What To Do Now If You Decided To Divorce Last Year in California

If you're thinking about getting a divorce by the end of this year, you're on the clock. Every divorce in California must start with a Petition and Response – meaning, you or your spouse must file official paperwork with the court stating your intent to divorce. (Learn more about the Petition and Response process here)

After the Petition is filed, it takes at least six months and one day – by law in California – to finalize your divorce. (Note: You won't be automatically divorced after the waiting period. All forms must be completed before the divorce is final). So, say you file and serve (deliver) your petition on February 1. The earliest your divorce could be finalized is in August of this year. And that's if there are no complicating factors.

If you've resolved to get a divorce by the end of this calendar year, these Hello Divorce resources will help you get – and stay – on track.

Quick tip: you'll need an account to access the links below. 

Know what you're about to get yourself into

You didn't arrive at the decision to divorce easily, so it shouldn't surprise you that the divorce process itself isn't easy, either. Carve out some time to review our Divorce Navigator. It's completely free, and it will walk you through the complicated California divorce process – which we've broken down into four understandable (and manageable) steps.

Think about how you plan to execute your divorce.

Will you self-represent? Will you and your spouse go through mediation, or will you hire a divorce attorney or a legal coach?

Tip: We can help, no matter which option you choose.

If you aren't fighting over kids, already have an agreement and don't have a complex estate, you are a good candidate to self-represent. Learn how to file for divorce and check out our 10 tips for representing yourself in family court.

As you're thinking through this important piece of the process, be sure to familiarize yourself with Hello Divorce plan options. Our memberships are a great way to keep costs down while still maintaining one-on-one access to top lawyers. 

Before you file a Petition to divorce

Review our pre-leaving checklist for a list of items you'll want to make sure you have in your possession – from cash to documents to family heirlooms.

The separation of assets can be complicated

Our property and debt division cheat sheet will help you get organized.

Will you need to go to court?

It is possible that as your divorce progresses, you may end up in court. Most people who end up in a family law courtroom have never been to court before. Our Divorce Court 101 resource will help you understand exactly what to expect if you do end up in court, and our guide to what to wear to court will help you – and those accompanying you – put the best face forward.

Take care of yourself through this process

Divorce is financially, mentally, and emotionally draining. Our self-care worksheet will help you find and commit to a time and activity that will help you stay sane and focused.


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.