I’ve Been Served With Divorce Papers in California. Now What?

You have now received a Divorce Petition (FL-100) and Summons (FL-110). If you have minor children with your spouse, you likely also received a UCCJEA* form (FL-105).

So, now what?

1. Sign a form to say you received the Petition

Sign and return the Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt (FL-117) to avoid personal service (i.e., a third party, often a process server showing up at your doorstep or workplace). By signing the Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt (NAOR), you are acknowledging receipt of the documents and starting the six-month waiting period.

By signing the NAOR, you have triggered another important timeline: You must decide if you are going to file a Response (FL-120), and if so, you must do it within 30 days from signing the NAOR.

2. Decide if you want to file a Response

Decide if you will file a Response. If you and your spouse already have an agreement on all divorce-related issues. OR, if you expect that you and your spouse will be able to work together toward an agreement (either on your own or with a mediator), you do not need to file a Response. 

If you decide to file a Response, this list will be helpful to you in gathering the documents and information you will need. You are welcome to sign up for your own divorce plan to make the preparation and filing of your divorce forms really convenient.

If you decide to file a Response, you must:

  • Pay the court filing fee (usually $435 to$450)
  • Prepare, file, and serve a Response and formal financial disclosures
Quick Tip: If you decide to file a Response, you can purchase a Pro Spouse Service so you can complete Step 1 and Step 2 (only one of you needs to complete Step 3).

If you decide not to file a Response, it's partially a waiting game. Your spouse must complete Step 2 and serve you with their financial documents. They may need some information from you – specifically financial information. It's a good idea to be transparent with your finances here so that we can include your assets and accounts in the Judgment and Agreement (Step 3).

While courts are able to change requirements without notice, currently, Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Marin, Nevada, Orange, San Mateo, Tulare, and Ventura Counties require both spouses to complete financial disclosures.

3. Work on an agreement with your spouse

Next, you'll work with your spouse to come to an agreement on all divorce issues. Even if you are not a paid member, you can still sign up for a free account and take advantage of our loads of resources, including this co-parenting plan worksheet. If you and your spouse are not already using Hello Divorce for mediation, we are always happy to refer you to a mediator if you have trouble coming to an agreement on property, debt, support, or shared parenting-related issues.  

Once you have an agreement, you or your spouse can use the Divorce Navigator to prepare the forms needed for Step 3. Or, if your spouse has a Divorce Plus or Mediation Plan, you can sit back and wait for the legal assistant to prepare it for you. It's up to you whether you want to have a lawyer review it before you ultimately sign off.

Finally, after signing the Step 3 forms, your divorce judgment will be sent to the court for processing. When it comes back filed from the court, you will be officially divorced.


*Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act 
Founder, CEO & Certified Family Law Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Insights, Legal Insights
After over a decade of experience as a Certified Family Law Specialist, Mediator and law firm owner, Erin was fed up with the inefficient and adversarial “divorce corp” industry and set out to transform how consumers navigate divorce - starting with the legal process. By automating the court bureaucracy and integrating expert support along the way, Hello Divorce levels the playing field between spouses so that they can sort things out fairly and avoid missteps. Her access to justice work has been recognized by the legal industry and beyond, with awards and recognition from the likes of Women Founders Network, TechCrunch, Vice, Forbes, American Bar Association and the Pro Bono Leadership award from Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Erin lives in California with her husband and two children, and is famously terrible at board games.