How To Finish Your Divorce by "True" Default

Posted over 2 years ago. Applies to California, 1 helpful vote




As the petitioner, you must turn in the final forms to the court asking for a judgment of divorce or legal separation and including the other orders you want the court to make about division of any property and debt, spousal or partner support, and, if you have children with your spouse or domestic partner, about custody, visitation, and child support. You CANNOT file final forms until at least 30 days have passed since you served your spouse or domestic partner with your summons and petition. Some courts ask you to fill out local forms. Contact your court clerk's office, check your court's website, or talk to your family law facilitator or self-help center to ask about your court's local forms that you must complete for default cases. Have your forms reviewed! Ask your court's family law facilitator or self-help center to review your paperwork. You can also hire your own lawyer to review your papers as an "unbundled" service.



If your spouse or domestic partner is currently in the military, special rules apply under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act . Talk to your family law facilitator, self-help center, or a lawyer.



Make at least 2 copies of all your forms Make sure you include all the attachments and, if any are double-sided, that you photocopy both sides. One copy will be for you; another copy will be for your spouse or domestic partner. The original is for the court. Turn in all your forms to the court clerk, with 2 large envelopes (with postage) The clerk will process your paperwork and give it to a judge to review. Make sure you have already filed the Proof of Service of Summons (Form FL-115) (or file it now) AND the Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure (Form FL-141).



If all of the judgment documents are completed correctly, the judge will sign the Judgment without either named spouse or domestic partner having to appear in court. If there is a problem with the documents, a court appearance may be necessary. Or you may just need to fix a mistake on your paperwork. A court clerk will mail the Judgment and Notice of Entry of Judgment to each spouse or domestic partner, with the date that the judgment was filed stamped in the upper right corner. Keep a copy of these forms in a safe place. You may need them in the future.

Additional Resources

Your local law library is an excellent resource. Here's a link:

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