Filing for Divorce in California — Get Your Divorce Forms in CA (24/7)

Online divorce in California

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How to get divorce in California

divorce in California

The information below will help understand more about the divorce in California.

The common steps of how to get divorce in California:

Note that divorce in California has a special term and is also known as a Dissolution of Marriage and occurs without court intervention. If the spouse claims for Dissolution, then he or she must comply with the conditions listed below.


In order to get a divorce in California the residency requirements of the state must be met.


The marriage had lasted no more than 5 years before the filing the divorce form documents to the court.


The spouses have no common children of the marriage and the wife at the time of filing for divorce is not pregnant.


The spouses have no real estate, both private and joint.


The spouses have no debts in the amount exceeding $6000, which were issued in marriage. However, please note that this does not include loans for auto credits.


Spouses do not have joint or private ownership of more than $38000, note that vehicles do not belong to this case.


The couple agrees with the conclusion that after a divorce in California, none of the spouses will receive financial support or alimony.


Both spouses voluntarily signed documents that equally divide their property, assets and liabilities.


If the spouse met all the criteria above he or she have to fill out the Petition for dissolution.


Once the divorce form documents are ready, the spouse have to register them in the court of the county and at least 6 months once court will grant thedivorce in California.


In case if the spouse wants to apply for a divorce in the state of California, he or she should live on the state's territory for at least half a year before filing the case. 

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Valid grounds to get divorce in California

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California is the state where operate no-fault grounds. Which means that the spouse doesn't have to prove in the court that his or her marriage is broken due to a serious fault of one of the spouses. As a no-fault grounds can be considered 2 options:

1) Irreconcilable differences which led to the fact that the spouses no longer get along with each other and there is no possibility for reconciliation.
2) Incurable mental illness of one of the spouses, which led to the fact that he or she became insane and there is no chance for recovery, here should be attached the testimony of qualified medical personnel.

However, during the divorce in California such facts as adultery, cruel treatment in the family or one of the spouses has abandoned the family are not considered as fault grounds, but they may be taken into account when court is making a decision on the division of property or the award of alimony.

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Annulment of the marriage in California

Annulment of the marriage in California

Those marriages that do not have legal force, are subject to cancellation, which means that marriage is not recognized by the state laws and is considered as void. Thus, instead of registering a divorce in California, the spouse can simply file for annulment. Not every marriage can be annulled. The void marriage occurs if:

  • If one of the spouses already has a legal marriage, which was registered before the current marriage;
  • If the marriage was concluded at the time when one of the spouses was mentally or physically incompetent and could not give his consent;
  • If at the time of marriage one of the spouses did not reach the legal age for marriage and did not have the consent of the parents or the court's permission to conclude this marriage.

To apply for annulment it is enough for one of the spouses just to live on the territory of the state at the time of filing, which means that there are no strict requirements for the residence.

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Custody of the child in California

Custody of the child

During the divorce in California courts can consider the issue of the custody of a child. Usually the courts of California are primarily regulated by the interests of the child, as well as by assumptions of what is most suitable for the child.

Courts can also assign joint custody of the child on the assumption that the child needs frequent and constant contact with the parents after their divorce.

Usually, if the parents have agreed on a parenting plan, the court makes a decision based on it. But if the parents can not come to a common decision, then the court independently appoints visitation hours.

Also, sometimes, the court decision can be affected by such factors as:

  • Alcohol or drug dependence of one of the parents;
  • The presence of domestic violence;
  • Age and health condition of the child.

Rules for child support in California

As well as in other states, courts require parents after the divorce in California to support their children. The amount of alimony is calculated on the basis of the Income Shares Model. In the model are considered the income of each parent, their additional funds, as well as the total level of expenses required to support the child and total quantity of the children in the family.

The court may consider the following factors that also can affect on the amount of child support:

  • the amount of time each parent spends with a child;
  • presence of children from other marriages;
  • the amount of medical insurance;
  • trade-union contributions of the spouses;
  • additional incomes and expenses of spouses;
  • travel expenses to meet the child;

In the California divorce papers the spouse have to list all the income and expenses to give the court the ability to calculate the sum of child financial support.

Uncontested California divorce with children
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Rules for spousal support in California

Rules for spousal support

Courts in California can also award support of a spouse, it can be either permanent, temporary, or one-time support. The following factors affect the court's decision during the divorce in California:

1) Duration of marriage.

2) Assets of both spouses, as well as their obligations.

3) Sources of income of the spouses and their amount.

4) Taxes paid by each spouse.

5) The needs of the parties in a certain standard of living.

6) Whether one of the spouses can help the second to get a sufficient level of education to be able to find a job with a stable income.

7) How the spouses spent money during the marriage.

8) The presence of children in marriage and whether special care is required for them.

9) Whether there are any facts of domestic violence during the marriage.

10) The number of debts and common property of the couple.

Sometimes the payment of alimony to the spouse may be terminated. This happens in cases of death of a spouse who receives support or if he or she enters into another marriage.

If the spouse wants to receive reliable financial support from the other spouse, he or she should indicate in the divorce form documents all kinds of resources from which he or she gets the money, and also list the expenses.

Property division in California

Property division

When applying for divorce in California and in case if the spouses do not have any agreement on how joint property should be divided, then the court makes a decision that after divorce the property is divided equally between the spouses.

However, if the spouses have a separate property, it will not participate in the process of property division.

To a separate property can be attributed, any property (including monetary assets) that was given to the spouse or passed by inheritance.

Divorce without a lawyer in California

If the spouse applies for an uncontested or simplified divorce in California, then there is no need to hire a lawyer. Cases, when a divorce is made without the participation of a lawyer, are called Pro Se Divorce, it is a Latin expression that translates as "on her or his own". Depending on which county the spouse lives, the process of divorce in the state of California can vary.

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Mediation support in California

In some situations, the court may invite spouses to use the services of mediators to go to reconciliation.  In this case, the spouse have to wait 30 days to get a divorce.

Divorce forms in California

Many forms can be found online. The main ones typically are:

  • FL-100 - a document to initiate the beginning of the divorce proceedings, includes the enumeration of information, censuring marriage, children, as well as property.
  • FL-110 - a document informing the second spouse that the divorce proceedings began.
  • FL-115 is a document telling the court that the spouse notified other spouse about the beginning of the divorce proceedings.

Uncontested divorce in California

Uncontested divorce in California

If during a divorce the spouse has a disagreement with the other spouse regarding such questions as division of property, custody of children or the award of spousal and child support, then the process of divorce in California becomes too complicated and prolonged. If the spouses have settled all kinds of disputes and come to a common solution, then the divorce can be called uncontested.

Domestic partnerships in California

California law allows partners of the same sex to enter into partnerships to live together as a married couple. In California it calls domestic partnership. Parties that are registered as partnerships have absolutely the same legal rights and obligations as spouses who live in a classical marriage.

If the spouse lives in a domestic partnership and want to break it, he or she also have the right to file for divorce in California. For this it is enough that the partnership was registered in California. This means that the state does not impose strict requirements on the residence of spouses before applying for divorce, since the partnership is already legally recognized by the state.

California divorce papers for termination of partnership must be filed by one of the parties to the local court, as well as their copies should be sent to the second party to notify him or her of the spouse's intentions to terminate the partnership.

The spouse can also apply for dissolution of domestic partnership in order if his or her circumstances meet the requirements listed below:

The spouses must meet the residency requirements of the state of California.

  • The spouses must meet the residency requirements of the state of California.
  • The spouse's domestic partnership was registered by the state no more than 5 years before the date of submission of the application for dissolution.
  • The spouse do not have common children who have been adopted or born during the period of the partnership.
  • Neither spouses own any kind of property.
  • The spouses do not have a total debt worth more than $6000, which has been counted from the moment of the partnership.
  • The spouses not have a common ownership of more than $38,000, not counting the cost of vehicles they both own.
  • Both partners have an agreement on how their common property should be divided and they also do not claim for financial support from each other or from the state after the dissolution.

If all of the above requirements are met, the couple may apply California divorce papers, such as the Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership. The partnership will be automatically terminated in 6 months after the filing of the application to the court. Thus, the divorce in California will be formalized.

Legal Separation in California

The spouse can also formalize a legal separation in California. This means that he or she can stop parts of the relationship without completely breaking the marriage. Legal separation can usually take the form of the fact that there are religious contradictions between spouses or whether spouses want to receive additional medical financial compensation.

The grounds for legal separation can be the same as for the divorce in California. This indicates that the spouse isstill need to go through a number of formal questions. Such as filling out California divorce documents, registering them in court, notifying the spouse and also making a decision regarding the division of property, custody of children, financial support for children and spouse.

In order to apply to the court for legal separation, spouse needs to fill out a petition. For this, it is not necessary to ask an attorney for the help. It is enough to use the service of online divorce in California.

How to serve divorce papers in California

The interested person must notify the spouse that he or she initiated the divorce. The interested person can inform his or her spouse in various ways: send a notification by mail, use the services of a sheriff, ask relatives to contact the spouse or use the services of a professional notification service.

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Filing fees for divorce in California

Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.