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California Divorce Forms
This is a list of the most commonly filed divorce forms for the state of California. Following the list is a brief summary of each form and its purpose. This list of forms is not exhaustive and not all forms listed are required for every divorce. Due to unique case situations and special divorce filing procedures in California, certain forms may or may not be required by the California courts.
Summons (Family Law)
This two-sided form puts the Respondent on notice that he or she has 30 days from receipt of it and the Petition to file a Response and that failure to respond means the court may make orders affecting the recipient's property and custody or children. The reverse side describes Standard Family Law Restraining Orders that prohibit 1) removal of children from the state, 2) disturbing or changing beneficiaries or coverage of any insurance on the parties or their children, 3) disturbing any community assets.
Proof of Service of Summons (Family Law)
This form, served with the Summons and Petition, enters the record as proof that the Respondent received the divorce papers. Signed by the person giving service, it records that manner of service. When service is done by mail, the green postal receipt card is attached.
Petition (Family Law)
This two-page form identifies the parties, the dates of marriage and separation, declares minor children, declares community and quasi-community property, and lists the relief desired by the Petitioner in regard to the grounds, custody of children, legal fees, terms and conditions of support and payment.
Declaration under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)
This confidential form is used to establish custody of a minor child(ren) in a divorce action. It establishes the residential history of the child(ren), and whether the child(ren) is party to any custody proceeding in California or elsewhere.
Declaration of Disclosure (Family Law)
The form is a voluntary disclosure made by both spouses. It is a cover sheet declaring all property each has, both separate and marital, and it includes a completed Schedule of Assets and Debts (form 1292.11) and a completed Income and Expense Declaration (forms 1285.50, 1285.50a, 1285.50b, 1285.50c, (as applicable)).
Schedule of Assets and Debts (Family Law)
This schedule profiles the marital estate -- all property, separate and community, ownership, date of acquisition, its gross market value and debt against any asset.
Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt
This form is used when the Respondent accepts the divorce papers by certified mail. It gives him or her 20 days to acknowledge the receipt of the Summons, which is included with the divorce papers.
Income and Expense Declaration (Family Law)
This four-page declaration, which must be completed by both parties, details the income and expenses of each. One page deals with child support expenses if that is an issue.
Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure and Income and Expense Declaration (Family Law)
This form documents that the Petitioner and Respondent have served their preliminary and/or final income and expenses declarations on each other and the manner of service -- personal or mail.
Appearance, Stipulation and Waivers (Family Law--Uniform Parentage)
This form, which may be signed by either party, enters an appearance of the Respondent as one of 10 possible stipulations and waivers that move the case forward. The stipulations deal with points of agreement. No. 3, for example, stipulates that the Respondent waives any rights he or she may enjoy under the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act.
Wage and Earnings Assignment Order for Spousal Support (Family Law)
This form stipulates the amount of monthly spousal support that the obligor must pay. It is a court order.
Order/Notice to Withhold Income for Child Support
This order and notice, which provides for the automatic withholding of income and payment to the recipient, goes to the employer of payor of child support. It comes with detailed instructions. It is a court order.
Judgment (Family Law)
This instrument ends the marriage. It may include a number of attachments, each of which is a court order, including those dealing with the marital settlement agreement, stipulations between the parties, child and spousal support. It also may restore a former name.
Notice of Entry of Judgment (Family Law--Uniform Parentage)
This form gives the Respondent notice that a judgment of divorce has been entered into the record.
Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage (Family Law--Summary Dissolution)
This form permits couples who meet the 10 restrictive criteria to file for summary divorce jointly on grounds of irreconcilable differences. The divorce may be granted six months later, without a hearing. This form is used to begin the easiest and simplest route to a divorce in California.
Request for Judgment, Judgement of Dissolution and Notice of Entry of Judgment (Family Law--Summary Dissolution)
Six months after filing jointly, either the husband or wife may file this form which requests the divorce judgment, ends the marriage, and enters the action in the record. This form is used in conjunction with a Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage.
Request to Enter a Default (Family Law--Uniform Parentage)
This request form asks the court to enter a default judgment against a Respondent who has failed to enter an appearance, or who cannot be located after service by publication. The request may include attachments.
Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation (Family Law)
The Declaration for Default, used when the respondent spouse does not file a response, or when both spouses agree on all issues, terminates the marriage, but in the case of a divorce, asks the court to "reserve jurisdiction" over other issues not requested in the declaration. This form is also used in legal separations.
Property Declaration (Family Law)
A declaration that is used in contested cases, this form, updated at the time of the hearing, contains information in the Schedule of Assets and Debts, which the spouses individually completed earlier in the course of the action.
Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA)
The MSA, which must be signed by both spouses and notarized, defines the terms and conditions of the division and distribution of community property as well as child and spousal support, if applicable. Its provisions are normally incorporated into a divorce judgment.
Ex Parte Application for Publication of Summons; Declaration in Support Thereof; Memorandum of Points and Authorities as well as Order for Publication of Summons
The Ex Parte Application and related forms permit a Petitioner to publish the Summons and related divorce papers in a newspaper after an unsuccessful, good faith effort has been made to serve a spouse who cannot or will not be located.
Notice of Revocation of Petition for Summary Dissolution (Family Law--Summary Dissolution)
This form, filed by either spouse after the couple have initiated a joint petition for dissolution, terminates the joint petition. It is used when couples who started a Summary Dissolution change their plans and do not wish to end the marriage that way.
Stipulation to Establish or Modify Child Support and Order (Family Law--Domestic Violence Prevention--Uniform Parentage)
Required in some courts, this form spells out the terms and conditions of child support and orders it paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. It is a court order.
Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs (In Formis Pauperis)
A party who cannot pay the court fees and costs associated with filing for divorce uses this application to apply for a waiver. The applicant must tell the court if he or she becomes able to pay these costs and he or she "may be ordered to appear in court" and answer questions about the ability to pay.
Generally, debts incurred during the marriage are community obligations. This includes credit card bills, even if the credit card is in one name only. Student loans are an important exception because they are considered separate property debts. Community property possessions and community property debts are divided equally unless both spouses agree to an unequal division in writing. If spouses can't agree on the division of debts and possessions, a judge makes that decision.
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