Filing for divorce can be full of tricky twists and turns. Here’s how to file for divorce in Los Angeles.
- Fill out court forms
- Have a lawyer review the forms
- Make copies of the forms
- File forms with the court clerk
- Serve the first set of forms
- Make a preliminary declaration of disclosure
The person initiating the divorce and filing the papers is the petitioner, and the spouse receiving the divorce petition is the respondent. In order to file for divorce, the petitioner must fill out court forms, have them reviewed, make copies of the forms, file the papers with the court clerk, serve the forms, and make a declaration of disclosure. After filing for divorce, the respondent has 30 days to respond, after which the next steps of divorce can proceed.
Steps to Filing for Divorce
1. Fill out court forms
Fill out the following forms:
- Petition — Marriage/Domestic Partnership (Form FL-100). This provides basic information to the court about the union.
- Summons — Family Law (Form FL-110). This form contains important information about the divorce process, and legally prohibits certain actions that may hinder the divorce process.
- If there are children below the age of 18 involved with the divorce, fill out the Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (Form FL 105/GC 120)
- If the petitioner wishes for the court to make decisions about child custody and visitation, fill out the Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application Attachment (Form FL 311)
2. Have a lawyer review the forms
Consult a lawyer to review the forms. They can help answer questions and correct any mistakes on the forms to prevent future issues.
3. Make copies of the forms
Make at least 2 copies of each before turning them into the Los Angeles Superior Court. One copy is for the petitioner, one is for the respondent, and the original forms are for the court.
4. File with the court clerk
Turn in the completed forms to the court clerk.
5. Serve the first set of forms
Before continuing with the divorce proceedings, the papers must be served to the respondent. The petitioner cannot serve the papers — the process server must be someone above the age of 18.
The documents to be served should include the following:
- A copy of ALL documents filed with the court
- A blank Response – Marriage/Domestic Partnership (Form FL-123)
- If children are involved with the divorce, include a blank Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (Form FL 105/GC 120).
6. Make a preliminary declaration of disclosure
- Fill out and serve financial disclosure forms no later than 60 days after filing the original court forms. Disclosure forms provide written information to your spouse about assets and belongings. None of these are filed with the court.
- Have someone review the disclosure documents, like a family law facilitator or a court-provided official.
- Make a copy of the disclosure forms. One copy is for the respondent, the original is for the petitioner.
- Have someone over the age of 18 serve the disclosure forms to your spouse.
- Complete and submit the Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure (Form FL-141) to the court. This tells the court that the petitioner has completed and served the proper disclosure documents.
- Make 2 copies before submitting. The clerk will keep the original and return the copies with an official stamp.
7. Next Steps
After successfully completing the above steps, the petitioner has officially filed for divorce in the state of California. The respondent has 30 days to respond to the divorce papers. The next steps of finalizing the divorce will depend on if the spouse has filed a response and if the couple has reached an agreement. Consult with a family law attorney to determine the next steps.
What are the steps to filing for divorce in Los Angeles?
In order to file for divorce, the petitioner must fill out court forms, have them reviewed, make copies of the form, file the papers with the court clerk, serve the forms, and make a declaration of disclosure. Having a lawyer available is ideal for a smooth transition and to ensure accuracy during the divorce process.
What are the next steps after filing for divorce?
After filing for divorce, the respondent has 30 days to respond, after which the next steps of divorce can proceed. The next steps of finalizing the divorce will depend on if the spouse has filed a response and if the couple has reached an agreement.
If you or a loved one needs to file for divorce in Los Angeles, contact us. We’ll match you with the most qualified lawyer for your needs and preferences. Get connected to an attorney with one of our Los Angeles Divorce Attorneys today!