How To File For Divorce In California For FREE (10 Easy Steps)

Updated: Feb 17

California Divorce in 2021 - Ultimate California Divorce Guide


Getting a divorce in California is not easy for everyone involved, it's a tedious process, and sometimes it can also be expensive. Under the right circumstances, you can get a divorce for FREE in California (without getting a lawyer involved).


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Requirements To Get a Divorce for FREE in California


To be able to get a divorce without a divorce attorney you must:

  1. Have an amicable relationship with your spouse.

  2. Be in mutual agreement about asset division and debts.

  3. Be in mutual agreement about child custody, child support and alimony.

If you don't meet these requirements, you must contact a California Bar Certified Lawyer referral service and request a FREE case analysis. You'll be connected to a pre-screened, and reputable Los Angeles divorce lawyer. Lawyer referrals are unbiased, impartial and available 24 hours a day.

Sometimes it's easier to pay a divorce lawyer (even if you need to request a payment plan) than dealing with you ex, having said that, here's how you may get a divorce in California without getting a lawyer involved.


Uncontested Divorce in California


A divorce in California is “uncontested” when both parties work to settle their differences by way of a written agreement.


In other words, if both of you amicably agree on who gets what, and in the overall terms of your divorce then you can follow these simple steps to get a divorce in California without incurring in additional legal costs.

California Divorce Step 1: Select The Right Divorce Court

You must make sure that the State of California has “jurisdiction” over both individuals and all issues involved in your case, the case should be filed in the right county, and that you follow all local venue rules.


California Divorce Step 2: Download, And Prepare And File The “Initial Document Package”

After selecting the right divorce court, file your completed paperwork with the county clerk.


California Divorce Step 3: Serve The Documents On The Opposing Party

After all the documents have been successfully filed with the county clerk, they must be properly served. There are two ways to meet this requirement. Either your spouse can choose to accept the divorce documents by signing an Acknowledgement Of Service or he/she must be formally served with the documents by a third party.


California Divorce Step 4: If No Response Is Filed ( Entry Of Default )

After the opposing party has been served with the divorce documents and has failed to respond within 30 days, he/she is “in default” it must be recorded by the court clerk. Once the default has been entered, the opposing party will be foreclosed from responding or appearing in the case unless he/she is able to successfully move to have the default vacated.


California Divorce Step 5: Prepare The Financial Disclosure

Under the State of California rules pertaining to divorce, a proper division of community property must be filed making sure that child and spousal support awards will be fair for both parties. To this end, California Family Code Section § 2100 et seq. mandates the exchange of prescribed "preliminary" and "final" declarations of disclosure, along with current income and expense reports.