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5 Steps to Complete an Uncontested Divorce in Orange County, California

STUCK IN THE LIMBO AND PAPERWORK OF DIVORCE?

If you and your spouse are in agreement on ALL TERMS of your divorce and want an UNCONTESTED DIVORCE, here are the 5 Steps to GET IT DONE along with links to the forms you need (See also Legal Steps For Divorce or Legal Separation):


Step 1: Initial Filings

You start your divorce case by having one spouse file the Petition and related documents. The spouse initially filing to open the case is called the Petitioner.

Forms to complete and file ** to open the case include:

AFTER, these forms are filed with the Court, have a conformed copy served on your spouse by someone over the age of 18 (you cannot personally serve it yourself). Also keep a copy for yourself.

The person serving the conformed copies on the other spouse needs to complete a Proof of Personal Service of Summons and file this form with the Court. Also keep a copy for your records.

* In Orange County, California, you should file your documents with the Superior Court of California located at 341 The City Drive, Orange, CA 92868.

** Note: The Superior Court requires payment of filing fees. (See the Superior Court if you believe you may qualify for a waiver of the filing fees)


STEP 2: Response & Related Documents

Within 30 days after being served with the initial papers, the Respondent (spouse who was served) must file and serve Response Documents. The Response documents may be served by mail.

Forms to complete, serve and file ** include:

The Response paperwork is served by mail before you take the documents to be filed. (This is different that the Petition which is served after filing)

If the Respondent does not file Responsive paperwork, then the Petitioner can submit a Request To Enter Default after completing and serving the Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure under Step 3.

Once both sides have completed their initial paperwork, you are ready for STEP 3.

** Note: The Superior Court requires payment of filing fees. (See the Superior Court if you believe you may qualify for a waiver of the filing fees).


STEP 3: Declarations of Disclosure

Under California law, spouses have fiduciary duties to each other and cannot have their divorce entered until Declarations of Disclosure have been complete in which they disclose their income, expenses, assets and debts.

Each side should complete and exchange with the other spouse the following documents with the backup documentation:

After exchanging the completed Declaration of Disclosure, Income and Expense, and Schedule of Assets & Debts with backup documentation, each party must complete and file a Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure and Income and Expense Declaration.

The parties are required to do both a Preliminary and a Final Declaration of Disclosure.

After receiving the Disclosure(s) if you need further information to reach an agreement, request the additional information and/or documents in writing to your spouse. The two of you should provide all available information to make an informed agreement.

The Preliminary Declarations of Disclosure are due within 60 days of filing the initial pleadings (for the Petitioner within 60 days of filing the Petitioner and for the Respondent within 60 days of filing the Response).

A final Declaration of Disclosure is due before or at the time of entering into an agreement unless waived by the parties. The parties can mutually waive the Final Declaration of Disclosure by completing and filing the Stipulation and Waiver of Final Declaration of Disclosure


STEP 4: Reach An Agreement:

AFTER the Disclosures have been exchanged and you have also received all of the information you requested, you are ready to reach an agreement on all of the issues in your divorce case. The issues include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Termination of Status as a married couple
  • Child Custody/Visitation
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support
  • Division of Community Property and Confirmation of Separate Property
  • Division of Community Debts and Confirmation of Separate Debts
  • Reimbursement Issues
  • Allocation Attorney Fees and Litigation Costs (if any)

You can attach your marital settlement agreement to the judgment form and/or use some Judicial Council forms to work out the terms of your judgment. Here is a list of forms that may assist you in drafting your final judgment (some may not apply to your circumstances):

*Note: A calculation printout under the child support guidelines is usually required. Please see this link to the Department of Child Support Services to calculate or a qualified family law attorney to obtain the guideline calculation printout.

The Court may require specific language on certain provisions, so be sure to discuss your proposed Judgment with a qualified family law attorney before submitting it to the Court.

Once you have reached a complete agreement, both parties need to sign the stipulated judgment (or marital settlement agreement). If the Respondent is in default, his/her signature MUST be notarized.


STEP 5: File and Serve the Final Judgment with Related Documents:

In addition, to your signed stipulated Judgment (or Judgment with signed marital settlement agreement), the following additional documents must be completed and submitted to the Court with the judgment/agreement paperwork for filing:

The original and an extra copy should be submitted to the filing clerk along with a large stamped self addressed envelope to return conformed copies after the judgment is entered (in addition to the extra copies and envelopes for the Notice of Entry of Judgment).

After the Court signs and files your Judgment, the first page of the Judgment will detail the date that you are divorced and the provisions in the agreement will become orders of the Court. It may take the Court several weeks to review and enter your judgment.

There is a Judgment checklist put out by the Judicial Council to help you get the correct documents filed. For your uncontested dissolution process, #3 on this checklist is the applicable portion of the form to your divorce.

If your paperwork is rejected by the Court, you should contact a qualified family law attorney to assist you with the paperwork.

If your paperwork was completed properly and you filed all of the required documents, your divorce should be entered. Please note, YOU ARE NOT DIVORCED until the date indicated in the Judgment signed by the judge and file stamped by the Court.


If you need any assistance with your Dissolution of Marriage proceeding, you are welcome to contact Camaur Crampton Family Law, PC at www.Divorce.Legal or 949-234-8280 for a consultation. We also offer online appointment scheduling for your convenience at: Appointments With CCLF

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