A divorce petition is a document that is filed with a court which starts your divorce proceeding. The divorce petition is a legal document filed in court by a spouse who seeks a divorce. Also called the “complaint” in some states, the petition informs the court of the filing spouse’s (called the “petitioner”) desire to end the marriage. The filing of the petition with the court signifies the initiation of the divorce process. Once the divorce petition has been “served” on the petitioner’s spouse, it also notifies them that the divorce process has begun.
Requires in California
To file for divorce of a marriage in California you must file a petition. To qualify for the filing of a divorce, either you or your spouse must have lived in California for 6 months prior to the date of filing and in the county where you are filing your case for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing. If you do not meet these requirements, you can file for legal separation, then file an amended California divorce petition in the county in which you live once their residency requirements are met.
The Effect of Filing
The filing of a California divorce petition begins your divorce proceeding after which you must address any other issues which may be affected by your divorce, such as: child custody, child support, spousal support, division of community property, and attorney fees.
Contents of the Petition
The petition contains the following information:
- Identification of the spouses by name and address;
- Date and place of marriage;
- Date of separation;
- Duration of marriage;
- Identification of children of the marriage;
- Acknowledgment that the petitioner and/or his or her spouse have lived in the state or county for a certain amount of time prior to filing the petition;
- Grounds for divorce;
- Declaration or request as to how the petitioner would like to settle finances, property division, child custody, visitation, and other issues related to divorce.
California Divorce Petition
Click on the following link to download a free copy of a California Divorce Petition that is used in all California courts.
File Download (PDF File): fl100 – marriage petition
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