served with a petition for divorce

I’ve Been Served With a Divorce Petition 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? 

First

Sign and return the Notice & 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 6 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 it do it within 30 days from signing the NAOR. 

Second

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 towards an agreement (either on your own or with a mediator), you do not need to file a Response.

Related: Should I file a Response? You can also consult with a lawyer. 

If you decide to file a Response, this list of will be helpful to you in gathering the documents and information you will need.  You are welcome to sign up for your own membership option 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- $450)
  • Prepare, file and serve a Response and formal financial disclosures

Quick Tip: If you decide to file a Response, we recommend purchasing “DIY Pro” for 1-2 months 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. S/he 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). 

Third

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, and/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 Divorce with Benefits membership, you can sit back and wait for the legal assistant to prepare it for you. It’s up to you whether or not 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

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