How To File For A Divorce


Filing for divorce, where do you start or begin when you want to end your marriage.  When you were getting married you said that you were willing to stay with that significant other until death do you part.  If you are seeking to end your marriage, then until death do you part did not happen.  Something else came between the two of you and now you want to end the marriage in the judicial system of America's courts. Okay. That's fine, but how do you file for a divorce or dissolution of marriage?   

There are a couple of ways to file for a divorce, you can do it yourself or you can get a professional lawyer to help you understand the process of filing for a divorce.  Then you can attain a professional attorney to represent you in the court during the court proceedings if there are any.  

Do It Yourself Divorce:

Reasons for getting a Divorce  -  California is one state where you do not have to find fault in someone's bad behavior to file for divorce.

They call California a no-fault state.  The only thing you have to report or say is that we can no longer stay together, we have irreconcilable differences and we want to end this marriage. Finding fault as to who did what to whom, the courts may use or consider these actions when they make their final ruling as to who gets what portion of the monies,  properties and custody of the children.  

If you are filing a doing it yourself divorce, you need to know what forms or paperwork that needs to be completed and submitted, because if you do not complete the correct divorce forms it could have a major impact on your divorce and settlement of divorce proceedings. 

First Step:  file for the petition of divorce or separation - form (fl-100) this form allows you to provide the courts with basic information about you and your about to be former spouse, kids regarding the marriage.  Make sure you answer all the questions completely to the best of your ability and understanding, because if important information is omitted this could be devastating to your case.  Have some else who you trust or a professional lawyer look over the form with you as well.

Summons Form:  This form (fl-110) notifies your spouse (wife or husband) that they are being sued for divorce and advises them about how many calendar days that they have to respond to this summons, a restraining order if one is filed against them, they can ask for a fee waiver if they do not have them money to file a counter summons.  This form also gives them some instruction about their property if they owned any property together. 

Second Step:  Make sure when you complete the first step that you file your completed paperwork with the court clerk. The courts have different fees for different filings, so fees can vary.  This is where if you cannot afford the filing fee you may want to ask about the fee waiver at this point. 

Third Step:  All of the papers that you have completed has to be served to your soon to be former spouse (wife or husband) - so how do you serve the papers to your soon to be ex-spouse.  You cannot serve the paper yourself, but you can get others to serve notice to your spouse that you are filing for divorce or separation.  See below on the different ways to serve someone;

http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-serving.htm

Who Can File the Your Papers:

To “serve” your papers, you will have to find someone 18 or older (NOT you) to deliver a copy of your papers to your spouse or domestic partner. The “server” (the person delivering your papers to your spouse/domestic partner) can be a:

  • Friend,

  • Relative,

  • County sheriff, or

  • Process server.

If you hire a process server or use the sheriff, try to give him or her a photo of your spouse or domestic partner and a list of times and places when it will be easy to find that person. Look for a process server close to where your spouse or domestic partner lives or works. Fees are often based on how far the server has to travel. So this will save you money. 

http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-serving.htm

What Is Service?

The law says that when you sue a person, partnership, corporation, or the government, you must give formal notice to the other side that you have started the legal process.

In the same way, when you are already involved in a case and file papers with the court, you are required to give the other side notice of the paperwork you have filed. The legal way to give formal notice is to have the other side “served” with a copy of the paperwork that you have filed with the court. This is called “service of process.”

"Service of process" means that the other side must get copies of any paper you file with the court. In “service of process”, a third person (NOT you) is the one who actually delivers the paperwork to the other side.  The person who does this is called the “server” or “process server.” Until the other side has been properly "served," the judge cannot make any permanent orders or judgments

Process Servers

The “server” or “process server” can be:
 

  • A friend or relative;

  • A coworker;

  • A county sheriff or marshal;

  • A professional process server; or 

  • Anyone over 18 who is NOT part of the case.

In all cases, the “server” or “process server” MUST:
 

  • Be 18 years old or older;

  • Not be a party to the case;

  • Serve the paperwork on the other side in the time require;

  • Fill out a proof of service form that tells the court whom they served, when, where, and how; and 

  • Return the proof of service to you so you can file it with the court.

    Remember, it is very important that you, if you are the plaintiff/petitioner or defendant/respondent, do NOT serve your own papers.

    http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-serving.htm

    There are different ways to serve someone papers and listed below are a few;

    1. Personal Service - someone other than yourself serving notice 

    2. Service by Mail - make sure a third person not related to the case does the mailing send by mail

    3. Substituted Service - if after multiple attempts to serve has failed - you can leave papers at the home of the party - to someone 18 years or older. 

    4. Service by Notice and Acknowledgement of Receipt - if the other party is willing to accept and sign papers that they have received the documents

    5. Service by publication - you placed an advertisement in a general newspaper that is 

    6. circulated throughout the city or county - where the other party resides or lives

    7. Service by posting (at the courthouse) - court clerk will post the notice in a general area of the courthouse - get permission of the courts to do this type of servicing

      http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-serving.htm

      Fourth Step: Declaration of Disclosure (fl-140) form - Both parties to the divorce has to file their financial status with the courts, showing what type of property that each party owns and owe creditors. You have sixty days for the filing of the court petition for divorce.  Also, these others forms need to be filed as well;

       

      FOURTH STEP: Schedule of Assets and Debts (fl-142) form and Income and Expense Declaration (fl-150) form - these forms are about investments and business

      opportunities you may have been involved with while married

      http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-serving.htm

      Filed any and all tax returns in the last 2 years must be reported

      Declaration of Filing Disclosure - (fl-141) form informs the courts that you filed and submitted and sent your Disclosure for as required. 

      After you have completed all of the necessary papers for filing for divorce, and submitted to the courts, you are still not done just yet. If you spouse or significant other files a response, the process continues with more filings and possible motions.  If your spouse responds and has objections this is called a contested divorce.

       

      As you can see trying to do it yourself divorce seems simple, but it is not an easy task. Just remember if you forget to file a document on your own behalf, it could be a very costly mistake and you may suffer more in the long term.   This is my opinion regarding doing it yourself divorce filings, get the professionals involved they will cover your assets (your ass).

      Do it yourself divorce: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-serving.htm

      You can do it yourself, but let me give you an example of some of the issues you could face if you file and submit the divorce incorrectly.  Just like an amateur bank robber who has no experience in robbing banks, no plan, has never committed a bank robbery before but feels that he or she could do this themselves with no help.

      One day you wake up and say today is the day, I'm going to rob this bank. Goes into the bank, with their gun and note for the teller, but forgot two of the most important items he or she needed, the mask and the getaway vehicle.  Big mistake and that mistake will cost them big, like life in prison for bank robbery. This is just an exaggeration of a bank robbery event, but just the same as the big event of filing and getting a divorce. 

      A professional lawyer or attorney he or she will have dotted all of the I's and cross all of the T's to make sure that your divorce is as successful as possible for your benefit. Their job is to make sure you get the proper settlement.  

      So courts want couples to exhaust every avenue possible to keeping the marriage and family together before you move forward with getting a divorce, because as the saying goes it is cheaper to stay together and less damage to the family structure.  America was built upon the premises of a solid foundation, and marriage was that type of solid foundation it wanted to show the world why we are strong.  We stay together in good and bad times, a solid foundation.  

      So the court would like people who are marriage to make sure this is what they want to do get a divorce. Divorce is the last resort. When you have given this marriage your best shot and it is just not going to work, then proceed to file for your divorce.  But make sure you did it the right way, which will be your way. 

      As the late Frank Sinatra sang in his song  "I did it my way". Quote "Now the end is near and so you face the final curtain, My friend, "I'll say it clear, I'll state my case, of which I'm certain, I've lived a life that's full. I've traveled each and er'vy highway, But more, much more than this I did it my way". 

      Now just place yourself  into those lyrics and make sure you do it your way, which will be the right way.  Divorce does not have to be hell if both parties can work together for a common goal to finalize your separation and going separate ways.  Most of the time have more patience and listen more, can be very affected and getting what you want and create a win, win situation for the both of you during this trying time of divorcing. 

       

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