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California Divorce Self-Help Center

GENERAL INFORMATION
- How does DivorceWriter work?
- How do I make changes to my documents after I receive them?
- How does DivorceWriter work?
- How much does DivorceWriter cost?
- Are court filing fees included in the fee?
- Will DivorceWriter work in my state?
- What is included in my DivorceWriter package?
- What do I do after I receive my documents?
- Why is DivorceWriter the best?
- How long will it take to receive my documents?
- Can my spouse and I get a divorce if we are still living together?
- Can I make changes to my documents after I receive them?
- What is the online interview?
- I want to use DivorceWriter to prepare my own divorce documents. What do I do next?
- What happens after I receive my DivorceWriter documents?
- Are court filing fees included in the fee?
- How much does DivorceWriter cost?
- Are DivorceWriter documents legal?
- Will DivorceWriter documents work in my state and/or in my situation?
- I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide property and debts?
- I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide our property and/or debts?
- I need a form that is not available online or in the DivorceWriter's supplemental forms database. How can I find a sample form elsewhere?
- How do I change my password?
- How do I make changes to my existing DivorceWriter account?
- Why is DivorceWriter the best?
- Can I use DivorceWriter in my state?
- I finished the online interview. How long will it take to receive my documents?
- What if I need additional documents that were not included in my DivorceWriter package?
- Does DivorceWriter provide documents for annulments?
- How do I make changes to my documents after receiving my self-prepared DivorceWriter package?
- Can you overnight my documents to me so that I can have them right away?
- We were married in a foreign country. Can we divorce in the U.S.?
- Can I create another divorce in my account?
- Will my documents be completed or will I have to fill them out myself when I receive them?
- Do we need to notify the clerk if one or both spouses move to a different address during the divorce?
- Do we need to notify the court of any address changes during the divorce?
- Customer wants to know what they need to do if one spouse moves to a different address while the divorce is pending
- What is DivorceWriter's fax number?
- Does it matter which spouse files for divorce?
- Customer notifies us of rejection without requesting refund
- What's the difference between an Acknowledgement and a Jurat?
- What is included?
- How do I serve a spouse that lives in a different state or country?
DIVORCE FILING PROCEDURES
- How much is the filing fee in California?
- What are the residency requirements for filing in California?
- What documents are included in the self-prepared DivorceWriter package?
- What are the signature requirements for the documents I will receive?
- How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce?
- Where do I file the divorce documents?
- How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers?
- Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing?
- What are the grounds for filing for divorce?
- Do we have to be separated to get a divorce?
- Can I change my name in the divorce proceedings?
- Do we qualify for a summary dissolution?
- Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing?
- Which spouse files the divorce documents?
- What documents will I receive?
- Do I have to have my signature notarized on any documents?
- How long does it take to get a divorce in California?
- Can I file for divorce in California?
- How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in California?
- What are the steps to getting a divorce in California?
- Can the wife change her name back during the divorce?
- How long does it take to finalize a divorce in California?
- What is a California Summary Dissolution?
- Do I have to divorce in the state where I was married?
- What if my spouse and I don't live in the same state?
- How do I determine if my income falls below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines?
- My documents ask for the "Cause Number" instead of a "Case Number." Is this correct?
- How do I know which courthouse to file my divorce in Los Angeles County?
- 12.12.2011 CA Wife Had Child by Another Man During Marriage
- I received a document entitled "Requirements for Submitted Judgments" from Los Angeles County. What does this form mean?
- I live in San Mateo County. Why am I directed to file in the Southern Branch in Redwood City when I live closer to the Northern Branch in San Francisco?
- There was an error on one or more of the documents that I filed with the Clerk. Now that I have fixed the error(s) on the document(s), is there anything else I have to do to it before I file an amended version of the document with the Clerk?
- Can my spouse have documents notarized in a different state?
- The Clerk or Judge told me I need to file Further Orders and/or other attachments to my Judgment (FL-180) in addition to the Marital Settlement Agreement. Where can I get these?
- How soon after filing for divorce must the Respondent be served with a copy of the Petition and Summons?
- Do I have to list the Social Security Number?
- Do any documents require notarization?
CUSTODY, VISITATION, AND SUPPORT
- How is child support calculated?
- What if my spouse and I have agreed to a child support amount that is different from the standard amount?
- What if we already have an existing child support order?
- When can a child support order be modified in California?
- Will we be able to customize our documents to fit our specific custody and visitation arrangement?
- What are the different types of custody?
- What is the difference between child support and spousal support?
- We have agreed that one spouse will pay spousal support to the other. What are some options?
- How is child support calculated in California?
- How is spousal support/alimony calculated?
- What if my spouse and I have agreed to use a child support amount that is different from the standard amount set by the Child Support Guidelines?
- What if I have additional questions about child support?
- We have children. Can I still use DivorceWriter?
- Can we use DivorceWriter if we have children?
- Do I have to pay income tax on spousal support payments that I receive?
- Can we specify how we will claim our child(ren) for income tax purposes?
- Is spousal support commonly awarded?
- What if we each will have primary physical custody of at least one child?
- What if we will each have primary physical custody of at least one child?
- We have received our documents, but have decided that we do not want any parenting time schedule. Is this possible?
- Where do I obtain a Case Identifier for the Income Withholding for Support?
- I have been advised that FC Sec. 5616 is missing from my documents. What do I do?
- I was told that my documents are missing FC 2105 language and/or Declaration Regarding Service of Preliminary Disclosure (FL-141). What does this mean?
- Why do I keep getting an error for holidays and special occasions?
- What is the home state of the children under UCCJEA?
- What if my children live in another state and we already have a court order or informal arrangement concerning child support and child custody?
- I received a notice that the Judge wants me to file a child support calculation sheet. Where can I get one?
- Can I change custody from joint to sole on my California documents?
- What if my spouse and I have agreed that spouse will be paid directly rather than with a wage garnishment?
DEBTS AND PROPERTY
- Can we customize our documents to fit our plans for our real estate?
- We want to transfer real estate into only one spouse's name. Do we need a Quit Claim Deed?
- Will we have the option to divide one or more retirement plans?
- Can we divide one or more retirement plans?
- Can we divide/list as many items of personal property as we want?
- Can we divide as many items of personal property as we want?
- Can we divide/list as many debts as we want?
- Do I need to list the legal description of my real estate?
- Do DivorceWriter documents accommodate the splitting of one or more items/pieces or property between two spouses?
- Can I receive a portion of my spouse's retirement plan even though his/her retirement is several years away?
- We are each going to be liable for a percentage of one or more of our debts. How do we enter the information?
- When can I record the quit claim deed my spouse signed?
- My spouse and I listed no property or debts in the online interview. Why is 13(b) checked on FL-800 instead of 13(a)?
- What is the "legal description" of a piece of real estate?
- What is the "legal description" of a piece of real estate?
- What if I don't know if I have debts to list?
- What if I don't know if I have property to list?
- Why do my DivorceWriter documents say that we do not have life insurance or other property that we actually do have?
- Do we have to list the debts we have agreed to divide?
- What if I don't know if I have property to list?
- What if I don't know if I have debts to list?
- Do we have to list the property we've agreed to divide?
- Do we have to list the items of property we've agreed to divide?
- Do we have to list the debts we've agreed to divide?
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
- What if one spouse is in the military?
- What if one spouse is living in a foreign country?
- What if I have an out of state driver's license or no license at all?
- I am not sure my marriage was legal. Do I even need a divorce?
- What if my spouse and I don't live in the state shown on this page?
- What if my spouse is in the military?
- My spouse is currently incarcerated. What address do I use?
- My spouse is currently incarcerated. What address do I use?
- What if my spouse is unwilling to sign the divorce documents?
- How do we get documents notarized in a foreign country?
- I can't find my spouse. Can I still use DivorceWriter?
- I received my DivorceWriter package today, but I'm not sure I want to file for divorce right away. How how long are these papers good for?
- My spouse is currently incarcerated. Can we still use DivorceWriter?
- How do I end a civil union or domestic partnership?
- Does DivorceWriter provide gender-neutral documents for divorce in states where same-sex marriage is not specifically legalized, but is recognized when performed in another state?
- Which states allow same-sex divorce?
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
- Where can I find the full-text version of the California Family Code online?
- Where can I find additional help?
Ready to Begin now?
GENERAL INFORMATION
How does DivorceWriter work? First, complete the basic pre-purchase portion of the online interview. Then, set up your DivorceWriter account and enter your payment information. Complete the remainder of the online interview, which asks for additional information regarding your property, debts, children (if any), etc., and click on "submit."

Our automated system will transfer the information to forms specific to the state where the divorce will be filed. Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may also have them printed and shipped to you via Priority Mail. All document packages include state-specific written procedures for signing and filing with the Court Clerk.
How do I make changes to my documents after I receive them? If you want to make changes to any of your documents after receiving them in the mail, you have three options:
  1. Log into your account. Make the desired changes to your online interview responses. Then, on the review page of the interview under "Printing and Shipping Status," click on "E-mail Me a Copy of My Divorce Documents."
  2. E-mail your documents to yourself. Then, customize as needed and print.
  3. In the alternative, if you would like to have a hard copy of your documents shipped to you, contact customer service at info@divorcewriter.com.
How does DivorceWriter work?
  1. Complete the pre-buy portion of the online interview.
  2. After purchase you will have a chance to review your answers and provide any other details such as decisions regarding property and/or any minor children. When you are satisfied, submit your interview for printing.
  3. DivorceWriter will print and mail you your documents and filing instructions. You will be able to login and access your account at any time for up to a year to make any changes if needed.
How much does DivorceWriter cost? The DivorceWriter fee is just $149. (Note: This does not include the divorce filing fee charged by the Court Clerk in your county.)
Are court filing fees included in the fee? No. Court filing fees are not included in the DivorceWriter fee. The DivorceWriter fee includes all of your ready-to-sign divorce documents along with detailed filing instructions.
Will DivorceWriter work in my state? Each state has its own divorce forms, which tend to vary a lot in appearance and content. DivorceWriter forms are state-specific and designed for acceptance only in the state of filing selected by the customer.
What is included in my DivorceWriter package? Your package will contain all of the completed forms needed to get a divorce in your state, including step-by-step state-specific filing instructions.
What do I do after I receive my documents? Simply follow the step-by-step filing procedures included with your DivorceWriter documents, which include how and when to sign and file all documents as well as important practical procedural information to help you have a smooth, stress-free filing process.
Why is DivorceWriter the best?
Simple and fast DivorceWriters sophisticated easy to use web site allows you to create divorce documents quickly and easily.

Exceptional value The DivorceWriter package includes property agreement, parenting plan, name change, spousal support and more. Other online offerings charge twice as much for fewer features.

It is private and secure DivorceWriter.com is audited and tested daily by McAfee Secure, a leading online security company.

Integrity Pro Se Planning, Inc. has an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau. Our record is exemplary.

Customer service Exceptional customer service

How long will it take to receive my documents? After completing the easy online interview and clicking the "submit" button, your DivorceWriter document package will be shipped to you the next business day via Priority Mail. Depending on your location, Priority Mail may take 3 to 4 business days for delivery.
Can my spouse and I get a divorce if we are still living together? Yes. You can divorce while still living in the same residence with your spouse.
Can I make changes to my documents after I receive them? Yes. We realize that your circumstances may change after you receive your DivorceWriter package. DivorceWriter offers easy options for making changes and obtaining new documents at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE. Simply contact our Customer Service by telephone or e-mail.
What is the online interview? In as little as 10-15 minutes, the online interview allows you to enter the information needed to complete your divorce forms, all in the privacy of your own home. After completing the online interview, your documents are ready for printing with just one click.
I want to use DivorceWriter to prepare my own divorce documents. What do I do next? To get started, click on "Start the Process" above. You will be taken to our online interview where, in as little as 10-15 minutes, you can enter the information needed to complete your divorce forms. After completing the online interview, simply transfer your information to our automated system. Get your documents immediately using the instant download option or have them printed and shipped to you via Priority Mail.
What happens after I receive my DivorceWriter documents? Just follow the step-by-step instructions included with your DivorceWriter package, which provide detailed information on signing your documents as well as important practical tips to help you have a smooth, stress-free filing process.
Are court filing fees included in the fee? The DivorceWriter price does NOT include the filing fee charged by the court clerk when you file for divorce. Fees can vary from state to state and county to county, but typically range from $100 to $350. A handful of counties charge $400.00 to $500.00.
How much does DivorceWriter cost? For only $149, you will receive all of the documents needed to get a divorce in your state. Step-by-step filing instructions for your state are also included at no additional charge.
Are DivorceWriter documents legal? DivorceWriter's goal is to provide self-help divorce documents. However, DivorceWriter is not a law firm and only lawyers are allowed to issue an opinion regarding the legality of a document and its applicability to your specific circumstances. If you have any doubts as to the applicability of your DivorceWriter purchase to your situation, you may wish to seek the advice of a lawyer licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.

DivorceWriter offers a full refund if your documents are not accepted by the Court.
Will DivorceWriter documents work in my state and/or in my situation? DivorceWriter's goal is to provide self-help divorce documents. However, DivorceWriter is not a law firm and only lawyers are allowed to issue an opinion regarding the legality of a document and its applicability to your specific circumstances. If you have any doubts as to the applicability of your DivorceWriter purchase to your situation, you may wish to seek the advice of a lawyer licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction. DivorceWriter offers a full refund if your documents are not accepted by the Court.
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide property and debts? Asking the Court for to divide property and debts fairly is standard language in the Divorce Petitions/Divorce Complaints in a majority of states, even when the parties have no actual property or debts to divide.
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide our property and/or debts? The Divorce Petitions/Divorce Complaints in most states contain language asking the Court to divide property and debts acquired during the marriage fairly or equitably. This type of equitable distribution request is standard language and is to be included even when the parties have no actual property or debts to divide.
I need a form that is not available online or in the DivorceWriter's supplemental forms database. How can I find a sample form elsewhere? Divorce documents are public record, so it is usually possible to obtain a copy of one or more document(s) from other divorce files to use as sample forms by making a request in person or by mail at the office where your divorce was filed. The case number for the divorce file(s) from which you would like a copy is/are generally required. If the request is made by mail, include a self-addressed stamped envelope with adequate postage.
How do I change my password? To change your password you must first log back into your account using the login section in the upper right hand corner of this page. Then on the Review page of your online interview, select the "EDIT" tab next to "Account Email." From here you can update your password.
How do I make changes to my existing DivorceWriter account? If you already have a DivorceWriter account and need to make changes to your online interview responses, you may log in to your account here.
Why is DivorceWriter the best? For just $149, DivorceWriter offers a quick and easy way to create your own divorce documents, ready-to-sign and file in your state. While other online offerings cost up to twice as much, our 100% money-back guarantee, HackerSafe™ monitoring, and "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau make DivorceWriter a safe choice and a great value.
Can I use DivorceWriter in my state? DivorceWriter offers divorce documents for nearly every U.S. state and the District of Columbia. To see if your state is offered, go to the "Start the Process" page and select your state from the drop down box. DivorceWriter documents are state-specific. If your documents are not accepted in your county (or parish), you get your money back--100% guarantee.
I finished the online interview. How long will it take to receive my documents? Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may also have them printed and shipped to you via Priority Mail, which typically takes 3-4 business days.
What if I need additional documents that were not included in my DivorceWriter package? Contact customer service at info@divorcewriter.com with the name or form number of the the document(s) you need. We have many supplemental documents available that can be emailed to you for immediate printing.
Does DivorceWriter provide documents for annulments? No. DivorceWriter does not currently provide documents for annulments.
How do I make changes to my documents after receiving my self-prepared DivorceWriter package? If you want to make changes to any of your documents after receiving them in the mail, you have two options:
  1. Log into your account at www.divorcewriter.com/Home_Login.asp. Make the desired changes to your online interview responses. Then, on the review page of the interview under "Printing and Shipping Status," click on "E-mail Me a Copy of My Divorce Documents" to e-mail your documents to yourself. Customize as needed and print; or
  2. In the alternative, if you would like to have a hard copy of your documents shipped to you, contact customer service at info@divorcewriter.com.
Can you overnight my documents to me so that I can have them right away? Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may also have them printed and shipped to you via Priority Mail.
We were married in a foreign country. Can we divorce in the U.S.? As long as you meet the residency requirements for filing for divorce in the state where you want to file, it should not matter that you were married outside of the U.S.
Can I create another divorce in my account? Yes, you can purchase additional divorces from your Account Summary page. Login to your account and select "Purchase New Divorce." Please note that each DivorceWriter divorce is for one marriage only. You may not reuse a purchased divorce to complete forms for another unrelated marriage.
Will my documents be completed or will I have to fill them out myself when I receive them? For the most part, your DivorceWriter documents arrive completed with the information that you provide in the interview, ready to sign and file with your local court. However, there is some information that is not yet known to the customer, such as the date that a filing step was completed, which must be filled in by the customer later in the process.

DivorceWriter makes every effort to balance the customer's need to have completed documents with the need to keep our online interview to a reasonable length for the comfort of our customers. As such, certain other pieces of information may also need to be filled in by the customer. Customers with minor children will need to fill in personal information pertaining to the children such as where and with whom they have lived over the last five years. Additionally, most states require persons filing for divorce to complete affidavits or financial statements pertaining to income, expenses, and property. Much of the information on these forms must be filled in by the customer as well.
Do we need to notify the clerk if one or both spouses move to a different address during the divorce? Any questions concerning the requirements for notifying the court about changes of address during the divorce process should be directed to the office where the divorce was filed. At the very least, they will likely want to make a note of the new address for their records. Any documents that have yet to be filed that contain the outdated address may be downloaded in Microsoft Word and customized as needed.
Do we need to notify the court of any address changes during the divorce? Any questions concerning the requirements for notifying the court about changes of address during the divorce process are best directed to the office where the divorce was filed as they will likely want to make note of the new address for their records. If you find you need to make any changes to your documents, they may be downloaded in Microsoft Word and self-customized to meet your needs.
Customer wants to know what they need to do if one spouse moves to a different address while the divorce is pending Thank you for your inquiry. Any questions concerning the requirements for notifying the court about changes of address during the divorce process are best directed to the office where the divorce was filed as they will likely want to make note of the new address for their records. If you find you need to make any changes to your documents, they may be downloaded in Microsoft Word and self-customized to meet your needs.
What is DivorceWriter's fax number? DivorceWriter's fax number is (800) 344 9889.
Does it matter which spouse files for divorce? Generally speaking, both spouses should have the same rights in a divorce proceeding regardless of which one actually files for divorce. That being said, keep in mind that, depending on the state, the spouse who files may be responsible for one or more of the following tasks: (1) filing of the actual divorce paperwork at the court clerk's office, (2) paying the required filing fee, (3) fulfilling any requirements for serving the other spouse, (4) being the contact person for any future interactions with the court clerk and (5) attending the divorce hearing, if required in your state. Please note that the filing procedures you will receive with your DivorceWriter package will provide step-by-step information on the divorce process, and depending on your state, not all of these obligations will be required of the Petitioner/Plaintiff.

Note: DivorceWriter is not a law firm, and because we are not lawyers, the laws governing self-help legal products prohibit us from providing any assistance to customers in determining which spouse should file for divorce.
Customer notifies us of rejection without requesting refund Duplicate - Needs to be deleted; wrong response for this situation was given here
What's the difference between an Acknowledgement and a Jurat? With an Acknowledgement, the notary is certifying that the signer appeared before the notary with identification, usually a valid driver's license or other picture ID, and acknowledged that he or she is the person who signed the document. With a Jurat, the notary also confirms the identity of the person signing, but also requires that person to swear under oath or affirmation as to the truth of the statements contained in the document.

An Acknowledgement may be signed outside the presence of the notary, if desired, and may be signed by an authorized representative, if necessary. However, a jurat must be signed in front of the notary and can only be signed by the person named in the document.

Examples of typical jurat wording:
  • "I, (signer's name), first duly sworn..."
  • "I do so agree and covenant..."
  • "I affirm or testify that..."
What is included? The DivorceWriter package includes all forms needed to complete your divorce. These state specific forms cover property, debt, spousal support, child support, parenting plan, changing your name, and more. Receive your forms instantly online, or receive by mail. Make unlimited changes as needed. (Note: The DivorceWriter fee does not include the filing fee charged by the Court Clerk in your county.)
How do I serve a spouse that lives in a different state or country? The process for serving a spouse that lives in another state or country depends on the state where the divorce is going to be filed. In states that require formal in-person service by a Sheriff or private process server, the filing spouse will need to make arrangements for service by the Sheriff in the county where the non-filing spouse lives or by a private process server in that state. However, in many states, formal service by a Sheriff or process server is not required when your spouse is willing to sign the necessary documents. Your DivorceWriter procedures will specify which type of service is required in your state.

Note: A few states require in-person service, but allow it to be made by a friend or other "helper" selected by the filing spouse as long as that person is a competent adult living in the filing state. In those states, service on a spouse living in a different state or foreign country must be made by a Sheriff or private process server as described above.
Ready to Begin now?
DIVORCE FILING PROCEDURES
How much is the filing fee in California? The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price. California has adopted a statewide fee schedule, which requires a filing fee of $435.00 (as of 1/1/2014) for a dissolution of marriage.
What are the residency requirements for filing in California? California requires at least one of the spouses to have been a resident of California for at least six months and a resident of the county of filing for at least three months immediately before the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The spouse who files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and related documents is the Petitioner. The other spouse automatically becomes the Respondent.
What documents are included in the self-prepared DivorceWriter package? Your self-prepared California DivorceWriter package will include:
  • Detailed filing procedures for California
  • Petition Documents (Petition FL-100, UCCJEA FL-105, Summons FL-110)
  • Proof of Service of Summons (FL-115, FL-117, FL-120)
  • Preliminary Disclosure Forms (FL-140, FL-142, FL-150, FL-141)
  • Final Disclosure Forms (FL-140, FL-142, FL-150, FL-141)
  • Appearance, Stipulations, and Waivers Form (FL-130)
  • Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Request to Enter Default (FL-165) *optional form if entering default
  • Final Judgment (FL-170, FL-180, FL-190)
  • Customers with minor and/or legally dependent children will also receive: Child Support (FL-191, FL-192, FL-195)
What are the signature requirements for the documents I will receive? The state-specific filing procedures included in the DivorceWriter package indicate which documents need to be signed and which documents, if any, require notarization. Some documents will require the signatures of both spouses. When notarization is required, a separate notary block is provided for each spouse, so that it is not necessary for notarization to occur at the same time or place.
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce? The Judge cannot sign the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, which is the document that finalizes the divorce, until six months have passed from the date of service of a copy of Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or the date of appearance of the respondent, whichever occurs first. Thus, assuming all of the necessary documents have been filed and are not objected to by your spouse or the Judge, a divorce can be finalized in as little as six months and one day.
Where do I file the divorce documents? Divorces are filed at the Superior Court Clerk's office in the county where one or both spouses have lived for at least three (3) months.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers? 1. The California DivorceWriter packet contains a Summons, which the filing spouse takes to the Clerk along with the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and certain other documents.
2. Once the Summons has been file-stamped by the Clerk, the filing spouse selects a Server, which is a friend or relative, who then mails two copies of the Petition and several other documents to the non-fiing spouse.
3. Once the mailing has been done, the Server completes a form verifying that the documents were mailed and then gives the form to the filing spouse to file with the Clerk.
4. When the non-filing spouse receives the documents in the mail, he or she signs and dates a form, and returns it to the filing spouse to be filed with the Clerk.
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? In an uncontested California divorce, you typically will not need a court hearing. After filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and related documents at the court house, you may even be able to file the rest of the divorce paperwork by mail. The Superior Court Clerk in the county of filing will be able to advise you further.
What are the grounds for filing for divorce? California allows a person to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage on the grounds of (1) irreconcilable differences or (2) incurable insanity. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov. The DivorceWriter online interview accommodates the grounds of irreconcilable differences only.
Do we have to be separated to get a divorce? The "date of separation" refers to the date when at least one of the spouses decided to end the marriage with no intent to reconcile. This date is often a matter of interpretation. It is sometimes the date the spouses stopped living together although it is not requirement that the spouses are physically living apart. Moreover, even spouses that live apart might not be considered separated if they are maintaining the marital relationship, attending marriage counseling, and/or holding themselves out as a married couple.

Consider this date carefully as it can affect property division and spousal support if you and your spouse are ever unable to agree about matters pertaining to the dissolution of your marriage at a later time in the process.
Can I change my name in the divorce proceedings? If you select the name change option in the Online Interview, the request will be automatically added to your documents at no additional cost to you.
Do we qualify for a summary dissolution? The DivorceWriter online interview provides qualifying customers with the ability to select the summary dissolution option. If all conditions are not met, you will receive standard dissolution documents. For a summary dissolution, ALL of the following conditions must be met:
  • Either party meets the residency requirements.
  • Both spouses can be present when the documents are filed and both can show valid picture ID.
  • Irreconcilable differences have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage and the marriage should be dissolved.
  • There are no children of the relationship of the parties.
  • The wife is not pregnant.
  • The marriage is not more than five years in duration at the time the petition is filed.
  • Neither party has any interest in real property wherever situated, with the exception of the lease of a residence occupied by either party.
  • There are no unpaid obligations in excess of $6,000 incurred by either or both of the parties after the date of their marriage, not including car loans.
  • The total fair market value of community property assets,excluding all encumbrances and automobiles, including any deferred compensation or retirement plan, is less than $38,000, and neither party has separate property assets,excluding all encumbrances and automobiles, in excess of $38,000.
  • The parties have executed an agreement settlement.
  • The parties waive any rights to spousal support.
  • The parties irrevocably waive their respective rights to appeal and their rights to move for a new trial.


Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? In an uncontested California divorce, you typically will not need a court hearing. After filing your petition at the court house, you may be able to file the rest of the divorce paperwork by mail.
Which spouse files the divorce documents? The spouse who files for divorce is the Petitioner. The other spouse is the Respondent.

To file for divorce in California, at least one spouse must have been a resident of California for at least six (6) months and of the county where the divorce is filed for at least three (3) months before filing for divorce.
What documents will I receive? Each DivorceWriter package includes all of the documents needed to obtain a divorce in your state, ready to sign and file. You will also receive easy to understand, step-by-step instructions for filing for divorce in your state.
Do I have to have my signature notarized on any documents? The state-specific filing instructions you will receive with your DivorceWriter package indicate when and where to sign documents and which documents, if any, require notarization. If notarization is ever required, a separate notary block is provided for each spouse, so that it is not necessary for notarization to occur at the same time or place.
How long does it take to get a divorce in California? After you file for divorce, you will receive a Divorce Decree in the mail that is signed by the judge and contains the date that the divorce will be officially final. In uncontested divorces, that date is 6 months + 1 day from the date the divorce was filed.
Can I file for divorce in California? To file for divorce in California, one or both spouses must be residents of that state for at least six (6) months before filing. If one of the spouses is not a California resident, it is usually easier if the resident spouse files for divorce.

The divorce can be filed in the county where either spouse has lived for at least three (3) months before filing. If both spouses meet this requirement, the divorce can be filed in the county where either spouse lives.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in California? The spouse who filed for divorce chooses a friend or relative to mail divorce papers to the non-filing spouse. Later, the server and the non-filing spouse each sign a document verifying service, which is filed with the Clerk.

Note: San Diego County filers are generally required to hand-deliver documents to the non-filing spouse unless this is not possible.
What are the steps to getting a divorce in California? 1) File the divorce papers with the Superior Court Clerk and pay the filing fee of $435.00 (as of 1/1/14). Then, have a friend or relative mail a copy of the divorce papers to your spouse.
2) File the Marital Settlement Agreement and related documents with the Clerk after they have been signed by you and your spouse.
3) Receive the Judgment finalizing your divorce approximately 6 months + 1 day from the date you filed for divorce.
Can the wife change her name back during the divorce? Yes, the wife may restore her name to the name she had before the marriage took place. If a name change is desired, the necessary information will be requested in the Additional Details portion of the DivorceWriter online interview at no additional charge.
How long does it take to finalize a divorce in California? In California, it takes six (6) months plus one day from the date you file for divorce. Typically, the Court will send you a copy of your Divorce Decree with the Judge's signature and the date when your divorce will be final.
What is a California Summary Dissolution? A California Summary Dissolution is basically a simplified divorce. You must meet several requirements including being married less than five years, having no children, and having little community property. The online interview provides more details and has the option to request a Summary Dissolution if you qualify.
Do I have to divorce in the state where I was married? No. You can divorce in any state where you or your spouse meet the divorce residency requirements.
What if my spouse and I don't live in the same state? As long as one spouse meets the residency requirements for the state where the divorce will be filed, it does not matter that the other spouse lives in a different state.
How do I determine if my income falls below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines? Some states require a person who is applying for a filing fee waiver to have an annual income that falls at least 125% below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Povery Guidelines in order to qualify for the waiver. Information on the HHS Poverty Guidelines for the current year is available here.
My documents ask for the "Cause Number" instead of a "Case Number." Is this correct? Yes. In a number of U.S. states, the Courts use the term "Cause Number" instead of "Case Number."
How do I know which courthouse to file my divorce in Los Angeles County? When both spouses live in Los Angeles County, the divorce can be filed in the district where either spouse lives. For more information, see Los Angeles County Superior Court Rule 2.3.
12.12.2011 CA Wife Had Child by Another Man During Marriage Issue 2340; Customer's email: I am a resident of California. My spouse resides in Texas. I would like to use Divorce Writer. We have a child together, but I also have a child that is not his who was born during the marriage. It seems like this is a simple issue in the Texas version but I can't find any information in the California version. Can you help?

Jack Lane of the DCSS Parenting Opportunity Program advised that the simplified procedure of just filing a Declaration of Paternity form is only allowed when both parents are unmarried. He said a woman who has a child during the marriage by another man should contact an attorney or Family Law Facilitator, so I think we should suggest that this customer do the same. I am sure we have had customers use our forms under the same circumstances. I suggest we tell her the following: Thank you for your inquiry. Please be advised that DivorceWriter is not a law firm and because we are not lawyers, the laws governing self-help legal products prohibit us from providing any direct assistance to customer inquiries. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide the information you have requested. You may wish to contact a family law attorney or the Family Law Facilitator (FLF) in your county.
I received a document entitled "Requirements for Submitted Judgments" from Los Angeles County. What does this form mean? If you filed for divorce in L.A. County, you may have received a document entitled “Requirements for Submitted Judgments,” which is commonly given to people representing themselves (without an attorney) in divorce. This document contains several tips on divorce requirements in Los Angeles County, not all of which apply to all cases. You should not assume that receiving this document means that you have a problem with your documents. Generally speaking, if a Settlement Agreement signed by both spouses is filed with the Clerk that states what the parties have agreed to concerning child custody, visitation, spousal support, property division, and debt allocation, the requirements addressed in this letter will have been met.
I live in San Mateo County. Why am I directed to file in the Southern Branch in Redwood City when I live closer to the Northern Branch in San Francisco? Effective January 31, 2011, the Family Law/Civil/Probate Clerk's Office located at the Northern Branch has closed. All other family law/civil/probate filings must be filed in Redwood City at the Hall of Justice.
There was an error on one or more of the documents that I filed with the Clerk. Now that I have fixed the error(s) on the document(s), is there anything else I have to do to it before I file an amended version of the document with the Clerk? Generally, if an error has been made in a document that was filed with the Clerk, the corrected document needs to be retitled as "Amended" before it can be refiled. For example, if there was an error in the divorce Petition/Complaint that was filed with the Clerk, before filing a corrected divorce Petition/Complaint or Settlement Agreement, the document should be retitled with the word "Amended" at the beginning of the title (ex. Amended Petition for Divorce, Amended Settlement Agreement). Most DivorceWriter documents are available in Word format allowing you to add "Amended" to the title yourself.

Note: When amending one document, be sure to review all documents to make sure that the changes being made to that document do not cause inconsistencies in other documents. If so, it may be necessary to either file amended versions of previously filed documents as well or make changes before filing documents that have not yet been filed.

When you file the amended version of the document, you need to bring the same number of copies of the amended document to the Clerk's office as you brought when you filed the original document. Additionally, you must follow the same steps, if any, for service of that particular document on your spouse as you were required to do for the original version you filed.
Can my spouse have documents notarized in a different state? Yes. If your spouse is unable to have documents notarized by a Notary Public in the state where the divorce will be or has been filed, he or she may have them notarized by a Notary Public in another state.
The Clerk or Judge told me I need to file Further Orders and/or other attachments to my Judgment (FL-180) in addition to the Marital Settlement Agreement. Where can I get these? In most counties, the Court only requires the Marital Settlement Agreement to be stapled to the back of the Judgment (FL-180) and filed with the Court. However, a few counties may tell the Petitioner to file Further Orders or in the alternative, to staple one or more attachments beginning with a number in the 300's to the back of the Judgment (FL-180) behind the Marital Settlement Agreement.

DivorceWriter makes a Further Orders document available to California users free of charge. To obtain this document, simply send an e-mail to DivorceWriter Customer Service at info@divorcewriter.com requesting the Further Orders document. You will receive an e-mail that contains all of the documents you have already received as part of your DivorceWriter package as well as one or more documents beginning with 888, which are all of our supplemental forms for California. Among the supplemental 888 documents, is a Further Orders document. Note: If Petitioner is asked to file Further Orders, the boxes marked "other" for 4l, 4m, and 4n on the Judgment (FL-180) generally must be checked and "Further Orders Attachment" written in the blank spaces provided.

Most Courts will accept the Further Orders document as a substitute for all of the attachments beginning with a number in the 300's. However, the DivorceWriter 888 supplemental documents may also contain one or more of the 300 attachments requested by the Court, which Petitioner may simply choose to print and file instead of the Further Orders document. If 300 attachment(s) are filed instead of Further Orders, Petitioner will check not check the "other" box for 4l, 4m, and 4m, but will instead check the correct box for the attachment being filed.
How soon after filing for divorce must the Respondent be served with a copy of the Petition and Summons? The Petition and Summons must be served on the Respondent and the Proof of Service of Summons (FL-115) signed by the Server must be filed with the Superior Court Clerk within sixty (60) calendar days from the date of filing.
Do I have to list the Social Security Number? If you do not enter a Social Security Number here, there will be blanks on any form requiring the number where you can enter it by hand.
Do any documents require notarization? The filing instructions included with your DivorceWriter package will provide additional information if any documents require notarization.
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CUSTODY, VISITATION, AND SUPPORT
How is child support calculated? Based on the information provided by the customer when completing this online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is automatically created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

Additional information on the calculation of child support can be found at: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov.
What if my spouse and I have agreed to a child support amount that is different from the standard amount? DivorceWriter shows the child support calculation under the guidelines using the parents' income. Then, the customer chooses whether to use the guideline calculation or to deviate from that calculation by entering a different child support amount as well a reason for using a different amount. Information on using a child support amount that is different from the standard amount set by the Child Support Guidelines is available at: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov.

What if we already have an existing child support order? DivorceWriter provides the option to enter information regarding an existing child support order including the amount of support ordered and other identifying case information. Generally, you must also attach a copy of already existing child support document(s) to your Marital Settlement Agreement when you file it.
When can a child support order be modified in California? A child support order can be modified in California if there has been:
  • a significant increase or decrease in either parent's earnings;
  • a change in custody or the amount of time the child spends with each parent; or
  • a change in any other factor that would affect the child support guideline.
Will we be able to customize our documents to fit our specific custody and visitation arrangement? DivorceWriter accommodates parents who want to share joint legal custody while designating one parent to have primary physical custody of the children.

Choose to customize as little or as much as you need.
  • Create a detailed schedule for vacations, holidays, and special occasions, including beginning and end times, or choose to keep your regular schedule during those times.
  • List your parenting schedule priorities to resolve potential conflicts before they arise.
  • Designate the amount of time each parent will spend with the child(ren).
What are the different types of custody? Click here to review how the California Code defines the various custody types: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov.
What is the difference between child support and spousal support? Spousal support is paid to one spouse by the other for the support and care of the receiving spouse. Child support, on the other hand, is paid to one parent by the other for the support and care of dependent children
We have agreed that one spouse will pay spousal support to the other. What are some options? Two common ways for one spouse to receive spousal support payments from the other are (1) monthly payments for a set duration or (2) a one-time lump sum payment.
How is child support calculated in California? Based on the information provided by the customer when completing this online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is automatically created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

Additional information on the calculation of child support can be found at: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov

How is spousal support/alimony calculated? In uncontested divorces, spouses reach their own agreement regarding the amount of spousal support/alimony, if any, that one spouse will receive from the other.

Additional information on how courts calculate spousal support/alimony in cases where spouses have not reached an agreement can be found at: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp

What if my spouse and I have agreed to use a child support amount that is different from the standard amount set by the Child Support Guidelines? Information on using a child support amount that is different from the standard amount set by the Child Support Guidelines is available at: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov

What if I have additional questions about child support? Additional information on child support can be found at: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov.
We have children. Can I still use DivorceWriter? Yes, you can use DivorceWriter to create your divorce forms even if you have children. The online interview includes tools for creating a Parenting Plan and requesting child support if needed.
Can we use DivorceWriter if we have children? Even couples with minor children can prepare their own documents using DivorceWriter.
Do I have to pay income tax on spousal support payments that I receive? For federal income tax purposes, spousal support is commonly considered taxable income for the receiving spouse and is also tax-deductible for the spouse that pays it. However, when a written provision is included in a settlement agreement stating that the payments are not included in the gross income of the recipient spouse nor deductible from the income of the payor spouse, you are often able to avoid any federal income tax consequences for either party.

If you have any questions regarding the tax consequences of spousal support, you may wish to contact an attorney. More information is also available at: www.irs.com

Child support is NEVER taxable income to the parent that receives it nor is it ever tax-deductible for the party that pays it.
Can we specify how we will claim our child(ren) for income tax purposes? The DivorceWriter online interview allows you to designate which spouse will claim your minor children as dependents for purposes of federal and state income tax.
Is spousal support commonly awarded? Less than 10% of DivorceWriter customers choose to include spousal support in their divorces.
What if we each will have primary physical custody of at least one child? DivorceWriter can accommodate split custody situations by allowing customers to select joint legal and physical custody. Then, in the box(es) provided, the customer indicates with which child(ren) the mother will have more actual parenting time and with which child(ren) the one father with have more actual parenting time. If you need further customization, DivorceWriter will provide you with a copy of your settlement agreement and/or parenting plan in Word format so that you can edit those documents further to meet the needs of your situation.

If necessary, you can also deviate to a child support amount that is different from the guideline amount. More information on child support is available in the Help Topics located in the child support portion of this online interview.
What if we will each have primary physical custody of at least one child? If you and your spouse will each have primary physical custody of one or more child(ren), and you would like to select a child support amount that is different from the guideline amount for that reason, simply choose "no" to accepting the guideline support calculation. Next, enter the amount of child support that you have agreed to, if any, in the space provided. Then, you may choose to list the split custody arrangement as the reason for the child support deviation.
We have received our documents, but have decided that we do not want any parenting time schedule. Is this possible? The DivorceWriter online interview, which you completed previously, was designed to accommodate the most common parenting time (visitation) arrangements. If, after reviewing those document(s) in your DivorceWriter package that contain parenting time information, you determine that you want to add and/or delete any items, you may download the applicable document(s) in Microsoft Word and make the desired changes. Then, simply save and print your revised document(s) yourself. Note: In some states, information on parenting time is listed in the Settlement Agreement. In other states, this information is included in a separate Parenting Plan. In a few states, parenting time information may be included in both a Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan as well as possibly in the Decree. If your state has more than one document, which contains parenting time information, be sure to make the changes in each applicable document as the information must be consistent.

DivorceWriter customer service cannot assist you in customizing your documents. If you have any legal questions on customizing your divorce papers, you may need to contact a lawyer licensed to practice law in the applicable jurisdiction.
Where do I obtain a Case Identifier for the Income Withholding for Support? The Court Clerk in your county should be able to provide you with the Case Identifier and the Order Identifier for the Income Withholding for Support . If the Court Clerk will not provide you with this information, contact the California State Disbursement Unit (SDU) for this information. In California, the SDU is responsible for the collection and disbursement of all employer child support wage withholding payments. If you need assistance, you may contact the SDU at (866) 901-3212. In the alternative, you may wish to contact your Local Child Support Agency (LCSA) for assistance. To locate your LCSA, click here.
I have been advised that FC Sec. 5616 is missing from my documents. What do I do? All California Marital Settlement Agreements in cases involving children now include the following FC 5616 language in the child support section: In the event that there is a contract between a party receiving support and a private child support collector, the party ordered to pay support must pay the fee charged by the private child support collector. This fee must not exceed 33 1/3 percent of the total amount of past due support nor may it exceed 50 percent of any fee charged by the private child support collector. The money judgment created by this provision is in favor of the private child support collector and the party receiving support, jointly.
I was told that my documents are missing FC 2105 language and/or Declaration Regarding Service of Preliminary Disclosure (FL-141). What does this mean? Generally, if you are told that you are missing FC Sec. 2105 language, it means that you and/or your spouse did not follow the instructions concerning filing of the Declaration Regarding Service of Preliminary Disclosure and Income and Expenses Statement (form FL-141). A Form FL-141 is included for each spouse, and each spouse must sign and file this form. Please review the instructions provided in your DivorceWriter California Divorce Filing Procedures (Step 2, Step 3, and Additional Information for Step 3) for more information.
Why do I keep getting an error for holidays and special occasions? For each holiday you must mark "Wife" or "Husband." In addition you must also mark "Even," "Odd" or "Every" to specify which years the selected parent will spend with the child(ren) for each individual holiday.

Examples:
  • Christmas Day: If you select "Wife" and "Even" then the child(ren) will spend Christmas Day with the wife on the even numbered years.
  • Father's Day: If you select "Husband" and "Every" then the child(ren) will spend every Father's Day with the husband.
What is the home state of the children under UCCJEA? While you are entitled to file for divorce in any state where the residency requirements and grounds are met, filing for divorce in a different state than where the minor children reside can cause complications because the court lacks jurisdiction to set child custody and parenting time under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, or UCCJEA. In other words, if you want to have the court issue an order as part of the divorce concerning custody and parenting time, it usually can't be done in a state other than the state where the children live. However, if you and your spouse already have a court order in another state concerning custody and parenting time, or if you have an informal agreement on those matters and are not concerned about resolving those issues through the divorce, it may not be a problem.

The UCCJEA is federal legislation adopted in all states except Massachusettes that vests exclusive and continuing jurisdiction to set child custody with the courts in the 'home state' of the child. The 'home state' is the state where the child has lived for six (6) consecutive months (or since birth for children younger than six months) before the divorce is filed. If the child has not lived in any state for at least six months when the divorce is filed, then a jurisdiction that has had both 'significant connections' with the child and at least one parent, and where there is also 'substantial evidence concerning the child's care, protection, training, and personal relationships,' may assume child custody jurisdiction. If more than one state meets the 'significant connections' and 'substantial evidence' requirement under UCCJEA, the courts of those states must communicate and determine which state has the most significant connections to the child.

Because of the UCCJEA, it is generally easier to file for divorce in the state where the child(ren) have lived for at least six months, or in the alternative, in the state where the children currently live and the 'significant connections' and 'substantial evidence' requirements set forth above can be met. Note that when the minor children reside in a foreign country, the matter of child custody jurisdiction can be complicated further. You may wish to contact an attorney for additional information.

In the alternative, if you wish to proceed with a divorce in a state different than where the children are located, it may be easier to log back in to your DivorceWriter account and select "no minor children" on the first page of the online interview. This will result in you receiving documents for a divorce without children. Then, carefully review all documents and revise the portions that state there are no minor children to instead list the names, dates of birth, and current physical address of each child as well as the length of time the child(ren) have been at that address. The terms of any existing court orders concerning the children should be explained in the same sections where the information on the children is listed and a copy of the order should be attached to the divorce petition when it is filed.
What if my children live in another state and we already have a court order or informal arrangement concerning child support and child custody? If you want to have the court issue an order as part of the divorce concerning child support, child custody and parenting time, it usually can't be done in a state other than the state where the children live. However, if you and your spouse already have a court order in another state concerning child support, child custody and/or parenting time, or if you have an informal agreement on those matters and are not concerned about resolving those issues through the divorce, it may not be a problem.

If you wish to proceed with a divorce in a state different than where the children are located, you may wish to log back in to your DivorceWriter account and select "no minor children" on the first page of the online interview. This will result in you receiving documents for a divorce without children. Then, carefully review all documents and revise the portions that state there are no minor children to instead list the names, dates of birth, and current physical address of each child as well as the length of time the child(ren) have been at that address. The terms of any existing court orders concerning the children should be explained in the same sections where the information on the children is listed and a copy of the order should be attached to the divorce petition when it is filed. If there is no court order, but the parents have an informal agreement on these matters, that information may be listed in this section.

DivorceWriter documents may be downloaded in Microsoft Word and self-customized as needed. DivorceWriter cannot assist you with document customization.
I received a notice that the Judge wants me to file a child support calculation sheet. Where can I get one? Generally, the Court will not expect to see written child support calculations. However, if you have been notified that your Judge wants you to file a document with child support calculations, you may create that document here.
Can I change custody from joint to sole on my California documents? Yes. On the Petition (FL-100), 7a and 7b ask about legal and physical custody. On the Marital Settlement Agreement, the portion of section C that begins with the sentence "child custody and visitation rights of each party are set forth as follows," contains custody, visitation and parenting time options, which can be self-customized. To make changes to your custody and/or visitation options on the applicable documents, your documents may be downloaded in Microsoft Word and self-customized as needed.
What if my spouse and I have agreed that spouse will be paid directly rather than with a wage garnishment? In every case involving child support in California, the court will issue a Withholding Order (FL-195). D.4 of the Settlement Agreement contains language indicating that a mandatory Wage Assignment Order (income withholding) will be issued. This method is preferred by courts and many spouses because it creates a clear, undisputable record of child support payments. However, in cases where the Local Child Support Agency (LCSA) is not involved in the case and both spouses have agreed to include language in the Settlement Agreement stating that the obligor (spouse paying support) will make payments directly to the obligee (spouse receiving support), the court may ask the LCSA to stay, or put a hold on, the Withholding Order (FL-195) until a spouse requests that it be activated or until an arrearage accrues.

If you would like to make changes to your document, please note that it may be downloaded in Microsoft Word and self-customized as needed. If you have additional questions concerning child support or wage withholding, please contact an attorney.
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DEBTS AND PROPERTY
Can we customize our documents to fit our plans for our real estate? The DivorceWriter online interview allows customers to list not only the street address, city, and zip code of the property, but also provides space to include the legal description of the property located on the deed, if desired. Additionally, spouses who have agreed that one spouse will receive a one-time set dollar amount as compensation for surrendering rights to, or for the sale of, a piece of property may choose to enter that information in the Property Division Section.

The self-prepared DivorceWriter does NOT include quit claim deeds. Customers should consult with an attorney to discuss the requirements for completing a transfer of real estate. Additionally, customers should consult with an attorney, accountant, and any other professional necessary to determine any tax consequences or other legal consequences of transferring real estate.
We want to transfer real estate into only one spouse's name. Do we need a Quit Claim Deed? Generally, if you want to transfer jointly held real estate into the name of only one spouse, or if one spouse has real estate that is being transferred into the name of the other spouse, you will need to execute a Quit Claim Deed. Then, the Quit Claim Deed is filed, or recorded, with the County Clerk (Parish Clerk) or Register of Deeds.

DivorceWriter does not provide Quit Claim Deeds. However, you may purchase a Quit Claim Deed at TotalLegal.com.
Will we have the option to divide one or more retirement plans? The DivorceWriter online interview allows spouses who have agreed to split one or more retirement plans to indicate the exact percentage that each spouse will receive of the retirement plan.

DivorceWriter cannot provide legal advice and cannot provide you with a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Contact an attorney and/or the retirement plan administrator for assistance in drafting a QDRO.
Can we divide one or more retirement plans? The DivorceWriter online interview allows spouses who have agreed to split one or more retirement plans to indicate the exact percentage that each spouse will receive of the retirement plan.

DivorceWriter cannot provide legal advice and cannot provide you with a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Contact an attorney and/or the retirement plan administrator for assistance in drafting a QDRO.
Can we divide/list as many items of personal property as we want? Choose to list all, some, or no property. The customer decides which property, if any, to list, although some courts require that at least real estate, vehicles, retirement accounts, property with titles, and/or other valuable property be listed. Spouses who have agreed to split one or more pieces of personal property can make a new entry for each spouse for each item to be divided, and then indicate the exact percentage that each spouse will receive.
Can we divide as many items of personal property as we want? Choose to list all, some, or no property. The customer decides which property, if any, to list, although some courts require that at least real estate, vehicles, retirement accounts, property with titles, and/or other valuable property be listed.
Can we divide/list as many debts as we want? Choose to list all, some, or no debts. The customer decides which debts, if any, to list, although some courts require debts related to real estate, vehicles, property with titles, and/or other valuable property to be listed as well as joint debts.
Do I need to list the legal description of my real estate? It is generally sufficient to just list the physical address of the property (street, city, state, zip), but some Courts also require legal description, which can be found on the deed and/or mortgage documents. If you are not sure, you may wish to provide the legal description as well.

As an example, you may enter your physical street address and then the legal description in the text box next to "Address and description of property as it appears on deed" in the following format: 123 Apple Lane, Anytown, NY 88888; Legal Description: [Enter the complete legal description exactly as it appears on your deed and/or mortgage documents].
Do DivorceWriter documents accommodate the splitting of one or more items/pieces or property between two spouses? The DivorceWriter online interview allows spouses who have agreed to split one or more items/pieces of property to make a new property entry for each spouse for each item to be divided, and then indicate the exact percentage that each spouse will receive.

DivorceWriter cannot provide legal advice. Contact an attorney regarding potential tax consequences of transferring property.
Can I receive a portion of my spouse's retirement plan even though his/her retirement is several years away? The most common way for one spouse to secure the right to a portion of the other spouse's retirement plan upon his/her retirement is through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO. To obtain a QDRO, contact your spouse's human resources or personnel office who will be able to put you in contact with the retirement plan administrator. Commonly, the plan administrator will provide you with a standard QDRO to complete and file with the Court.

DivorceWriter cannot provide you with a QDRO. Contact an attorney and/or the retirement plan administrator for assistance in drafting a QDRO.
We are each going to be liable for a percentage of one or more of our debts. How do we enter the information? If you are each going to be responsible for a percentage of a debt, make one entry for each spouse for each individual debt to be divided and indicate the percentage of responsibility for each spouse. Many judges will reject settlement agreements that do not contain the last four digits of an account number so you may wish to enter that information here as well.
When can I record the quit claim deed my spouse signed? One spouse may choose to sign a quit claim deed transferring his or her interest in the marital home or other real estate to the other spouse before, during or after the divorce has been finalized. Once a deed has been properly executed, it may be filed/recorded at the appropriate county office at any time. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, you may wish to speak to an attorney in your state.
My spouse and I listed no property or debts in the online interview. Why is 13(b) checked on FL-800 instead of 13(a)? All California DivorceWriter document packages come with a Marital Settlement Agreement that sets forth several important terms of the divorce. Because a Marital Settlement Agreement is filed, 13(b) is marked on FL-800, indicating that the parties have signed an agreement listing and dividing all our community assets and liabilities. However, if the parties do not have any community assets or liabilities, that portion of the Marital Settlement Agreement will be blank.
What is the "legal description" of a piece of real estate? The legal description is usually a one to two paragraph description of land that includes metes and bounds, lot number and/or block number in order to describe the exact legal boundaries of a piece of real estate. The legal description is not the same as the physical address of the property.

The legal description can be found on the deed to the property. The county clerk or recorder in the county where the property is located will be able to provide a copy of the legal description if you do not have a copy of the deed. In addition, often the property tax statement will list the legal description although you should note that the legal description is not the same as the tax or parcel ID number.
What is the "legal description" of a piece of real estate? The legal description, also referred to as the property description, is usually a one to two paragraph description of land that includes metes and bounds, lot number and/or block number in order to describe the exact legal boundaries of a piece of real estate. The legal description is not the same as the physical address of the property.

The legal description can be found on the deed to the property. The county clerk or recorder in the county where the property is located will be able to provide a copy of the legal description if you do not have a copy of the deed. In addition, often the property tax statement will list the property description as well as the accessor parcel number, or APN.
What if I don't know if I have debts to list? If you aren't sure whether you need to list any debts, select "yes" so that you have an opportunity to reconsider this decision in the "Additional Details" portion of the interview.
What if I don't know if I have property to list? If you aren't sure whether you need to list any property, select "yes" so that you have an opportunity to reconsider this decision in the "Additional Details" portion of the interview.
Why do my DivorceWriter documents say that we do not have life insurance or other property that we actually do have? Some states require divorcing spouses to provide information on several different types of property. If the interview did not request information on such property, such as life insurance, certain documents may indicate that the spouses do not have that type of property.

If you have received documents that indicate that you and your spouse do not have a particular type of that you actually have, you may e-mail your documents to yourself and then enter any applicable identifying information about the property in the space provided. With life insurance, for example, the Court generally will want know which spouse is the policy holder, the name of the insurance company, the policy number, the type of policy, any cash value, and any terms concerning the payment of premiums.

To e-mail your documents to yourself, log into your account at www.divorcewriter.com/Home_Login.asp. Then, on the review page of the interview under "Printing and Shipping Status," click on "E-mail Me a Copy of My Divorce Documents." Then, customize as needed and print.
Do we have to list the debts we have agreed to divide? About 30% of DivorceWriter customers list debts. The debts listed will appear on the settlement agreement that is included with your DivorceWriter document package. If no debts are listed, the settlement agreement will indicate that there are no debts to be divided.

The customer decides which debts, if any, to list, although Courts commonly expect debts related to real estate, vehicles, property with titles, and/or other valuable property to be listed as well as joint debts.
What if I don't know if I have property to list? If you need to add or remove property after receiving your documents, you have three options:
  1. Log into your account at www.divorcewriter.com/Home_Login.asp. Make the desired changes to your online interview responses. Then, on the review page of the interview under "Printing and Shipping Status," click on "E-mail Me a Copy of My Divorce Documents."
  2. E-mail your documents to yourself. Then, customize as needed and print.
  3. In the alternative, if you would like to have a hard copy of your documents shipped to you, contact customer service at info@divorcewriter.com.
What if I don't know if I have debts to list? If you need to add or remove debts after receiving your documents, you have three options:
  1. Log into your account at www.divorcewriter.com/Home_Login.asp. Make the desired changes to your online interview responses. Then, on the review page of the interview under "Printing and Shipping Status," click on "E-mail Me a Copy of My Divorce Documents."
  2. E-mail your documents to yourself. Then, customize as needed and print.
  3. In the alternative, if you would like to have a hard copy of your documents shipped to you, contact customer service at info@divorcewriter.com.
Do we have to list the property we've agreed to divide? About 50% of DivorceWriter customers list property in the online interview. The property listed will appear on the settlement agreement that is included with your DivorceWriter document package. If no property is listed, the settlement agreement will indicate that there is no property to be divided.
Do we have to list the items of property we've agreed to divide? About 50% of DivorceWriter customers choose to list one or more items of property.
Do we have to list the debts we've agreed to divide? About 30% of DivorceWriter customers choose to list one or more debts.
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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
What if one spouse is in the military? If both parties are willing to sign the papers, ending your marriage when a spouse is in the military is generally much like a regular dissolution or divorce, although there may be as many as three possible jurisdictions where the dissolution or divorce can be filed:
  • The legal residence of the military member
  • The legal residence of the spouse
  • The state where the servicemember is stationed

Typically, either you or your spouse must reside in California or be stationed there in order to file for dissolution or divorce there. For additional information on residency requirements, the servicemember may wish to contact his or her local JAG office.
What if one spouse is living in a foreign country? If your spouse is able to receive documents in the mail and is willing to sign and return the necessary documents to you, his or her being outside of the U.S. should not be a barrier to you filing for and obtaining a divorce in California.

For any documents requiring the notarized signature of a spouse living in a foreign country, consular officials at any U.S. embassy or consulate abroad can provide a service similar to the functions of a notary public in the United States.

If you need to enter a foreign address it is possible. When completing the DivorceWriter online interview, leave the state field as "state" and enter the city and country in the city field, such as "Toronto, Canada."
What if I have an out of state driver's license or no license at all? If the spouse who files for divorce does not have a valid in-state driver's license, it may pose a problem if the Clerk requires one in order to prove that at least one spouse meets the residency requirements for filing for divorce. However, most Court Clerks do not require any form of identification when you file for divorce. If you have any additional questions concerning the identification requirements when filing for divorce, contact the Court Clerk.

Note: A Notary Public will almost always require some form of picture identification in order to notarize a signature.
I am not sure my marriage was legal. Do I even need a divorce? DivorceWriter is for people who want to end their marriages. If you have any questions regarding the validity of your marriage, you may need to contact a lawyer.
What if my spouse and I don't live in the state shown on this page? If you and your spouse live in a different state than the one that is shown on this page, click the "State" box to the left to see whether DivorceWriter supports the state where you live.

If you and/or your spouse recently left the state shown on this page OR only one of you lives in this state, click the orange button to the left to review the residency requirements for this state.
What if my spouse is in the military? Either you or your spouse must meet the residency requirements in a given state or be stationed there in order to file for divorce in that state. If both parties are willing to sign the papers, ending your marriage when a spouse is in the military is much like a regular divorce.
My spouse is currently incarcerated. What address do I use? You may use the address at the facility where your spouse is currently incarcerated. DivorceWriter documents must be signed by both husband and wife. As long as your spouse is capable of receiving documents and signing them in front of a notary public, if required in your state, you can use DivorceWriter.
My spouse is currently incarcerated. What address do I use? You may use the address at the facility where your spouse is currently incarcerated. DivorceWriter documents must be signed by both husband and wife. As long as your spouse is capable of receiving documents and signing them in front of a notary public, if required in your state, you can use DivorceWriter.
What if my spouse is unwilling to sign the divorce documents? DivorceWriter is a self-help divorce product for people who have reached an agreement on all issues, including division of property and debts as well as matters concerning any children they may have, and who are both willing to sign documents to end their marriage. If you and your spouse are still disputing any matters, or if you think your spouse may refuse to sign the necessary documents, do not use DivorceWriter.

If, after filing for divorce, your spouse becomes uncooperative or unwilling to sign the final documents, you should contact an attorney immediately.
How do we get documents notarized in a foreign country? The meaning of the term "notary" varies widely from country to country. To find a Notary Public outside of the U.S. who performs the type of notarization customarily performed by a Notary Public in the U.S., contact a consular official at any U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.
I can't find my spouse. Can I still use DivorceWriter? DivorceWriter is designed for couples who have reached an agreement on all issues and who are both willing and able to sign divorce papers. You cannot use DivorceWriter if you are unable to locate your spouse and should instead contact an attorney licensed to practice law in your state.
I received my DivorceWriter package today, but I'm not sure I want to file for divorce right away. How how long are these papers good for? Unsigned divorce documents do not have an expiration date per se. Applicable time periods begin to run on signed documents once the divorce is filed.

However, it is possible that changes in the law could occur at some point that might affect one or more documents or divorce filing procedures. If you decide to wait to file your documents for a significant period of time and are concerned that you may no longer have the most recent version we offer, DivorceWriter will provide you with another set at no additional charge.
My spouse is currently incarcerated. Can we still use DivorceWriter? DivorceWriter documents must be signed by both husband and wife. As long as your spouse is capable of receiving documents and signing them in front of a notary public, if required in your state, you can use DivorceWriter.
How do I end a civil union or domestic partnership? When recognized in the state, civil unions and/or domestic partnerships can be entered into by any couple regardless of gender. While they commonly convey many legal rights that are similar to those conveyed through marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships are not created or ended in the same way that marriages are. With very limited exceptions, divorce forms cannot be used to dissolve civil unions and domestic partnerships. DivorceWriter does not currently offer forms for dissolving civil unions and domestic partnerships.

States that allow civil unions or domestic partnerships often offer forms to dissolve them on their state or county court websites.
Does DivorceWriter provide gender-neutral documents for divorce in states where same-sex marriage is not specifically legalized, but is recognized when performed in another state? DivorceWriter's current policy is to gender-neutralize our online interview and documents once a state enacts legislation specifically legalizing same-sex marriage. However, most DivorceWriter forms can be downloaded in Microsoft Word and self-customized to contain gender-neutral terms. Additionally, most couples filing for divorce in states recognizing same-sex divorce do not encounter problems filing forms containing non gender-neutral terms such as "Husband" and "Wife" and "Mother" and "Father."
Which states allow same-sex divorce? Same-sex couples who live in the following states may seek a divorce there regardless of where they were married: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,Vermont, Washington and also Washington, D.C.

Additionally, the following states will grant divorces to same-sex couples who married there and now reside in a state that does not recognize same sex marriage: California, Delaware, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, and Vermont.
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Where can I find the full-text version of the California Family Code online? Click here to view the California Code in its entirety. Division 6, part 3 is the beginning of the dissolution of marriage section. Division 7 involves division of property. Divisions 8 covers custody of children. Division 9 covers spousal support and child support.
Where can I find additional help? Additional help is available. Click here to find legal help from the American Bar Association. The ABA can help you find an attorney licensed to practice law in your state.
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