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Family Law  

This guide highlights the print and electronic resources available to assist individuals in California divorce proceedings.
Last Updated: Nov 2, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Welcome to the Guide to Start a Divorce in California. Here you will find where to go to get court forms to start a divorce case and respond to a divorce case. We take you step-by-step through each stage of the divorce process and highlight the best resources to find additional information.

On this page, you can view:


Online Resources

Below are the best online resources to help individuals with divorce proceedings. In California, a divorce is referred to as dissolution of marriage.

Start a Divorce Case:

The person who starts a divorce case is called the Petitioner. There are 3 excellent online guides for Petitioners to follow:

 1. Form FL-107 INFO: A great flow chart of the divorce proceedings from beginning to end. 

2. The California Court's Online Self-Help Center: Filing For Divorce or Separation: a step-by-step guide from start to finish.

3. The other online guide to check is the Dissolution Packet prepared by San Diego Superior Court. Check this guide for local forms to file.


 Respond to a Divorce Case:

The person who responds to a divorce petition (Petition for Dissolution of Marriage) is called the Respondent. The best online guide is:


Where to Find Court Forms

There are 3 options for finding family law forms:

1. Judicial Council Forms: Forms adopted by the Judicial Council of California are either mandatory or optional.

  • Mandatory: You must use this form. At the lower left-hand corner, the form will have these words: "Form Adopted for Mandatory Use."
  • Optional: You may use this form or create your own form. At the lower left-hand corner, the form will have these words: "Form Approved for Optional Use." 

 2. San Diego Superior Court Local Forms: Check the local forms page to see if there are any local forms you must use.

3. Create your own form using pleading paper, a template created on Microsoft Word. Visit any law library location for help accessing forms.


Help Filling Out Forms

Help with Forms

I-CAN! Legal: is an award-winning program by Legal Aid Society of Orange County to help fill out divorce forms (help is available for other types of forms too). A one-time fee of $4.95 is charged to print out the forms or you may apply for a fee waiver.


Schedule an online appointment with the Family Law Facilitator for help filling out court forms. 



Court Rules

California Law:

Note: These statutes are a starting point for your research. There may be other statutes that may apply in your case.

            Division 6: Nullity, Dissolution & Legal Separation
            Division 7: Division of Property   
            Division 8: Custody of Children 
            Division 9: Support

California & Local Court Rules:


Additional Assistance


The San Diego Superior Court's One Day Divorce Program is a new pilot program for individuals representing themselves. If you filed your case at least 6 months ago  and if the case is ready for judgment, then you are eligible for this program. Visit the court's website to participate.


SDVLP Family Law Clinic:

          Date: Every Wednesday
          Time: 3:00 - 5:30 p.m.
          Location: 1105 Front Street, San Diego, CA 92101

Call (619) 235-5656 ext. 124 to schedule an appointment.



San Diego Law Library


The Law Library has four branches in San Diego County with resources to assist you with your motion.


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