyer review them to confirm everything is accurate)
You must file for divorce in the county where you live. Before filing the divorce papers, you need to meet the residency requirements, i.e., you must live in:
- The county for at least three months
- California for a minimum of six months
In case you don’t meet the criteria, you could file:
- For legal separation
- An amended petition for divorce once you’ve met the residency requirements in your county
You can go through California divorce procedures alone, especially if you and your spouse agree on all matters.
The state of California helps you file for divorce without an attorney by providing an interactive online step-by-step tool. In case you don’t understand the forms, you’ll need to consult a family lawyer.
One of the essential documents in this unpleasant situation is a divorce settlement agreement. You must draft one since it:
- Determines the responsibilities of you and your spouse in the post-divorce period
- Incorporates all agreements regarding alimony, child custody, property division, etc.
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Interested in finding out more about the divorce specifics in your state or county? DoNotPay offers the latest intel.
Check out our practical guides in the table below:
|General Divorce Questions||California-Specific Divorce Questions||County-Specific Divorce Information|
|Learn about the divorce requirements in the following California counties:|
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