How To File For Divorce In California (Step 1 – Summons & Petition)

This is the first video in a series on how to file for divorce in California.  This post will discuss the first step of which forms you will need to file for divorce.

We are also going to go line-by-line and discuss how to fill out each of the forms.  You will also find the video embeded below if you prefer to watch us demonstrate how the forms are completed.

Also, keep in mind that we do have an online divorce document assembly service where you won’t have to worry about how to fill out the forms, as the software fills out all the divorce forms for you.

Click Here on this link to the software

We are licensed and bonded in the county of Los Angeles and can serve you in any court located in California. We are providing these how-to videos so you can get through the entire divorce process on your own if that is what you so choose to do, however for those that find it confusing or don’t have the time to go through the divorce themselves, please give us a call as we are a full serve divorce document preparation firm.

Now, in this particular video we are going to talk about step 1, which is above, which is filing the forms. In the previous video we talked about the legal steps for divorce and went through the 4 steps as outlined by the court system.

So let’s jump in. Step 1, again is going to be talking about starting the process and what forms you need to complete, we’re gonna talk about getting those forms completed.

Okay so here’s step 1, according to Los Angeles county process: The petitioner, who’s the person who will file the first divorce forms with the court, is going to file 2 forms, the petition FL-100, and the summons form FL-110, and if there’s children, FL-105. Today we’re just gonna talk about the petition and the summons, and then we will talk about the other steps.

So let’s jump right in to the FL-100. Okay this is the FL-100. This is the form that is going to be the petition, the 2 page form. And what I’m gonna go do is go through this quickly, not going to fill out every box, but show you essentially what you need to do to get this completed.

If you’re representing yourself, you’re going to put in your name essentially, so here we can type in, if it’ll allow me, my computer is freezing up now, in any case, up on this top box you’re going to put in your name, your address, your phone number, let’s see if it’s gonna let me do this now, let’s…okay, little computer freeze there.

Alright, so today we’ll be John Smith, 123 Main Street, and address, California, the phone number is gonna go here…okay… your email address is optional, and for attorney name you’re gonna say In Pro Per, it means you’re representing yourself.

If you’re in the county of Los Angeles, this would be Los Angeles, and you’ll put the court information here, let’s just use our San Fernando Branch, it’s 900 Third Street, same, and that’s North Valley, you’ll be the petitioner so John Smith would be the petitioner here, oops, and then you put your spouse’s name here as the respondent. Don’t worry about the case number.

This is for dissolution of marriage. If the address that you indicate on here is for yourself in the last six months you mark petitioner to which both of you have been a resident of the state for the last six months you can mark both boxes its fine.

Date of marriage, date of separation, and then you’re gonna tally the totals, years and months of your marriage. Here you’ll indicate wether there are children or not. If you have children, their name, birthday, age, and sex, very simple. Separate property discusses property that you had before marriage and after separation and there are some other properties but because we’re not attorneys we can’t advise you on what that is.

So here you can either write in the property here that’s your separate property or say see attached or you can leave it blank or there’s some boiler point language that we use that the law firms use as well that basically says we’re gonna settle amends and list the separate property later on.

Page two is going to be regarding community property, accumulated during marriage and debts; you can do the same thing here, you can use the same boiler plate language here or “see attached”. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s going to be irreconcilable differences, California’s a no fault state, so essentially they don’t care the reason, they just call it irreconcilable differences.

And I know I’m going through it fast, but I don’t want this video to be fifteen minutes long, so feel free to pause this at any of your time if you’re trying to keep up and complete the forms along with me.

Alright, and legal custody of the children, you can mark either that you’re the petitioner, or respondent, or joint, same with physical custody, that where the children will live.

If you wanna have visitation to one party, you can also attach additional forms here if you want orders for child visitation or holiday schedules and things of that nature. If you have a child that was born prior to your marriage, you’re gonna want to mark this box, this is to determine parentage of any child born to the petitioner and respondent prior to marriage, if not leave that unchecked.

If you want the court to terminate jurisdiction to award spousal support to the other party you would mark this box. Here if you want your name back, your former name. And other, anything else you’d like to ask, again we have some boiler point language to that as well. Just put in the date and you type your name here, sign it here, and this form is done.

Now let’s move on to the FL-110. This is the summons. You’re gonna type the other party’s name here, so spouse’s name will go here, okay your name is going to go here, who are we John Smith.

And now let’s talk about a little about what the petition, or the summons rather, discusses. This goes over some legal actions here that the other party have. Now this is gonna be served on the other party. So this is to your spouse. That they have thirty days after receiving this to file the response; if after thirty days no response has been filed, there’s a procedure for moving forward; we’ll discuss that again in other videos.

One thing to note is that there are automatic restraining orders that go into effect on you once this is filed, and upon your spouse once they are served; and we are gonna cover those, not in detail, but to just acknowledge the fact that they are there and draw your attention to them.

Here is gonna be your name and address of the person filling out this form; and this will be, oh I’m sorry; this will be the name and address of the court. This will be your name, your address and phone number because you’re not represented by an attorney. You’re gonna mark this box here as an individual, if that’s the case.

And then on here are these standard family law restraining orders, being one that will take effect on you once this is filed and on your spouse once they are served.

So that is step one of the divorce process as outlined by the courts. These are the first two forms that you’ll fill out, you’ll file them with the court and they’ll send you a case number; and once you have that filed, and you have the case number, that’s the form that you’ll serve on your spouse and then we’ll talk about process and service and how you can accomplish that in other videos.
Again, my name is Tim Blankenship, SCV Legal Doc Assist, we specialize in the divorce process in California. We are providing these videos to you to hopefully help you in preparing your divorce and representing yourself.

And don’t forget that you can use our online divorce software by clicking on this link, which will save you a lot of time and frustration trying to figure out how to complete your divorce forms in California.

And again if you don’t have the time, you can’t figure it out and you’re looking for professionals to take care of the divorce paperwork for you, please give us a call, we’d be happy to help you; or visit one of our websites. And if you’re watching this video on youtube, or one of the other video site, we do have a link to our website below so you can contact us for additional information. Thanks so much.