There are many possible reasons why a couple may choose to get divorced. While some couples may have specific reasons for calling it quits, other may find that they simply have fallen out of love or no longer get along.
In any case, once the decision to end your marriage has been made, it is important to follow all state requirements to make sure that the divorce process goes as smoothly as possible. The process begins by filing a summons, petition, and the declaration under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), if necessary.
Filing a summons, petition, and UCCJEA declaration
Typically, one spouse will begin the divorce process by filing a Summons (form FL-110) and Petition (FL-100).
The Summons serves as a notice to the non-filing spouse that you have filed for divorce. The Summons also contains Standard Family Restraining Orders (ATROs), which prohibit both spouses from taking certain actions (e.g., transferring or concealing property, removing children from the state of California, changing beneficiaries, or canceling insurance).
The Petition serves as the request for the divorce. You will have to include your residency information and dates of the marriage and separation, and address other information relating to the divorce including:
- Property division.
- Spousal support.
- Child custody and support.
- Debt allocation.
Finally, if you have minor children with your spouse, you must also file the Declaration Under UCCJEA (form FL-105). This form essentially gives a judge in California the authority to make custody and visitation orders.
Once these forms are filed and served, the non-filing spouse will have 30 days from the date of service to file a response (form FL-120).
The divorce process is rarely ever straightforward, and can become unexpectedly complicated, even when both parties are getting along. A family law attorney can help ensure that the you do not accidentally skip any steps or make any mistakes during the process.