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California is a no fault divorce state, which means that you as the spouse or domestic partner that is asking for the divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse or domestic partner did something wrong. To get a no fault divorce, you have to state that you cannot get along, and have what is called “irreconcilable differences.”
In California there are 3 main ways to end a marriage or registered domestic partnership 1) divorce, 2) legal separation, and 3) annulment. It is not necessary for both spouses or domestic partners to agree to end the marriage, and either spouse or partner can decide to end the marriage. If a spouse or domestic partner does not participate in the divorce case, the other spouse/partner will still be able to get a “default” judgment and the divorce will go through.
To start a divorce you will need to download and complete the Petition—Marriage (Family Law Form FL-100), the Summons (Family Law Form FL-110), and Proof of Service of Summons (Family Law Form FL-115). If you have children under the age of 18 with your spouse, you should also complete the Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (Family Law Form FL-105/GC-120), the Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment (optional Family Law Form FL-311), and the Property Declaration (optional Family Law Form FL-160).
The summons, petition, and, if you have children, the Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act must be filed in the Superior Court of the county in which you reside.
You’ll need to pay a fee unless you complete the Request to Waive Court Fees (Form FW-001), and it is approved by the court. The clerk will stamp the papers and file them, and you will be given copies to serve. You must then serve your spouse with a copy of the stamped documents as soon as possible. It must be served by someone other than yourself, the county sheriff, a professional process server, or a responsible friend or relative over the age of 18 who is not involved in the case.
That is a summary of divorce in California. I hope it helps.