Getting a divorce, especially after many years of marriage can be difficult, but filing your papers in California doesn’t have to be. Although submitting the documents is done physically in a California local courthouse, you can complete your papers online in an easy and quick process without passing through complications.
Online divorce services are created to assist couples with their specific situations in a straightforward manner. Their forms and websites do not, however, substitute for the advice of an attorney, they only give general information and instructions about the processes. These online websites provide self-guided questionnaires that would help reach your specific direction. They do not sell blank forms for you to fill, you can download those forms on a court’s website.
If you are looking for an inexpensive divorce in the state of California, you can always go online. However, online processes can work for couples who have an uncontested divorce, but what does that mean? It is the one which both spouses have agreed on the key issues of the separation. These issues include child custody, spousal support or alimony, division of debts, and assets.
If you and your spouse haven’t decided on those mentioned issues or how to divide the marital assets and care for the children, you may want to consider mediation or hire an attorney to handle the case. Then hoping for a divorce without a lawyer would be in vain and you will have to start budgeting for more expenses.
Using an online website is a step-by-step process of preparing your documents. This website assists in arranging all the necessary forms and provides detailed written instructions on how to file for divorce in California.
As part of the required rules to follow, your divorce must be uncontested, and we have already explained what that is.
How to begin the process?
Firstly, you must complete the appropriate papers. These papers can all be gotten online at the California courts website. California does have detailed instructions for filing online divorces. You will have to review them carefully, before entering any information. It is essential to fill out the papers correctly if you don’t want delays in your process, or waste valuable time doing the wrong thing.
Divorce forms can vary from state to state, some may require additional documentation, while some may not like that of California. You will need to confirm which forms your state requires as defined by your local courthouse. You can contact your local courthouse through your phone and make inquiries to ensure that you are using the correct forms.
To confirm which forms would be the right ones for your situation, you can check for self-help centers in your county that would offer assistance. All you have to do is search on the internet for different California counties that offer Self-Help Centers, pick your county from the list and then you will get further information and contacts to find out the steps you should take for your situation.
The Californian divorce papers and forms
If you are looking for the divorce papers, you can easily find them on a California court’s website forms page. Some of these forms include the following;
- FL-100 – This is the first document that would be used to begin the process or legal separation. On this document, you will write down every information that relates to your marriage, including the children, dates, and properties.
- FL-110 – This form is also called the Summons, which notifies your spouse about the divorce process.
- FL-115 – The FL-115 is the proof of service of Summons, this particular document is what you will show in court as proof that you have informed your spouse about the proceedings.
You may also need other documents concerning child custody and child support payments. You and your spouse will have to fill in more divorce documents if you both own extra properties that do not fit on the form FL-100. The divorce forms that you will need depends on your circumstances, but make sure to use the forms which apply to your marriage. Try not to fill out the wrong forms because they can cause delays in the process.
Filing Divorce Papers
Once you have the forms filled out with all the necessary information about your marriage, you can further submit them in a local courthouse. At the courthouse where you will file the divorce forms, you should at least present your petition and summons. If you have children, you will also be required to submit the Declarations Under Uniform
Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.
You will pay a certain fee to the state to file your papers. If you are financially down, you can still have the fee waived by submitting a request to waive court fees. But the court will need to review your paperwork before granting your request. Once you have submitted your divorce papers to the county clerk and also paid your fees, the clerk will then stamp the forms and provide copies for the papers. You don’t have to file the documents when your spouse is there at the courthouse. However, if he or she isn’t present, you will need to serve a copy of the stamped documents on your spouse.
Immediately you leave the courthouse after submitting the divorce papers, serve the copies of the papers on your spouse without delaying. Whether you got the papers online or through the help of your county’s clerk, you can serve those papers on your spouse using different methods;
- By Mail – if you know that your spouse is willing to cooperate with you in the separation, you can send him or her the documents by mails. Your spouse will have to fill out the Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt and submit it in court to show he or she has received the papers.
- A County Sheriff – you can ask the court to send a county sheriff to serve your spouse with the divorce papers. This type of service comes with fees, but you will have to use it if your spouse isn’t cooperative.
- Family friends or relatives – You can ask a family friend or someone close to you to serve your spouse with the divorce papers.
- Professional process server – If you don’t want to make use of either of the above options, you can also hire a professional server to assist you in serving the papers to your spouse.
In California, local courthouses provide information and instructions that will guide you on serving those papers to your spouse. Once your spouse is served with the papers, and you have filed them in court, you will get a short period of 6-months waiting for the judge to finalize your separation.
Knowing your residency requirements
Each American state gives specific residency requirements for couples who are divorcing within the state. If you want to split up in California, you must prove to the court that either you or your spouse resided for at least 6-months period in the state before filing for divorce. Additionally, the filing spouse must live in the county where he or she plans to file in for at least 3-months period before filing.
You can prove your residency in court by either showing a valid and in-date California driver’s license, Identity or voter’s card that was issued at least (6 months) before filing for divorce. If you can’t get any of the mentioned items, you can make your spouse or someone close to you to testify in court that you lived for at least 6-months period in the state. You may also show an Affidavit of Corroborating Witness to serve as proof that you have lived for a minimum of 6 months in your county.
You may also need to prove your residency in the country during the process. Follow every given instruction and information to avoid mistakes and delays in the process.
The difference between Dissolution and Divorce?
It is not only about looking for a cheap means to end your marriage. But also knowing the differences between these two and see which will suit your situation perfectly.
The dissolution is often called the no-fault divorce because both spouses agree to the terms and conditions. You can’t file a dissolution petition with the court until you and your spouse have reached an agreement on all the issues that need redress in the divorce matter. Which means you and your spouse must decide on the child custody, alimony, parental rights, child support, division of property, payments of debts, and so forth. However, in a few states, a dissolution of marriage is not the same as divorce since it doesn’t permanently end your marriage or can only be used in specific cases.
One of the spouses must allege that his or her spouse has been at fault under the statutory grounds. The proceeding starts with the filing of a complaint. Following the complaint, the spouse wanting a divorce will serve the other spouse with papers. But the legal separation cannot be granted for at least (6 weeks) after the other spouse has legally received the divorce notifications.
Another key difference between them both is those who are legally married can go through a divorce while those who are in a civil partnership make use of a dissolution. To file for either dissolution or divorce, the marriage or civil partnership must have lasted for at least one year.
Any reputable online divorce service offering a cheap divorce should be able to guide you when filling out the papers and have those papers reviewed by an attorney.