California divorce summons and petition statute

Divorce or Separation · Basics · Filing for Divorce or Separation "Service by posting" means that the court clerk posts the Summons or other document in a If you are asking to serve by publication, ask your court's family law facilitator or If your spouse or partner does not file a response, you as the petitioner can file a .
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What if My Spouse Won't Cooperate in a California Divorce? - Legal Action Workshop

Unfortunately, this makes the question of how long the divorce will take difficult to answer reliably. However, there are a variety of factors that can impact how long the divorce proceedings last. Before delving into these factors and how they can impact the speed of the proceedings, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of the different steps of a divorce.

This usually involves hiring someone called a process server to deliver the papers and notify the respondent that there is now a legal proceeding involving them. The respondent then gets a chance to answer the petition. This response is another stock form, with fields similar to the petition that started the case. After the notice, the Respondent has 30 days to file a response to the petition. Once the respondent files their paperwork, the case moves on to the next phase. There may be some preliminary conferences between the judge and the attorneys to set up procedures, and then the financial disclosures and discovery can begin.

The financial disclosures are another set of forms to be filed with the court, often at the same time as the initial petition, but no later than 60 days after the petition.

Divorce in California

These forms just detail the marital assets, spousal income, and similar financial information, and both spouses must complete a copy of them. Following an examination of the disclosures, the attorneys may request further discovery. The discovery process involves three tools: interrogatories, depositions, and requests for document production. An interrogatory is a written questionnaire prepared by one attorney and sent to the other party for them to answer.


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A deposition is an interview that an attorney conducts on other parties or on witnesses. A request for document production allows an attorney to compel the other party to provide them with relevant documents, like financial statements or tax returns. The discovery process can also involve an examination of people or property under court supervision, such as a court-ordered psychological exam.

It is possible for both parties to reach a settlement that will make them both happy and allow them to avoid court. If the parties complete discovery and fail to reach a settlement, then the case will enter the trial phase, where the judge makes final decisions about issues like custody, support obligations, and property division. However, even if the parties reach a settlement, the divorce cannot be granted until six months from the date the Petition and Summons have been served. Even prior to the divorce being granted, the settlement is valid once is it signed.

The state does offer instructions for filling out each of these forms, which you should review carefully before entering any information. It is extremely important that everything is filled out correctly if you want to avoid time consuming delays in the divorce process. The divorce forms required by California are standardized for the most part across the state, but keep in mind that some counties will require additional documentation.

California Divorce Facts

You will need to determine which forms your county requires as defined by your local courthouse. It would be prudent to contact the local courthouse by phone to ensure that you are using all the correct forms. To determine which divorce documents are appropriate for you, different California counties offer Self-Help Centers , where you can get assistance pertaining to your situation.

You pick your county from the list, and then you will get further information and contacts to find out what steps you should take.

Depending on the center, you may be able to contact qualified assistance by phone, email or in person. You also have the option to obtain divorce papers online that are targeted to your needs from CompleteCase. This can save you considerable time and effort, and avoid costly mistakes. If you choose to seek out divorce papers on your own, you can find many of the basic forms on the Forms page for California Courts. Some of these documents include:.

FL — This is the form to begin the divorce or legal separation process. You will list all the pertinent information related to your marriage, including children, dates and property. FL — This form is the Summons, which lets your spouse know that the divorce process has begun. FL — The Proof of Service of Summons, this lets you tell the court that you have notified your spouse of the divorce proceedings.

There are also documents pertaining to children, and additional documents if you and your spouse have extra property that will not fit on form FL Which forms you need will depend on your circumstances, but make certain you use every form that pertains to you. Failure to fill out all appropriate forms can lead to significant delays in the process.

Once you have filled out all of the required California divorce forms, you are ready to file. You will then need to go to the local courthouse to file, where you will be submitting at least the petition and the summons. There is also a fee that you must pay to the state to file your divorce papers.

It is possible to have the fee waived if you submit a Request to Waive Court Fees however, the court will need to review and approve your request. Once you have handed over your documents and paid your fee, the county clerk will stamp the forms and give you copies for your records. Your spouse does not have to be present when you file the documents, but if he or she is not present, you will need to serve a copy of the documents that have been stamped to your spouse. You should serve your spouse as soon as possible after leaving the courthouse.

Whether you have acquired your divorce papers online or otherwise, there are a number of methods to serve your spouse in California.

How Do I File for Divorce in California

These include:. By Mail — If you are certain that your spouse will cooperate with you, you can send the documents by mail. Your spouse will need to fill out a Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt and return it to the courthouse to verify he or she was served. County Sheriff — You can request that the county sheriff serve your spouse. This usually requires paying a fee, but it is a trouble-free way of delivering the documents to a spouse that may not be cooperative. Professional Process Server — There are professional services for serving papers, which you can hire.

California Courts offers additional information on serving divorce papers to your spouse. Once your spouse is served and the papers are filed, California requires a 6 month waiting period to finalize the divorce.


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If you click "Unsubscribe" your email address will be removed from our database and we won't be able to get in touch with you by email when you may need it. Are you sure you want to unsubscribe? Please note that although you are currently not in agreement with your spouse regarding the divorce, you will need to agree before you get your divorce paperwork. Our guided process is designed to walk you through all the important issues in a divorce so that you can come to terms.

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