DIY Divorce Instructions: How to File & Serve


Step 1 Instructions: File & serve your Petition or Response

Print & sign all your completed forms

Click here to access all your completed forms. Sign and date each one where needed.

Prepare & sign a local form if required.

Make (3) copies of your signed forms

You’ll be mailing these copies or taking them to the court to file.

Prepare your filing fee

Typically this costs $435-$450. If you can’t afford the filing fee, you can ask the court to waive it by filling out a Request to Waive Court Fees form here and Item One on this form here.

Decide how you want to file

Decide if you are going to mail the forms in to the court or go to the court in person to file your forms. You can find out which court you need to file with on the top left-hand corner of your completed Petition or Response form.

Mail or take your forms to the court

If you are going to mail the forms, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. You’ll need to include all copies of your forms. Note: If you are the Respondent, this is your last step.

Prepare your Proof of Service

In California, the court needs proof that your spouse received the Petition. A third party (relative, friend, other adult, or process server) will need to mail the Petition to your spouse or physically deliver (serve) the Petition to your spouse. This person will be identified in your forms and must sign an official document stating they mailed or personally served your spouse.

Before you fill out these forms, decide whether you want to serve by mail or have a third-party do it in person. Mailing the forms is generally easier, but your spouse will need to sign a Notice & Acknowledgment of Receipt form and give it back to you. This form shows the court that they waived personal service.

Prepare the form

If you are serving by mail, you'll need to do this

Print these forms: (1) Proof of Service by mail; (2) Blank Response; (3) Notice and Acknowledgement of Receipt. Click here to download and print.

Gather these additional forms: (1) One of your signed copies of your Petition (FL-100); (2) A copy of your Summons (FL-110); (3) A copy of your blank UCCJEA (FL-105) if you have minor children.

The forms you will need to give or mail to your spouse are: (1) A copy of your signed Petition (FL-100); (2) Blank Response (FL-120); (3) Notice of Acknowledgement of Receipt (service by mail only); (4) A copy of your Summons (FL-110); (5) A copy of your blank UCCJEA (FL-105) if you have minor children. You do not serve the Proof of Service form. Keep that for later to file with the court.

Have your chosen third party drop your forms in the mail. The person you choose to mail or serve your forms must be over the age of 18.

Your spouse needs to sign and return the Notice of Acknowledgement and Receipt to you. They can email you a scanned copy, or mail it to you – whatever is easier!

Your Proof of Service form and your Notice of Acknowledgement and Receipt need to be completely filled out before you file with the court. If there are blanks, fill them out by hand before you file.

If you are personally serving, you'll need to do this

Print these forms: (1) Proof of Service; (2) Blank Response. Click here to download and print.

Gather these additional forms: (1) One of your signed copies of your Petition (FL-100); (2) A copy of your Summons (FL-110); (3) A copy of your blank UCCJEA (FL-105) if you have minor children.

The forms you will need to give or mail to your spouse are: (1) A copy of your signed Petition (FL-100); (2) Blank Response (FL-120); (3) Notice of Acknowledgement of Receipt (service by mail only); (4) A copy of your Summons (FL-110); (5) A copy of your blank UCCJEA (FL-105) if you have minor children. You do not serve the Proof of Service form. Keep that for later to file with the court.

Have your chosen third party personally hand them to your spouse. The person you choose to mail or serve your forms must be over the age of 18.

Your Proof of Service form needs to be completely filled out before you file with the court. If there are blanks, fill them out by hand before you file.

Mail or take your forms to court

Once you mail or take your Proof of Service (and Notice of Acknowledgement and Receipt, if you have it), you’ve filed!

Step 2 Instructions: File & Serve Your Financial Disclosures

Print & sign all your completed financial disclosures

Give your spouse a copy of your completed financial disclosures

While you were preparing these forms, you said how you were going to deliver them to your spouse (email, mail, or in person).

Make (3) copies of ONLY certain financial disclosure forms

Make three copies of the Income and Expense Declaration (FL150) and the Declaration Regarding Service (FL141) forms after you’ve signed them. You’ll be mailing these copies or taking them to the court to file. NOTE: Do not file forms FL-140 or FL-142 with the court.

Decide how you want to file

Decide if you are going to mail your financial disclosures in to the court or go to the court in person to file. You can find out which court you need to file inside the box at the top of your completed Petition or Response form.

Mail or take your financial disclosures to the court

Once you mail or take your financial disclosures to the court, you’ve filed! If you are going to mail your financial disclosures, you’ll need to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope so you can have your copy returned to you.

Step 3 Instructions: Your Judgment & Agreement

Make sure you've completed all the steps

Download our checklist to make sure you’ve completed all the steps.

Print & sign all your Final Judgment forms

Click here to access your completed final judgment forms. Sign each one where needed. *If filing in Tulare County, please click here.

Get the correct forms notarized

There are a lot of forms you need to sign for your Final Judgment, but one in particular needs to be notarized. It’s Attachment 4 of the FL-180 form, also called the Stipulated Judgment form. You and your spouse can have separate copies notarized, but they must be sent to the court together. Many counties in California do not accept electronic notarization for this.

*Alameda County ONLY

If 1) If your spouse lives out of state or 2) You have selected $0 in child support, you will need to include the applicable forms. See here.

Make (3) copies of your forms

Make three copies of all the forms so you have four total. You’ll need to submit some of them to the court.

Put certain forms paper-clipped together in order

The court likes these forms paper-clipped together in order: Final Judgment (FL-180), then your Stipulated Judgment or Marital Settlement Agreement, then your Child Support Calculation and FL-342, then any of the optional forms FL-341 through FL-346 that you may have.

Put any other forms you've generated behind the forms in the step above

Take all your other forms and make sure you include them in your packet. Make sure all forms are signed, and you’ve included your case number and names on the top of every form.

Keep one copy and submit the original and the other two copies to the court

Take or mail your forms to court. You will need to include two stamped large (9” x 12”) envelopes – one addressed to you and one to your spouse – for the court to mail the Judgment and Notice of Entry of Judgment back to you. This packet is what the judge will use to approve your divorce. Once the judge signs your forms, your divorce is complete!

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