Litigants who wish to terminate a marriage in California must serve paperwork called a petition and summons on their spouse. The paperwork must be filed with the court before it is served. The party serving the documents is called the petitioner, while the party receiving the filings is referred to as the respondent.
A filing fee must be paid, unless the petitioner qualifies for a waiver of the charge. If the petitioner and respondent have children, then a declaration must be made, pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Act, and filed and served as well. Therefore the basic forms needed for filing include the petition (FL-100), the summons (FL-110), and, if children are declared in the marriage, a UCCJEA declaration (FL-105).
The divorce paperwork for the dissolution of marriage is served with the understanding that the respondent has 30 days to reply. The responding party must also pay a filing fee when filing his response. If a response is not filed in 30 days, then the petitioner is entitled to apply for a default judgment.
Parties in the case must meet certain residency requirements as well. One of the two litigants must have resided in the state of California for at least six months and in the county where the divorce is filed for a period of three months.
With over 40 years of experience in divorce and family law, Arlene Kock began her career as an attorney after graduating from the law school at the University of San Francisco. With her full service law office based in San Ramon, Arlene D. Kock has helped hundreds of clients file for divorce in California.