Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in California
Appealing or Modifying Your Final Divorce Decree
California requires that one party be a resident of California for 6 months and a resident of the county for 3 months where the divorce is filed. There is a 6 month waiting period before the divorce becomes final.
The first step in the divorce process is filing a Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage.
Do you qualify for a Summary Dissolution of Marriage in California? You must meet the following requirements:
You and your spouse:
If you do not meet these requirements you must file for a regular divorce.
If you and your spouse can agree on all of the terms of your divorce, you can secure a "regular divorce" if you do not qualify for an divorce by summary dissolution. In this case, you have an "uncontested divorce."
If you and your spouse can agree about how to handle money, property, and parenting, you have an "uncontested case." You also have an uncontested case, if your spouse will probably not file any forms in court disagreeing with your requests. If your spouse fails to file a Response in the case (defaults), your case can be completed as an uncontested case even if you and your spouse do not agree on everything.
Most uncontested cases can be handled by mail and brief contacts with a judge. You may not have to see the judge at all.
Your first step is filing your complaint with at the court in the county where you live. You can complete your completed using the automated forms within this web site, for either a Summary Dissolution or a regular divorce.
After processing at the Courthouse, the Original Petition for Divorce must be delivered to your spouse. The most common means of delivery is by having a Sheriff, Constable, or private process server hand your spouse the petition and a Citation. The other alternative which is often used in no-fault divorces, is the waiver of service of process by your spouse. Waiver of service simplifies the divorce proceeding. Your divorce papers include forms that enable your spouse to waive service of process.
You have to be a a resident of the State of California for 189 days or six months before filing for divorce.