Filing for a divorce can be a challenging experience, especially without a lawyer. Although choosing to go Pro Per is not impossible, there are things that you need to know in order to help your case. In California, when you file for a divorce the paperwork has to be 100 percent correct or it will get kicked back and delay the process of your divorce.
Starting your Divorce
Locate the family law court in your area, then go there to pick up the forms that you will need. If you are trying to split property and other assets and do not already have an agreement with your spouse you will need a contested packet. If you have no assets or already have an agreement in place you will need a uncontested packet. Also, if you have children be sure the packet says "with children."
Read over the entire packet before filling out any of the information --- it can get tricky. Since the papers are legal documents you are not allowed to use White Out for a mistake.
Call the court and ask when they offer classes with a facilitator. Most California courts have law facilitators present during certain hours to conduct classes on how to fill out the paperwork. For those who do not have or cannot afford a lawyer, they will go through each page with you.
File two copies of your completed paperwork with the clerk at the courthouse. If everything is correct, they will make a third copy for them, give you back a copy for yourself and give you another copy to have served on the other party.
Ask someone you know that is 18 or older to serve your spouse. The petition for divorce has to be hand served to the other party. Then have the server complete the Proof of Service form on when and where your spouse was served.
File the Proof of Service form with the clerk at the courthouse and your divorce case will have officially begun.
- Any paperwork done wrong will not be accepted by the court. Divorce process does not officially start until the Proof of Service form is filed.