Call for Free Consultation (916) 243-0916
Practice Areas:
The     information     and     materials     on     this website   and   blog   are   provided   as   general information   and   to   help   you   learn   about   our services.     This     information     is     not     legal advice.        Transmission,        viewing        and observing   the   information   and   materials   on this   site   does   not   create   an   attorney-client relationship.
©2018 Stucki Law Firm
Resources:
Contact Us:
Child Support Calculator
Access documents, review bills, and more in our Client Portal.
Are you a Current Client?
Access Client Portal Access Client Portal Access Client Portal

California Self-Help

Divorce Guide

Download a Printable Version of this page

All California courts use the same standard divorce papers and family law forms, although some counties may also use additional local forms. Your local courthouse can let you know if there are additional forms you will need. If you choose to file your own divorce papers, the California Courts website will be an invaluable resource for information and guidance.  You can also check out our free family law forms to get copies of California Divorce Papers and Forms that you can fill out yourself.  And if you need help, guidance on the next steps, or an attorney to look over your forms and documents at any time in the process, you can use our No Retainer, Flat Fee ONLINE CASE REVIEW AND CONSULTATION. Filing the Initial Divorce Papers 1.Gather and fill out the following forms: FL-100 (marriage) or FL-103 (domestic partners) FL-110 FL-105 (only if you have minor children from the relationship you are dissolving) 2. Make copies of your forms. 3. Go to the courthouse, and file your originals and copies with the clerk.  The clerk will stamp all your papers and give you back the copies.  The court fees are $435. Serve the Forms 4. Gather the following forms: The stamped copies of the forms you filed in Step 3. FL-120 (marriage) or FL-123 (partner).  Leave it blank. FL-117 (Include ONLY if your spouse is served via mail.) Leave it blank. 5. Serve your spouse or partner with the papers from steps 1-4. Ask another person who is over 18 give the forms to your spouse in person.  This person (not you) can also serve your spouse by mail, but your spouse will have to fill out FL-117 and return it to your server.  6. The person who served the papers MUST fill out and sign form(s): FL-115 FL-117 (ONLY if service by mail AND your spouse signed and returned it) 7. File the completed and signed form FL-115 (and FL-117 if service by mail) with the courthouse clerk.  There will not be any charge for this filing. Financial Disclosures 8. Fill out the following forms and prepare the following information: FL-140 FL-142 -or- FL-160 FL-150 Recent paystubs and the last two years of your tax returns. 9. Serve your spouse or partner a COPY of all of the financial disclosure forms and information from step 8.  You can serve them along with the original petition (see step 5 above) if you want to save service fees.  In any case you must serve the financial disclosure forms within 60 days of the original filing. 10. Fill out and File the following with the court clerk.  There will be no fee. FL-141 DO NOT FILE the financial disclosure forms (FL-140, FL-142, FL-160, or FL-150).  Keep the originals.  Only file FL-141. Response or No Response What happens next depends on if your spouse responds to the service within 30 days (by filing FL-120  with the court), and whether you have a Marital Settlement Agreement.  The forms start to get a little more complicated at this point.  There are basically four paths your case will take at this point: Path 1: Your spouse does not respond, and there is NO marital settlement agreement. Path 2: Your spouse does not respond, there IS a written marital settlement agreement. Path 3: Your spouse does respond, and there IS a written marital settlement agreement. Path 4: Your spouse responds and there is NO agreement. Path 1: Spouse does Not Respond and No Marital Settlement Agreement. 11. This is called a “True Default Divorce.” Fill out and gather: For Judgment (these are mandatory) FL-165  FL-170  FL-180  FL-190  For Child Custody Orders (if applicable) FL-341  FL-341(A), (B), (C), (D), (E) if needed. These forms allow more detailed custody orders. For Child Support Orders (if applicable) FL-342  FL-150 -or- FL-155 (a lower income simplified version) FL-191  FL-192 (You do not need to fill this out but it does need to be included) FL-195 (ONLY if you want your spouse’s wages garnished for child support) For Spousal Support Orders (Alimony)(if applicable) FL-157 (Optional) FL-343  FL-150 (if you already filled this out you do not need another one) FL-435 (ONLY if you want your spouse’s wages garnished for spousal support. If you filled out FL- 195 for child support wage garnishment, you do not need FL-435.) Division of Assets Orders (if applicable) FL-345  FL-160  FL-348 (ONLY if you or your spouse has a pension plan) Two large envelopes, postage prepaid. One with your address, and one with the address of your spouse. 12. At this point you may want to have an attorney review your documents in a limited scope representation. Stucki Law Firm can offer you this service.  Set-up an appointment by contacting us at (916) 243-0916.  We can provide this service anywhere in California via internet. 13. Make 2 copies of everything and file it with the court clerk. Note: you must wait at least 30 days after you served your spouse the initial petition (Step 5) before you can file this final set of documents. 14. The judge will sign the judgment (FL-180) without you or your spouse having to appear in court. The court clerk will mail you and your spouse the judgment and the date it will be automatically finalized. By law, the finalized date will be at least be 6 months and 1 day from the date you served your spouse the initial petition (Step 5). Path 2: Spouse does not Respond but there IS a Written Marital Settlement Agreement. 11. This is called a “Default with Agreement”. Write, Sign, and Notarize your Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA). You may want to have a divorce mediator guide you through the process of developing a Marital Settlement Agreement. The Gentle Divorce program at the Stucki law Firm offers this service with various flat rate packages. A Marital Settlement Agreement typically includes detailed agreements about: o Child Custody and Visitation Plans o Child Support o Spousal Support o Division of assets and/or debt. 12. Your spouse will also have to sign a copy of FL-141 declaring that they disclosed the PRELIMINARY financial disclosures to YOU. 13. Fill out these forms for judgment order: FL-165  FL-170  FL-180  FL-190  14. Refill and Update FINAL Financial Disclosures FL-144 (ONLY if both spouses agree to waive the final disclosure.) If you both agree, and both sign this form, you will not need to fill out and share any of the other financial disclosure forms. You will only need to file this waiver. If you choose not to waive FINAL financial disclosures, both you and your spouse must fill out and share the FINAL financial disclosure forms: FL-140  FL-142 -or- FL-160  FL-150  Write your name and case number on a piece of paper. Then write a statement of how you estimated the value of the community property. Also write a list of investment opportunities occurring since your separation. Last two years of tax returns. 15. Serve the Final Financial Disclosures on your Spouse (from step 13) and have your spouse serve you. Only serve these papers if you chose NOT to waive the final financial disclosure (FL-144). You do not file these forms, you keep them. 16. Make 2 copies of the following and file it with the court clerk. Note: you must wait at least 30 days after you served your spouse the initial petition before you can file this final set of documents. Your FL-141 and your Spouse’s FL-141 (if you did NOT waive the final financial disclosure) - OR - FL-144 (If you did waive the final financial disclosure). Judgment Forms from step 12 (FL-165, FL-170, FL-180, and FL-190) Your written, signed, and notarized Marital Settlement Agreement. Two large envelopes, postage prepaid. One with your address, and one with the address of your spouse or partner. 17. The judge will sign the judgment (FL-180) without you or your spouse having to appear in court. The court clerk will mail you and your spouse the judgment and the date it will be automatically finalized. By law, the finalized date will be at least be 6 months and 1 day from the date you served your spouse the initial petition (Step 5). Path 3: Spouse does Respond AND Marital Settlement Agreement This is called an “Uncontested Divorce.” Your spouse will have filed FL-120 (marriage) or FL-123  (partnership) and will have had to pay a $435 filing fee. The process is basically the same as if your spouse did not file, except now both you and your spouse has the opportunity to file the following forms for judgment. But only one of you is required to file for judgment. 11. Write, Sign, and Notarize your Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA). You may want to have a divorce mediator guide you through the process of developing a Marital Settlement Agreement. The Gentle Divorce program at the Stucki law Firm offers this service with various flat rate packages. A Marital Settlement Agreement typically includes detailed agreements about: o Child Custody and Visitation Plans o Child Support o Spousal Support o Division of assets and/or debt. 12. Your spouse will also have to sign a copy of FL-141 declaring that they disclosed the PRELIMINARY financial disclosures to YOU. 13. Fill out these forms for judgment: FL-130 FL-165  FL-170  FL-180  FL-190  14. Refill and Update FINAL Financial Disclosures FL-144 (ONLY if both spouses agree to waive the final disclosure.) If you both agree, and both sign this form, you will not need to fill out and share any of the other financial disclosure forms. You will only need to file this waiver. If you choose not to waive FINAL financial disclosures, both you and your spouse must fill out and share the FINAL financial disclosure forms: FL-140  FL-142 -or- FL-160  FL-150  Write your name and case number on a piece of paper. Then write a statement of how you estimated the value of the community property. Also write a list of investment opportunities occurring since your separation. Last two years of tax returns. 15. Serve the Final Financial Disclosures on your Spouse (from step 13) and have your spouse serve you. Only serve these papers if you chose NOT to waive the final financial disclosure (FL-144). You do not file these forms, you keep them. 16. Make 2 copies of the following and file it with the court clerk. Note: you must wait at least 30 days after you served your spouse the initial petition before you can file this final set of documents. Your FL-141 and your Spouse’s FL-141 (if you did NOT waive the final financial disclosure) - OR - FL-144 (If you did waive the final financial disclosure). Judgment Forms from step 12 (FL-165, FL-170, FL-180, and FL-190) Your written, signed, and notarized Marital Settlement Agreement. Two large envelopes, postage prepaid. One with your address, and one with the address of your spouse or partner. 17. The judge will sign the judgment (FL-180) without you or your spouse having to appear in court. The court clerk will mail you and your spouse the judgment and the date it will be automatically finalized. By law, the finalized date will be at least be 6 months and 1 day from the date you served your spouse the initial petition (Step 5). Path 4: Your Spouse Responds and NO Agreement. This is called a “Contested Divorce.” Your spouse will have filed FL-120 (marriage) or FL- 123 (partnership) and would have had to pay a $435 filing fee. You will have to go to court to have a judge decide the issues for which you and your spouse cannot agree.  This process can be complicated so a family law attorney may be needed. The issues that typically must be resolved may include: o Child Custody and Visitation Plans o Child Support o Spousal Support (Alimony) o Division of Assets and/or debts You may agree on some issues but not others. If this is the case, you can write up a Marital Settlement Agreement on the issues you worked out and leave the other issues for a judge to decide. If you need help, guidance for the next steps, or an attorney to look over your forms and documents at any time in the process, you can use our No Retainer, Flat Fee ONLINE CASE REVIEW AND CONSULTATION.
Secure Online Payment Make a Payment Make a Payment Make a Payment
OFFICE LOCATIONS: Downtown Sacramento, Ca 95814 East Sacramento, Ca 95826 Folsom, Ca 95630, and El Dorado Hills, Ca 95762 Representation available throughout California
NEED A LITTLE EXTRA LEGAL HELP? Try our ONLINE CASE REVIEW If the process becomes overwhelming or the opposing party contests the case, we can help. Online Case Review provides: Error correction and legal compliance Detailed roadmap to complete your case Support Guideline Calculation Pricing: No Retainer Fee Flat Fee starting at $99 Pay only for the services you need. FIND OUT MORE:
Online Review Online Review Online Review
The   information   and   materials   on   this   website   and   blog   are   provided   as   general information   and   to   help   you   learn   about   our   services.   This   information   is   not   legal advice.   Transmission,   viewing   and   observing   the   information   and   materials   on   this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.
©2018 Stucki Law Firm
Family Law in the Sacramento area, Folsom, El Dorado Hills and throughout California.

California Self-Help

Divorce Guide

Download a Printable Version of this page

All California courts use the same standard divorce papers and family law forms, although some counties may also use additional local forms. Your local courthouse can let you know if there are additional forms you will need. If you choose to file your own divorce papers, the California Courts website will be an invaluable resource for information and guidance.  You can also check out our free family law forms to get copies of California Divorce Papers and Forms that you can fill out yourself.  And if you need help, guidance on the next steps, or an attorney to look over your forms and documents at any time in the process, you can use our No Retainer, Flat Fee ONLINE CASE REVIEW AND CONSULTATION. Filing the Initial Divorce Papers 1.Gather and fill out the following forms: FL-100 (marriage) or FL-103 (domestic partners) FL-110 FL-105 (only if you have minor children from the relationship you are dissolving) 2. Make copies of your forms. 3. Go to the courthouse, and file your originals and copies with the clerk.  The clerk will stamp all your papers and give you back the copies.  The court fees are $435. Serve the Forms 4. Gather the following forms: The stamped copies of the forms you filed in Step 3. FL-120 (marriage) or FL-123 (partner).  Leave it blank. FL-117 (Include ONLY if your spouse is served via mail.) Leave it blank. 5. Serve your spouse or partner with the above papers by having another person who is over 18 give the gathered forms to your spouse in person or by substituted service.  This person (not you) can also serve your spouse by mail, but your spouse will have to fill out FL-117 and return it to your server.  If your spouse fails or refuses to return FL- 117 they will still need to be served in person or by substituted service. 6. The person who served the papers MUST fill out and sign form(s): FL-115 FL-117 (ONLY if service by mail AND your spouse filled it out and returned it) 7. File the completed and signed form FL-115 (and FL-117 if service by mail) with the courthouse clerk.  There will not be any charge for this filing. Financial Disclosures 8. Fill out the following forms and prepare the following information: FL-140 FL-142 -or- FL-160 FL-150 Last two years of your tax returns. Writing that contains an accurate and complete information to update your spouse about financial opportunities which have occurred after you were separated (from the time you moved out.) 9. Serve your spouse or partner a COPY of all of the financial disclosure forms and information.  You can serve them along with the original petition (See 5 above) if you want to save service fees.  In any case you must serve the financial disclosure forms within 60 days of the original filing. 10. Fill out and File the following with the court clerk.  There will be no fee. FL-141 DO NOT FILE the financial disclosure forms (FL-140, FL-142, FL- 160, or FL-150).  Keep the originals.  Only file FL-141. Response or No Response What happens next depends on if your spouse responds to the service within 30 days (by filing FL-120 with the court), and whether you have a Marital Settlement Agreement.  The forms start to get a little more complicated at this point.  There are basically four paths your case will take at this point: Path 1: Your spouse does not respond, and there is NO marital settlement agreement. Path 2: Your spouse does not respond, there IS a written marital settlement agreement. Path 3: Your spouse does respond, and there IS a written marital settlement agreement. Path 4: Your spouse responds and there is NO agreement. Path 1: Spouse does Not Respond and No Marital Settlement Agreement. 11. This is called a “True Default Divorce.” Fill out and gather: For Judgment (these are mandatory) FL-130 FL-165  FL-170  FL-180  FL-190  For Child Custody Orders (if applicable) FL-341  FL-341(A), (B), (C), (D), (E) if needed. These forms allow more detailed custody orders. For Child Support Orders (if applicable) FL-342  FL-150 -or- FL-155 (a lower income simplified version) FL-191  FL-192 (You do not need to fill this out but it does need to be included) FL-195 (ONLY if you want your spouse’s wages garnished for child support) For Spousal Support Orders (Alimony)(if applicable) FL-157 (Optional) FL-343  FL-150 (if you already filled this out you do not need another one) FL-435 (ONLY if you want your spouse’s wages garnished for spousal support. If you filled out FL-195 for child support wage garnishment, you do not need FL-435.) Division of Assets Orders (if applicable) FL-345  FL-160  FL-348 (ONLY if you or your spouse has a pension plan) Two large envelopes, postage prepaid. One with your address, and one with the address of your spouse. 12. At this point you may want to have an attorney review your documents in a limited scope representation. Stucki Law Firm can offer you this service.  Set-up an appointment by contacting us at (916) 243- 0916.  We can provide this service anywhere in California via internet. 13. Make 2 copies of everything and file it with the court clerk. Note: you must wait at least 30 days after you served your spouse the initial petition (Step 5) before you can file this final set of documents. 14. The judge will sign the judgment (FL-180) without you or your spouse having to appear in court. The court clerk will mail you and your spouse the judgment and the date it will be automatically finalized. By law, the finalized date will be at least be 6 months and 1 day from the date you served your spouse the initial petition (Step 5). Path 2: Spouse does not Respond BUT there IS a Written Marital Settlement Agreement. 11. This is called a “Default with Agreement”. Write, Sign, and Notarize your Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA). You may want to have a divorce mediator guide you through the process of developing a Marital Settlement Agreement. The Gentle Divorce program at the Stucki law Firm offers this service with various flat rate packages. A Marital Settlement Agreement typically includes detailed agreements about: o Child Custody and Visitation Plans o Child Support o Spousal Support o Division of assets and/or debts 12. Fill out these forms for judgment order: FL-165  FL-170  FL-180  FL-190  13. Refill and Update Final Financial Disclosures FL-144 (ONLY if both spouses agree to waive the final disclosure. If you both agree, and both sign this form, you will not need to fill out and share any of the other financial disclosure forms. You will only need to file this waiver.) FL-140  FL-142 -or- FL-160  FL-150  Write your name and case number on a piece of paper. Then write a statement of how you estimated the value of the community property. Also write a list of investment opportunities occurring since your separation. Last two years of tax returns. 14. Serve the Final Financial Disclosures on your Spouse (from step 13). Only serve these papers if you chose NOT to waive the final financial disclosure (FL-144). You do not file these forms, you keep them. 15. Make 2 copies of the following and file it with the court clerk. Note: you must wait at least 30 days after you served your spouse the initial petition before you can file this final set of documents. FL-141 (if you did NOT waive the final financial disclosure) - OR - FL-144 (If you did waive the final financial disclosure). Judgment Forms from step 12 (FL-165, FL-170, FL-180, and FL- 190) Your written, signed, and notarized Marital Settlement Agreement. Two large envelopes, postage prepaid. One with your address, and one with the address of your spouse or partner. 14. The judge will sign the judgment (FL-180) without you or your spouse having to appear in court. The court clerk will mail you and your spouse the judgment and the date it will be automatically finalized. By law, the finalized date will be at least be 6 months and 1 day from the date you served your spouse the initial petition (Step 5). Path 3: Spouse does Respond AND Marital Settlement Agreement This is called an “Uncontested Divorce.” Your spouse will have filed FL- 120 (marriage) or FL-123 (partnership) and will have had to pay a $435 filing fee. The process is basically the same as if your spouse did not file, except now both you and your spouse has the opportunity to file the following forms for judgment. But only one of you is required to file for judgment. 11. Write, Sign, and Notarize your Marital Settlement Agreement  (MSA). You may want to have a divorce mediator guide you through the process of developing a Marital Settlement Agreement. The Gentle Divorce program at the Stucki law Firm offers this service with various flat rate packages. A Marital Settlement Agreement typically includes detailed agreements about: o Child Custody and Visitation Plans o Child Support o Spousal Support o Division of assets and/or debts 12. Fill out these forms for judgment orders: FL-165  FL-170  FL-180  FL-190  13. Re-fill and Update Final Financial Disclosures. Both you and your spouse must exchange these forms: FL-144 (ONLY if both spouses agree to waive the final disclosure. If you both agree, and both sign this form, you will not need to fill out and share any of the other financial disclosure forms. You will only need to file this waiver.) FL-140  FL-142 -or- FL-160  FL-150  Write your name and case number on a piece of paper. Then write a statement of how you estimated the value of the community property. Also write a list of investment opportunities occurring since your separation. Last two years of tax returns. 14. Serve the Final Financial Disclosures (from step 13) on your Spouse and they will need to serve them on you. You do not file these forms, you keep them. Only serve these papers if you chose NOT to waive the final financial disclosure (FL-144). 15. Make 2 copies of the following and file it with the court clerk. FL-141 (if you did NOT waive the final financial disclosure) - OR - FL-144 (If you did waive the final financial disclosure).  Judgment Forms from step 12 (FL-165, FL-170, FL-180, and FL- 190) Your written, signed, and notarized Marital Settlement Agreement  Two large envelopes, postage prepaid. One with your address, and one with the address of your spouse or partner. 16. The judge will sign the judgment (FL-180)without you or your spouse having to appear in court. The court clerk will mail you and your spouse the judgment and inform you of the date your divorce will be automatically finalized. This date is set by law and is 6 months and 1 day from the date you served your spouse the initial petition. Path 4: Your Spouse Responds and NO Agreement. This is called a “Contested Divorce.” Your spouse will have filed FL-120 (marriage) or FL-123 (partnership) and would have had to pay a $435 filing fee. You will have to go to court to have a judge decide the issues for which you and your spouse cannot agree.  This process can be complicated so a family law attorney may be needed. The issues that typically must be resolved may include: o Child Custody and Visitation Plans o Child Support o Spousal Support (Alimony) o Division of Assets and/or debts You may agree on some issues but not others. If this is the case, you can write up a Marital Settlement Agreement on the issues you worked out and leave the other issues for a judge to decide. If you need help, guidance for the next steps, or an attorney to look over your forms and documents at any time in the process, you can use our No Retainer, Flat Fee ONLINE CASE REVIEW AND CONSULTATION.