This is an introduction only to divorce law in California. It is not intended t o be a comprehensive resource. Additional research may be necessary. If you require further assistance, please consult a reference librarian.
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.
The basic steps for obtaining a divorce in California are as follows:
- Fill out forms for divorce, including but not limited to the Petition and the Summons.
- File the forms with the Court Clerk, and pay any applicable filing fees.
- Serve the forms on your spouse or domestic partner.
- Fill out financial disclosure forms.
- Complete the divorce, which will depend on whether or not your spouse filed a response, and whether you have come to an agreement.
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.