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California Divorce Laws
California Residency Requirements
A judgment of dissolution of marriage may not be entered unless one of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of this state for six months and of the county in which the proceeding is filed for three months next preceding the filing of the petition. For the purpose of a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the husband and wife each may have a separate domicile or residence depending upon proof of the fact and not upon legal presumptions. The Dissolution of Marriage is typically filed with in county in which the filing spouse lives. (California Code - Sections: 297, 298, 2320, 2339)
California Divorce Grounds:
Dissolution of the marriage or legal separation of the parties may be based on either of the following grounds, which shall be pleaded generally: (a) Irreconcilable differences, which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage. (California Code - Sections: 2310)
California Property and Debt Division
For the purpose of division of property on dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the parties, property acquired by the parties during marriage in joint form, including property held in tenancy in common, joint tenancy, or tenancy by the entirety, or as community property, is presumed to be community property. This presumption is a presumption affecting the burden of proof and may be rebutted by either of the following: (a) A clear statement in the deed or other documentary evidence of title by which the property is acquired that the property is separate property and not community property. (b) Proof that the parties have made a written agreement that the property is separate property. Where economic circumstances warrant, the court may award an asset of the community estate to one party on such conditions as the court deems proper to effect a substantially equal division of the community estate. As an additional award or offset against existing property, the court may award, from a party's share, the amount the court determines to have been deliberately misappropriated by the party to the exclusion of the interest of the other party in the community estate. Debts incurred by either spouse after the date of separation but before entry of a judgment of dissolution of marriage or legal separation of the parties shall be confirmed as follows: (a) Debts incurred by either spouse for the common necessaries of life of either spouse or the necessaries of life of the children of the marriage for whom support may be ordered, in the absence of a court order or written agreement for support or for the payment of these debts, shall be confirmed to either spouse according to the parties' respective needs and abilities to pay at the time the debt was incurred. (b) Debts incurred by either spouse for non-necessaries of that spouse or children of the marriage for whom support may be ordered shall be confirmed without offset to the spouse who incurred the debt. Debts incurred by either spouse after entry of a judgment of dissolution of marriage but before termination of the parties' marital status or after entry of a judgment of legal separation of the parties shall be confirmed without offset to the spouse who incurred the debt. (California Code - Sections: 2501, 2581, 2601, 2602, 2621, 2623, 2625, 2641)
California Spousal Support, Maintenance, or Alimony:
In ordering spousal support under this part, the court shall consider all of the following circumstances: (a) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account all of the following: (1) The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment. (2) current and future earning capacity (b) The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party. (c) The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party's earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living. (d) the standard of living established during the marriage. (e) The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party. (f) The duration of the marriage. (g) The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party. (h) The age and health condition of the parties. (i) Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, between the parties, including, but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party by the supporting party, and consideration of any history of violence against the supporting party by the supported party. (j) any tax consequences to each party. (k) The balance of the hardships to each party. (l) The goal that the supported party shall be self supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage of long duration as described in Section 4336, a "reasonable period of time" for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. However, nothing in this section is intended to limit the court's discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in this section, Section 4336, and the circumstances of the parties. (m) The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse (n) Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable. (California Code - Sections: 4320, 4324, 4330)
California Custody and Visitation:
In making a determination of the best interest of the child, the court shall, among any other factors it finds relevant, consider all of the following: (1) The health, safety, and welfare of the child. (2) Any history of abuse by one parent or any other person seeking custody against any of the following: (a) Any child to whom he or she is related by blood or affinity or with whom he or she has had a caretaking relationship, no matter how temporary. (b) The other parent. (c) A parent, current spouse, or cohabitant, of the parent or person seeking custody, or a person with whom the parent or person seeking custody has a dating or engagement relationship. (3) The nature and amount of contact with both parents. (4) The habitual or continual illegal use of controlled substances or habitual or continual abuse of alcohol by either parent. (California Code - Sections: 3011, 3020, 3024, 3040, 3042)
California Child Support:
In implementing the statewide uniform guideline, the courts shall adhere to the following principles: (1) A parent's first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children according to the parent's circumstances and station in life. (2) Both parents are mutually responsible for the support of their children. (3) The guideline takes into account each parent's actual income and level of responsibility for the children. (4) Each parent should pay for the support of the children according to his or her ability. (5) The guideline seeks to place the interests of children as the state's top priority. (6) Children should share in the standard of living of both parents. Child support may therefore appropriately improve the standard of living of the custodial household to improve the lives of the children. (7) Child support orders in cases in which both parents have high levels of responsibility for the children should reflect the increased costs of raising the children in two homes and should minimize significant disparities in the children's living standards in the two homes. (8) The financial needs of the children should be met through private financial resources as much as possible. (9) It is presumed that a parent having primary physical responsibility for the children contributes a significant portion of available resources for the support of the children. (10) The guideline seeks to encourage fair and efficient settlements of conflicts between parents and seeks to minimize the need for litigation. (11) The guideline is intended to be presumptively correct in all cases, and only under special circumstances should child support orders fall below the child support mandated by the guideline formula. (12) Child support orders must ensure that children actually receive fair, timely, and sufficient support reflecting the state's high standard of living and high costs of raising children compared to other states. (California Code - Sections: 3024, 3622, 4001, 4050)
California Common Questions
How Do I Know if I Should File in California?
One would typically file for divorce in the state in which he or she or his or her spouse resides. If you have recently moved to a new state and wish to file in that new state, you may have to establish residency prior to filing.
If you are in the military and are stationed on a base outside your residency state, you typically are able to file in that state or in your residency state.
If you are in the military and are stationed overseas, you would typically file in your home residency state.
Can I Use 3StepDivorceTM if I Have Children?
Yes. The system and your documents will address all the issues regarding your children such as, but not limited to; custody arrangements, visitation and time-sharing, child support, and medical coverage.
How Much Are the California Filing and/or Court Fees?
The filing and/or court fees are not included in our fee and typically range from $50.00 to $350.00 in total depending on your location of filing and whether or not you have children. The 3StepDivorce service will typically help you yield the lowest filing fee for you because both you and your spouse are in agreement.
How Long Will the Process Take in California?
The process takes an average of less than 1 hour to answer the required questions and generate the documents. Once you file your documents with the court according the filing procedures, the length of time will vary depending on the number of cases in front of yours. Each court has only one or just a few Judges, Masters, or Referees to review all the pending cases.
Should I File or Should My Spouse File?
As a rule of thumb, for uncontested divorces, the spouse who really wants the divorce to be finalized typically does the filing.
Where and How Do I File My Documents?
The documents are filed at your local county courthouse in the family law or domestic relations division or department. Inside your account you will receive step-by-step filing procedures.
Can I Mail or Fax My Documents to the Clerk?
Many courts do permit you to mail and/or fax the documents. This will vary from county to county and state to state, so it will be best to check with the clerk at the courthouse when you are ready to file.
Do I Have to Go to Court in California?
Depending on your state and your situation, you may or may not have to attend a short hearing. Most of the time when a hearing is required, it only lasts 10-15 minutes and only the filing spouse must attend. The hearing is where you will be granted your divorce and the judge will sign the final judgment or decree.
Do I Have to Also Hire a Lawyer?
3StepDivorce is designed for you to do your own uncontested divorce without hiring a lawyer. You will be acting as your own lawyer and filing for your own divorce. Should you need or desire legal advice or should your divorce become contested, we do suggest you hire the services of a lawyer.
Will My Name Also Be Changed?
The wife has the option to change her name back to her former or maiden name through the 3StepDivorce solution.
When is the Divorce Actually Finalized in California?
The divorce is typically finalized when the Judge signs the final judgment or decree. We give a window of 30-90 days from the filing date, but this will vary due to case load at the courthouse and any mandatory waiting periods.
California Divorce Forms
California Forms: Our question and answer technology will allow you to easily complete your California divorce forms for an uncontested divorce. Our goal is to give you full control and make "doing your own divorce", fast, easy, and affordable.California Divorce Forms List
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All Your Completed California Divorce Forms
Everything in Writing As Suggested by Lawyers & Judges
Easy to Follow Step-by-Step Filing Procedures
Instant Delivery & Editing Without the Wait
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Works With or Without Children
100% Court Approval Guarantee or Your Money Back
Real-Time Customer Ratings and Reviews
A total of 353 people have started their divorce through 3StepDivorceTM in the last 24 hours and 3665 in the last 10 days. The streamlined and user-friendly process, instant document delivery, and unlimited free support makes us the go-to solution to do your own divorce. Our simple and inexpensive process provides you with all your completed divorce papers in as little as 20 minutes. Instantly access your completed divorce forms after a short online interview. It is that easy, no lengthy completion or delivery times.
This easy to use online divorce is a "do it yourself (without a lawyer)" solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that will be filed in the state of California. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are in agreement and eliminates the stress and expense of settling your divorce in court.
With 3StepDivorceTM you can complete and print your California divorce forms (including a marital settlement agreement) instantly. Follow our step-by-step filing procedures to file your own divorce in a timely, professional, and hassle free fashion. The online software is designed to give you full control of your divorce and also avoids the use of third party data entry, thus helping protect your personal information and privacy. If you're not ready to file for divorce in California, learn more about getting your Separation Agreement or learn more about the basics of divorce in California.
3StepDivorceTM is a premium online divorce solution provided by 3 Step Solutions, LLC, a sister company of Divorce Source, Inc., the owner and operator of the Divorce Source Network, the web's largest and most visited online divorce resource since 1997.
|A sister company of Divorce Source with over 750,000 forms processed since 1997.||Have your completed documents within 1 hour (with or without children)||Instantly print your documents (free delivery by US Priority Mail is also available).||Instantly make changes (gives you full control, the way it should be!)||All required divorce documents ready for signing.|
|Step-by-Step filing procedures (who, what, where & when)||Court approval or your money back (100% guaranteed).||Unlimited toll free phone and email product support.||Online Divorce Organizer & 40+ Self-Help Divorce eBooks||Free Online Negotiation Tool (just in case you can't agree!)|