What Documents Are Needed To File Divorce in California? 

Divorce can be a challenging process, and understanding the necessary paperwork is crucial for a smooth experience. In California, to initiate a divorce (legally known as dissolution of marriage), you need to file several specific forms with the court. The exact documents required can vary based on individual circumstances, but the following are commonly needed:

Documents Needed To File Divorce in California

The Documents Needed to File Divorce in California

1. Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (Form FL-100)

The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is the foundational document that starts the divorce process. This form includes essential information about the parties involved, such as:

  • Names of you and your spouse, and your contact information
  • Date of marriage and separation
  • Grounds for divorce (California is a no-fault state, so usually “irreconcilable differences”)
  • Details about children (if any)
  • Information on property and debts
  • Requests for child custody and support, spousal support, division of property, and other relevant issues

2. Summons (Form FL-110)

The Summons informs your spouse that you have filed for divorce and outlines their legal rights and responsibilities. It also includes important restraining orders that prevent both parties from certain actions, like transferring property or taking children out of state without agreement.

3. Family Law Case Cover Sheet (Form LASC FAM 020)

If your divorce is filed in Los Angeles County, you will need to include this cover sheet. It provides the court with basic information about your case to assure filing in the proper court.

4. Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (Form FL-105)

If there are minor children involved, you must file this form, which provides detailed information about the children’s residence history and any other custody cases involving the children.

5. Proof of Service of Summons (Form FL-115)

This form is critical as it confirms that your spouse has been officially served with the divorce papers. The service must be performed by someone over 18 who is not a party to the case. Proper service is essential to proceed with the divorce.

6. Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt (Form FL-117)

If your spouse is willing to acknowledge receipt of the divorce documents by mail, this form can simplify the process and avoid the need for personal service.

Serving the Documents

Once you’ve completed the forms, they must be served to your spouse. Service of process involves delivering the divorce papers to your spouse to ensure they are aware of the proceedings. This step must be done by someone other than yourself who is at least 18 years old. Along with the filed documents, you must include blank response and UCCJEA forms for your spouse.

Additional Tips for Serving Divorce Papers 

The initial service of divorce papers sets the tone for the proceedings. Including a personal letter of introduction can add a compassionate touch, making the process less intimidating for your spouse. In cases of mediation or collaborative divorce, both parties often participate in completing the Summons and Petition, fostering a cooperative atmosphere.

Ready To Learn More About Your Options? Contact Ewing Mediation & Family Law!

Filing for divorce in California requires careful attention to detail and adherence to legal procedures. The forms outlined above are just the beginning. Given the complexity of divorce proceedings, it’s highly advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected. Proper legal support can help you navigate the challenges and move towards a fair resolution.

At Ewing Mediation & Family Law, we are committed to helping you navigate this challenging time with compassion and expertise. Our mediation services are designed to help you and your spouse reach a fair and amicable resolution, preserving your dignity and ensuring the best possible future for your family. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you through your divorce process.