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Disclaimer: Online Divorce is not a law firm and its services, website and forms are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Online Divorce provides access to computer-aided self-help services at your specific direction. Online Divorce's website and written instructions provide general information about the divorce process only; we cannot give you any specific advice, opinions or recommendations as to your selection or completion of forms or your particular legal rights, remedies or options. is a website that provides access to self-guided online questionnaires. Online Divorce does not sell blank forms. You may be able to download blank forms from a government website depending on your state.

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by Jamie Kurtz

Jamie Kurtz has been a practicing divorce lawyer since 2008. She received her Juris Doctorate from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles in 2007. Ms. Kurtz was selected to Rising Stars for 2013 - 2016, 2019 - 2020, a peer designation awarded only to a select number of accomplished attorneys in each state. She also co-founded a law firm that specializes in uncontested divorce cases.

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Online Divorce in California

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 divorce may be appropriate for couples who have an uncontested case.

The step-by-step process of preparing divorce documents at makes it easy for 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 the exact forms necessary, along 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 divorce is often cheaper, quicker and easier.

Online divorce is often a great option for those who want to save money and have the divorce finalized quickly to return to a 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.

The process at 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 can be a simple solution to a difficult situation.

Filing: 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 the 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, the documents should be filed in the county where the defendant resides.

The actual filing process is explained in the detailed court-filing instructions we provide 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. 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 before filing for divorce. California is no exception.

If you wish to file for divorce in California, one of the spouses must live in the state with proven residency for at least six months before filing. Additionally, the filing spouse must have lived in the county where he or she plans to file for at least three months.

There are many ways to prove that residency has been established. The easiest way is if one or both spouses have a valid and current California driver’s license or state identification card with the current address. 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.

More information on this will be available as you work through the divorce process.

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Our tools have helped over 500,000 people get a quick and stress-free divorce while saving money in the process.

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Handling divorce papers online has never been more convenient

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Valid grounds to get divorce in California

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Grounds for an online divorce using 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.


California is a no-fault state, which means that neither spouse has to prove the other did anything wrong. As such, the divorce process is simplified to only two legal grounds for divorce:


  • Irreconcilable differences causing an irremediable breakdown of the marriage [Annotated California Code; Section 2310].
  • Incurable insanity: For incurable insanity to be established, there must be documentation from a doctor or hospital that declares that the situation isn’t likely to be resolved.

OnlineDivorce reviews

Wesley H.

Wesley H., Missouri

I started my divorce on my own, spending loads of money on lawyer visits in the beginning. So I decided to google for other ways and using this site was so much more simple!

James V.

James V., Texas

I had a very successful business at the time. So, making sure I had the right forms was very very important during my divorce. I was so surprised at how easy and smooth this process was.

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Chloe J., Florida

After years of a tumultuous marriage, I finally decided that I needed to reclaim my life. I was looking for how to go about it and came across this site and they simplified and made the process of divorce easy for me. I never thought it would’ve been possible.

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Will S., Colorado

Stress-free and easy! I was initially gonna hire a lawyer but I found online divorce the next best option. No muss, no fuss divorce. No big legal words that I’d have to have read 10 times to understand!

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Marco P., California

California is expensive and divorce can be even more expensive in the end but I can say that this site payed everything out for me to follow, from child support to alimony. My ex agreed to go this way as well so it was a much less expensive option for us.

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Tamara B., Nevada

Because of the whole dissolution of the marriage, I was struggling with two children and just in limbo with my husband at the time because of child support and alimony. I was a stay-at-home mom for 10 years. I just want to say that this site helped me sort it out. Thank you.

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Theresa S., New York

I live in upstate NY and unfortunately one day I found myself in a situation for divorce. I was all out of whack, needed answers to take action. Enough was enough so I did it on this site. Everything was clear to understand, all forms and what to put in which box.

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Livy B., Illinois is the bomb! I mean, using it was so easy to follow. So, if you find yourself in this situation do your divorce here if possible. Documents for all stages, alimony, child support and all!

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Custody of the child in California

Custody of the child

California courts are in charge of making child custody determinations upon divorce whenever the parents can't agree on a custody arrangement themselves.

Child custody can be granted to either parent based on what is in the "best interest of the child."

In deciding what is best for a child, the court shall consider the following factors:

  • The preference of the child, given that the child is old enough and mature enough to express their opinion (unless the court decides it's not in the child's best interest to do so);
  • The desire and capability of the parents to allow an open, loving, and frequent relationship between the other parent and the child;
  • The welfare, health, and safety of the child in either home;
  • A history of abuse by a parent;
  • The amount and type of contact which has occurred in the past with both parents; and
  • The use of controlled substances or continual or habitual abuse of alcohol by either parent;
  • Any other factors the court finds relevant and consistent.

Rules for child support in California

The courts use a child support guideline formula to determine which parent will pay support and how much.

Child support guidelines in California are based on the Income Shares Model. The amount of monthly support is determined by applying the guidelines in fair proportion based on each parent’s "net disposable income," meaning income after state and federal taxes and other required deductions. However, the court cannot consider income from CalWORKs, General Assistance/General Relief, or SSI (Supplemental Security Income).

To calculate the exact amount for a particular dissolution case, the spouses should use the California Guideline Child Support Calculator.

In applying the statewide uniform guideline, the courts abide by the following principles:

  • A parent's obligation is to provide for his or her minor children in accordance with the parent's circumstances.
  • The responsibility for the support of children belongs to both parents.
  • The guideline considers both parent's actual level of responsibility for the children and income.
  • Each parent should pay their fair share to support the child or children.
  • The guideline places the interests of children as the primary priority of the state.
  • Children should share in both parents' standards of living. Thus, child support may appropriately improve the children's lives due to improved living standards within the custodial house.
  • In situations where both parents are responsible for the children, these factors should minimize inequalities in the children's living standards and reflect the expenses incurred from raising the children in two homes.
  • The needs of the children should be settled through private financial resources when at all possible.
  • It is assumed that the parent with primary physical responsibility will contribute a significant amount of the resources available in order to support the children.
  • The guideline attempts to efficiently and equitably reach settlements of conflicts between spouses and reduce the need for litigation as much as possible.
  • Only in rare situations should child support orders fall below the amount dictated by the guideline formula since the guideline is assumed to be correct in all cases.
  • Child support orders mandate that children get timely, fair, and proper support, which should be reflected by California's high costs of child care and equally high standard of living in comparison to other states. [California Code - Sections: 3622, 4001, 4050]

Uncontested California divorce with children

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Rules for spousal support in California

Rules for spousal support

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is sometimes ordered by the court to help one spouse live in a manner established during the marriage after the divorce.

California couples can decide alimony together before filing or leave this matter to the court's discretion.

The court's judgment decides alimony, its amount, and its duration on a case-by-case basis.

In ordering spousal support, the courts will abide by the following circumstances:

  • The ability of the spouses to maintain the standard of living kept during the marriage;
  • The skills of the party seeking support, the likelihood of employment utilizing those skills, the time and expenses required to acquire marketable skills, and the possible need for retraining or education to develop those or other marketable skills or employment;
  • The employability of the spouse who seeks support concerning time spent unemployed to perform domestic duties;
  • How the supported person contributed to the other spouse’s education, training, career position, or license;
  • The ability of the supporting spouse to provide spousal support, taking into consideration their earning power, unearned and earned income, the standard of living, and assets;
  • The needs of both spouses established during the marriage, based on their standard of living;
  • The assets and obligations of both spouses, including the separate property of each individual;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The ability of the person being supported to find employment that will not unduly interfere with the best interests of the children in the custody of that person;
  • The current health and age of each spouse;
  • Any proof of a history of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, between the spouses, including, but not limited to, emotional distress caused by any domestic violence to the supported spouse by the supporting spouse and any violence committed by the supported spouse on the supporting spouse;
  • The specific and immediate tax consequences to each spouse;
  • Any other factors that the court determines as fair.

The goal of spousal support is that the person being supported will be self-supporting within a reasonable time.

Except when dealing with a marriage of long duration, as described in Section 4336, a "reasonable period of time" is generally defined as one-half the length of the marriage. However, the court's discretion is not limited in its decision to allow a lesser or greater amount of time, based on the spouses' circumstances.

Factors that could lead to a reduced amount or the elimination of support all together include:

  • Any criminal conviction which occurred of an abusive spouse;
  • Other circumstances that the court determines are just. [California Family Code, Sec. 4320, 4324, 4330]

Property division in California

Property division

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 parties agree without being coerced or manipulated in any way.

If a couple cannot decide on their own, the court will become involved. In this case, the court follows specific rules 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, 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 declaring that the property is solely that of one individual and not community property; or
  • Written proof that the spouses have made an agreement that the property is that of one 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 and the needs of any children, without proof stating otherwise, are determined by who is more able to pay the debt when it was accumulated.
  • Debts accumulated for non-necessities for either spouse or 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: 2502, 2581, 2601, 2602, 2621, 2623, 2625, 2641]

Why us? Review the difference

Contested Divorce

Average prices start at $2000

Offline and inconvenient process with attorney representation for each spouse. Costly attorney fees resulting in unforeseen expenditures. Lengthy and expensive option.

  • Attorney availability impacts completion time
  • Each spouse has to hire an attorney, which automatically doubles legal costs
  • Potential court battles add to the already high-stress levels

The premier uncontested divorce tool

Fully-guided, fast and affordable process. Experienced and reliable online divorce service using top-notch technology.

  • Ready-to-file divorce documents can be completed at your own pace with easy access for both spouses
  • Award-winning customer support
  • One flat fee (for both spouses) to access all completed documents for filing
  • Free revisions and free name change, no hidden fees
  • Detailed state-specific filing instructions
  • Review all and make changes from the comfort of your own home
Other Online Divorce Services

Average prices start at $300

Other websites for filling out divorce documents use flawed software technologies to complete your divorce documentation.

  • Automated document preparation
  • Processing time varies but may take more than three business days
  • On-demand customer support, quality varies
  • One flat fee claimed, however many sites have hidden fees
  • No experience: many sites started operating just a few years ago

Mediation support in California

If the court determines there is a chance for reconciliation in a non-contested case, they may require a delay and recommend mediation. Mediation is also available in all cases for parties who wish to consider it as an alternative to divorce.

For those seeking to prepare their divorce papers using, utilizing divorce mediation can be a great tool to smooth out disagreements and prevent the case from going to court. It can be the simplest way to assure a fast, easy and affordable online divorce.

Divorce forms in California

California forms produced by are court-approved divorce forms. We have automated the process of filling them out to simplify matters and avoid any difficulties that may occur with filling out paperwork alone. By utilizing, clients can streamline the process of preparing divorce documents to help both parties move forward with their lives.

Divorce in California online

Get your completed divorce forms and save thousands in legal fees

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 Clients must check with their local courthouse to determine the exact amount.

How long will it take

Use of the 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 the 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.

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.

Here is how makes completing divorce papers easier:

  • We provide the full divorce packet required by the local court - clients do not need to drive to their local courthouse to get the blank forms or search for the right divorce forms online. In rare cases, local county forms can vary in color, paper material, size, or bar code, so they may need to be obtained directly from the county clerk's office.
  • We complete the necessary forms for clients based on their answers given in a simple guided online interview - clients do not need to understand family law or read through complicated instructions to figure out how to fill out the forms themselves.
  • We give detailed, easy to follow step-by-step instructions for filing a divorce with the court - so the client knows exactly what to do to get his/her divorce finalized.
  • We provide unlimited technical support - if a client needs assistance through the online process, he/she can always reach out to us via phone, email, or live chat, and we'll do our best to help.
  • We save our clients time and money - if divorcing spouses agree regarding the terms of their divorce, they typically don’t have to pay thousands to a lawyer to handle their divorce forms and don't need to spend hours trying to do it all by themselves.
  • We guarantee 100% court approval on divorce papers prepared through our website or your money back - we have 21 years of experience in completing divorce forms so clients can be sure the court will accept their documents without issues.