Online Divorce in California
For those seeking an inexpensive divorce in the state of California, online divorce can be an easy, affordable and fast solution. Online divorces may be appropriate for couples who have an uncontested case. The step-by-step process of preparing divorce documents at OnlineDivorce.com makes it easy on the client. The site helps prepare all the necessary divorce forms and provides detailed written instructions on how to file for divorce in California.
Our divorce document preparation service can assist those who want their divorce papers completed in a quick and stress-free fashion. California has unique divorce forms and filing requirements, and our online system provides exactly what is necessary and applicable, with instructions on how to file. We have helped thousands of people prepare their divorce documents for filing.
If the two spouses have an amicable agreement on the terms of the divorce, why should the process get drawn out, and why should money be spent on lawyers? Online divorces are often cheaper, quicker and easier.
Online divorce is often a great option for those who want to save money or hope to have the divorce quickly finalized and return to normal life. An increasing number of people are preparing documents for divorce online because it can be done in the comfort of one’s own home. Even for complex cases that involve children, property or other assets, the online route is possible. Clients first fill out a simple questionnaire and are given instructions at each step of the way.
The process at OnlineDivorce.com is 100% secure. We protect the client’s information and nothing gets filed until the client personally submits the divorce papers to a court. Filing for divorce in California with OnlineDivorce.com can be a simple solution to a difficult situation.
OnlineDivorce.com begins the divorce process by presenting a simple online questionnaire. It can be filled out alone or with the assistance of a spouse. A signature from the other spouse must be obtained, after which the divorce forms may be filed at local court. In California, this is typically done at the courthouse in the county where the client currently resides. If the petitioner is not currently a resident, but the defendant is, divorce is typically filed in the county where the defendant resides.
The actual filing process is explained in our detailed court-filing instructions that we provide along with the completed divorce forms. Clients can also obtain assistance from their local courthouse by calling or stopping by.
If there are any issues with the documents after the initial filing, clients may need to follow up. OnlineDivorce.com helps the client make small adjustments to their forms, as requested by the court, at no additional charge. The goal of the service is always to minimize stress and hassle.
Every state has specific requirements where divorcing couples must establish residency within the state they are divorcing. California is no exception. If you wish to file for divorce in California, one or the other spouse must live in the state with proven residency for at least six months before filing. The filing spouse must have lived in the county he or she plans to file in for at least three months before filing as well.
There are many ways to prove that residency has been established. The easiest way is if one or both spouses have a valid and in-date California driver’s license, ID card or voter’s registration card which was issued at least six months before filing for divorce. If this is not the case, it may be possible to establish residency, by having someone who knows you or your spouse testify that you have lived in the state for at least six months. Additionally, it may be possible to use an Affidavit of Corroborating Witness form, and it should serve as proof you’ve lived in the state a minimum of six months.
You may also have to prove residency in the county in which you file your divorce paperwork once you have it completed. More information on this will be available as you work through the divorce process.
Valid grounds to get divorce in California
Grounds for an online divorce using OnlineDivorce.com are the same as they would be for any divorce within the State of California. Grounds are merely the reason for divorce, and the state must approve them.
No-fault grounds for divorce in California include:
Irreconcilable differences causing an irremediable breakdown of the marriage [Annotated California Code; Section 2310]. Irreconcilable differences are not normally required to be proven, but the court can require it in specific cases.
The general or fault-related reasons for divorce include, (but are not limited to):
Incurable insanity: For incurable insanity to be established, there must be documentation in places as from a doctor or hospital which declares that the situation isn’t likely to be resolved.
Property division in California
When a couple chooses to divorce in California, they must split their property in a fair and agreeable manner. Property distribution can be handled independently and without involving the court in an undisputed divorce. In doing this, the couple may make their own decisions regarding how property is distributed as long as it is fair and both members of the couple agrees without being coerced or manipulated in any way.
On the other hand, the court can become involved in a case where a decision is not met independently. If this is the case, there are specific rules that must be followed to assure that the spouses receive their fair share from the marital estate.
As a "Community Property" state, California will divide all property accumulated during the course of the marriage in an equal split if an agreement cannot be reached.
Property gained together after marriage, which is called joint property is presumed to be community property, which affects the burden of proof. This can then be countered by:
- An obvious statement in the paperwork for that property that declares that the property is solely that of the individual and not community property; or
- Written proof that the spouses have made an agreement that the property is that of an individual and not community property.
The courts go to great lengths to make the distribution of property as fair and equal as possible, and may take a portion of one person's property to cover the costs of those disparities of the other.
Any debts which were accumulated after the date of separation, but prior to the decision made by the courts regarding the divorce or legal separation are confirmed as such:
- Debts accumulated through the cost of living for both spouses as well as the needs of any children, without proof stating otherwise, is determined by who is more able to pay the debt at the time in which it was accumulated.
- Debts accumulated for non-necessities for either spouse, or for any children, will be determined without offsetting any support the court may issue to the spouse who incurred the debt.
Debts acquired after the motion for divorce has been filed, but before a ruling by the courts, will be confirmed without offset to the spouse who acquired the debt. (California Code - Sections: 2501, 2581, 2601, 2602, 2621, 2623, 2625, 2641)
Mediation support in California
If the court there is a chance for reconciliation in a non-contested case, they may require a delay and recommend mediation. Mediation is available in all cases for parties who wish to consider this as an alternative to divorce.
For those seeking to prepare their divorce papers using OnlineDivorce.com, utilizing divorce mediation can be a great tool to smooth out disagreements and prevent the case from going to court. This can be the simplest way to assure a fast, easy and affordable online divorce.
Filing fees for divorce in California
When an individual files divorce papers, the court will charge filing fees that may vary by county. These costs are in addition to the cost of using OnlineDivorce.com. Clients must check with their local courthouse to determine the exact amount.
How long will it take
Use of the OnlineDivorce.com service usually takes between 30 minutes and two hours or more depending on the complexity of the case. Clients start by filling out a questionnaire and can either complete it in one sitting or save their progress and complete it at a later date.
Once the documents have been completed, they need to be filed with the other spouse’s signature. More information regarding the finalization of the divorce case is provided once the paperwork has been completed and submitted to a court.
Frequently Asked Questions
✅ Can I really file for divorce in California without a lawyer?
California law allows people to represent themselves in all cases, including the dissolution of marriage.
A do-it-yourself divorce is subject to the same regulations as a legally-assisted process. However,
before deciding to do a DIY divorce, the spouses should carefully evaluate what is at stake in the
particular case and assess their capabilities. Typically, divorce without a lawyer is not recommended
in contested cases due to their complexity and high risks.
On the contrary, if the parties are ready to negotiate and arrange an uncontested dissolution, it
gives them a clearer idea of what to expect from this procedure, making it easier to handle a divorce
without legal representatives.
✅ How can I file for divorce in California without a lawyer?
The main stages of an uncontested divorce process in California are similar regardless of whether
legal assistance is sought by the parties.
- First, the spouses should check whether they meet the California residency requirements so that
California courts can have jurisdiction over the case.
- Then the spouse who initiates the case has to prepare the legal forms needed to start the procedure
and file them with the Court Clerk. The necessary forms may vary depending on the county and the
specific details of the case, yet all divorces start with the Summons and Petition. Financial
disclosure forms may be submitted along with the petition (or within 60 days after filing).
- After filing the completed papers and paying a court filing fee, the plaintiff has to serve the
other party with copies of the documents, following the rules of civil procedure.
- The last step of an uncontested divorce process is writing up a Marital Settlement Agreement and
filing the final forms.
For spouses who do not have minor children, real estate, and substantial assets, a simplified divorce
option called Summary Dissolution is also available. Filing a Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution
the spouses avoid the stage of service of process.
The spouses can handle all these steps summarized above without any legal assistance. However, if
you'd like to get some help with the settlement agreement, parenting plan, or paperwork, without
hiring a high-priced attorney, you can take advantage of more affordable alternative services like
counseling, mediation, or online divorce.
✅ How much does it cost to get an uncontested divorce in California?
The cost of any divorce starts with a court filing fee. This payment is charged at the time of filing
for the divorce and is mandatory for all plaintiffs. Plaintiffs that cannot afford the fee can file
for a fee waiver which will require them to prove their indigence.
In California, the filing fee is about $435 - $450, depending on the county.
In theory, the filing fee determines the lowest possible cost of a divorce in the state. Still,
typically, the cost of an uncontested divorce in California is not limited to this amount. Additional
expenses will depend on the case peculiarities and could include serving fees, divorce mediation,
parenting classes, online divorce fees, and attorney fees.
✅ How long do you have to live in California to file for divorce?
To be eligible to file for divorce in California, the couple must meet the residency requirements
of the state. Foremost, the couple should file for divorce in the place where they currently reside,
not where the marriage occurred.
According to California Family Code, a judgment of dissolution of marriage may be entered in the state
if either party has been a resident of California for at least six months and a resident of the county
where the proceeding will be filed for at least three months.
U.S. military service members stationed in California for the aforementioned period are also eligible
to get a divorce within the state.
✅ How long do you have to respond to divorce papers in California?
From the date the defendant is served with the copies of the Summons and Petition, he or she has
30 days to file a response.
When filing the response, the defendant can disagree with any provisions contained in the petition.
This will cause the divorce proceeding to be considered contested.
If the parties have already agreed to settle all the disputed issues out-of-court, the petitioner can
request a default judgment by an agreement, which must be notarized.
✅ How do you get a free divorce in California?
A free divorce in California is available only if the plaintiff qualifies for a fee waiver due to
financial hardship and does not resort to the help of lawyers or any alternative services.
The plaintiff can ask the court to exempt him or her from having to pay a filing fee if he/she has a
low-income and cannot afford to pay the court fees. Thus, the plaintiff has to file a Request to Waive
Court Fees form with the court and answer several questions about their finances.
In all other cases, divorce is not free, but it can still be cheap in California if it is a
do-it-yourself uncontested divorce and summary dissolution.
✅ What papers do I need to file for a divorce in California?
The initial divorce forms which are required to start a divorce in California are the Petition for
Divorce (or the Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage), the Summons, and if the spouses
have children under the age of 18, Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement.
Other divorce forms include the Proof of Service of Summons, Notice and Acknowledgement of Receipt,
Response, Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation, Property Declaration,
Declaration of Disclosure, Marital Settlement Agreement, Judgment, and possibly others.