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Regarding California Divorce - I am not represented by an attorney. Need to know which documents need to be returned.

Coalinga, CA |

Two days ago I was served with divorce papers (I am Respondent). The D is to be uncontested. What I need to know is 1. What docs must I complete and return? 2. Who are the documents to be returned to? She is not represented but had a preparer complete the docs. 3. Must she be served any docs? 4. A MSA was previously agreed upon and notarized, but was not filed with the court, is it required to be submitted?5. I am currently out of the city where the D papers were filed, how can I get docs to courthouse if I am not in town? thanks in advance.

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Attorney answers 5


You will have to answer the petition which is a response to the petition. You need to file a copy with the court where the case originated and you need to serve a copy on your ex.

Not to be rude but how you get the documents to the court is something you will have to figure out. You can call the court and see if they accept mail. You have 30 days to respond to the paperwork you were served.

Note this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on. Each situation is fact specific and court specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship



Thanks for the short answer. I had multiple questions and you answered two. It appears you are too busy to help a vet by actually reading the submittal and answering the questions. Thanks.


You must file and first serve a response within 30 days of being served with a petition in California. Use of judicial council forms are mandatory in California. There is a website below that allows free use of judicial council forms. She must be served and you must a valid proof of service before the clerk will allow you to file your response. MSA's are typically attached to and incorporated into the Judgment in family law proceedings. You can submit your pleadings to the court via US mail pursuant to the CRC. Use a SASE, you can submit up to two copies to be conformed and returned. Good Luck!

The communication above is provided for informational purposes only. It is not legal advise and does not create an attorney client relationship with anyone. Please consider the information above and get competent legal advise from your trusted advisor.


In response to your questions:

1. You need to file a Response within 30 days of the date you were served with the Petition to avoid having your default be taken (a lot of trouble to get it set aside and you can avoid it by filing your response on time). You should have received a blank Response with the Petition. You will need to have someone 18 years old or older mail your wife a copy of the response and sign a proof of service form, which you attach to the response before filing it with the court.

2. See answer to No. 1.

3. See answer to No. 1. In addition, you are required to serve her with your Declaration of Disclosure.

4. You and she must BOTH exchange your Declarations of Disclosure BEFORE signing a settlement agreement. Any MSA signed by you previously may be void if you didn't exchange declarations of disclosure before signing it.

5. There are many services that will file documents for you. Some allow you to fax or email the documents to them for filing. They charge a fee for these services. Consult a telephone directory or look up court messengers and couriers online.

My best advice to you: Consult with an attorney. Even if a local attorney doesn't practice in the jurisdiction where the case was filed, he or she can give you the advice you so desperately need right now. If you absolutely cannot afford even one hour of an attorney's time, you will need to consult the local Family Law Facilitator for assistance.

I do not represent the person who asked this question, and was not given enough information to provide a better answer. The limited information is enough to indicate that a consultation with an attorney in your area is necessary and advised.


You do NOT have to file a Response if you two agree. You can file the form FL 130 and send the filing fee with it.

I have never heard of any court that does not allow filing by mail. You must send an SSAE and ask for a "conformed copy."

Yes the MSA must be sent with the Judgment but MANY OTHER forms must also be filed,and the MSA does not need to be notarized of both parties appear-- but the defaulting party must have a signature notarized if they are not appearing.

I strongly recommend unbundled services to have the forms and MSA reviewed.

R Genyne Long

R Genyne Long


People aren't going to know what "unbundled services" means without an explanation. It's true that you don't have to file a Response if they have an agreement. However, since the agreement was reached before the parties exchanged the required declarations of disclosure (and as a result cannot as a matter of law be entered as a judgment by the Court), the prudent thing to do is to file a response, to avoid a default and having to set it aside, which may be beyond the expertise of pro per parties. The poster needs an attorney, and if not, at a minimum needs to consult with the Family Law Facilitator.


Great answers already. You really should either get an experienced form preparer or an attorney to help you. If you don't want to or don't have funds to pay for it, the court has self-help center who can guide you through.

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