This is the "Intro and Overview" page of the "Divorce 101" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Divorce 101  

Last Updated: May 3, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Intro and Overview Print Page



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.


Support the Law Library

Was this research guide helpful? Please consider giving a tax-deductible donation so we can continue to provide access to legal information.

Thank you for your support!





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:

  1. Fill out forms for divorce, including but not limited to the Petition and the Summons.
  2. File the forms with the Court Clerk, and pay any applicable filing fees.
  3. Serve the forms on your spouse or domestic partner.
  4. Fill out financial disclosure forms.
  5. Complete the divorce, which will depend on whether or not your spouse filed a response, and whether you have come to an agreement.

For more details on each of these steps, consult FL-107-INFO and the Self-Help section of the California Courts website.


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.


San Diego Law Library


The Law Library has four branches in San Diego County with resources to assist you with conducting research for your divorce.


Loading  Loading...