If you are contemplating getting a divorce but haven’t started the process, this blog will tell you what forms you need to start the process. All the forms described below can be found on the California Courts website, www.courts.ca.gov. Once you are on the site, clink on the gray “Forms and Rules” tab at the top and choose “Browse All Forms.” That will take you to a scroll down menu and from that you choose “Family Law – Dissolution, Legal Separation and Annulment FL-100 to 199.” Once you click on “See Forms” the forms will be listed in numerical order.
The Summons (FL-110) is a rather simple form that includes the Standard Family Law Restraining Orders on the second page. For this form, you will need the name of your spouse, the name and address for the court, and your name, address, and phone number. If you live in Los Angeles County I recommend you file your case in the Central District (Stanley Mosk Courthouse).
Please make sure to read page two thoroughly to become familiar with the standard family law restraining orders.
The Petition (FL-100) is what actually details everything you will be asking for in the divorce. Make sure to check the boxes for everything you want. If you do not ask for it on the Petition, it may be used against you later on.
You will need the following information for the Petition: date of marriage, date of separation, names of the minor children, date of birth for the minor children. The date of separation is very important given that it can make the difference between temporary spousal support and permanent. If you are unsure about the date of separation, you can put “TBD” (meaning too be determined) but it always best to be thorough and include an actual date.
For item 4 Separate Property, you should add the following boilerplate language: “The exact nature and extent of the separate property assets and debts is currently unknown. Petitioner seeks leave to amend the Petition when such information has been ascertained.” The actual list of all separate property should be listed on the Property Declaration (FL-160).
For item 5 Community Property, use the attachment 5b. I will include an example of Attachment 5b in a separate blog. Remember that both the list of separate property (FL-160) and Attachment 5b should be as detailed as possible. The Court will only have jurisdiction over the items listed, so it is important to list everything. If you have account numbers for bank accounts or credit cards, list the last four digits of the account number.
If there are minor children involved, you should ask for Joint Legal custody. The amount of physical custody requested should depend on your individual circumstances and the parenting plan you want. Use the Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment (FL-311) to specifically lay out the parenting plan. You should request a specific parenting plan just in case the other party does not respond, and you enter his or her default.
DECLARATION UNDER UNIFORM CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION AND ENFORCEMENT ACT (UCCJEA)
When children are involved, the Court wants to know where the children have lived for the last five (5) years. Take the time to go back over the calendar and list the different addresses where the children have lived and with WHOM THEY HAVE LIVED. This document will be important if you end up in a custody battle. Always strive to be as truthful as possible. If the children have only lived with mother for the last three months, then say that.
FAMILY LAW COVER SHEET
The Family Law Case Cover Sheet is a local form used in Los Angeles County. Different counties have different forms. For example San Bernardino County requires the “Certificate of Assignment.”
This form provides the court with your address, the type of case that you are filing, and why you are filing in that courthouse. Remember that if you have children, you should file the divorce in the county where the children live.
FILING FEES/Fee Waiver Request
The current filing fee for a divorce is $435 but you should check the Los Angeles Superior Court website. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee you should consider filing a fee waiver request. If you want to request a fee waiver, you will need form “Request to Waive Court Fees” (FW-001) and “Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003). Fee waivers are increasingly hard to get given the current budget crisis that the Court’s are facing. If you receive Medi-Cal, Food Stamps, SSI, SSP, or other forms of assistance, your fee waiver request should be granted automatically.
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