Where to file divorce

What County and Courthouse Do I File for Divorce in California?

So you’ve made the decision to file for divorce. You need to know what county to file your paperwork in and what address should be used on your court forms (or risk the possibility of them being rejected (returned to you unfiled)).

To file for divorce in the county you live in, you must have resided there for at least three months prior. If you have not been there that long, you may want to either

  1. File for divorce in your spouse’s county (assuming s/he has lived there for at least three months; or
  2. File for ‘legal separation’ in the county you currently reside in and later amend your Petition to state that you actually want a divorce.

This resource has the court address and contact information for each California county. Additionally, you may want to check out the court’s website (also listed in the PDF) to see if you have a choice where and how to file your forms.

In other words, just because the court address is in one city, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t bring the actual forms to be filed to a courthouse closer in proximity to you. For example, in Alameda County divorce actions are heard in Hayward (and thus your paperwork should reflect that address) but you can file in Oakland (or by fax) if that is more convenient for you.

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