How to File for Divorce in Orange County

If you wish to file for divorce and begin the process of dissolving your marriage in Orange County, California, there are specific steps you need to take. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the legal process while also dealing with the emotional toll of getting divorced, contact a divorce attorney at Boyd Law for assistance.

Meet the Residency Requirements

First, you must meet California’s residency requirement for divorcing couples. This requirement states that one of the parties involved in a divorce petition must have lived in the State of California for at least six months prior to filing. In addition, one of the parties must have lived in Orange County for at least three months to file for divorce in this county.

Prepare the Divorce Petition and Other Form

If you meet the residency requirements or qualify for an exception, the next step is preparing and filing the required paperwork. This includes the main document: Form FL-100, the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage.

Individuals in California no longer have to prove fault to get divorced. California is a no-fault divorce date, meaning a petitioner can cite “irreconcilable differences” as a reason for the dissolution of marriage.

Other forms you may need to file include the Summons (Form FL-110), party identification and notice of related case(s) (Form L1120), various financial disclosure forms, and – if there are children involved – the child custody and visitation application attachment (Form FL-311).

File the Forms in Orange County

To get divorced in Orange County, these forms must be filed at the Lamoreaux Justice Center, located at 341 The City Drive South, Orange, CA 92868. The courthouse phone number for general information is (657) 622-8457. You will need to pay a filing fee of $435 to $450 to file for divorce unless you qualify for a fee waiver. The courthouse requires the original documents, plus two additional copies to be filed with the family law clerk.

Serve Your Spouse and Wait for a Response

The certified copy of the processed documents, which will be given to you by the court clerk upon payment of the filing fee, must be delivered to your spouse. This must be done in person, but you cannot be the person serving your spouse. The deliverer can be anyone else, as long as he or she is at least 18 years old. This person must note the date and time of the serving and the address where they delivered the documents so that a proof of service of summons can be filed with the divorce court.

Enter Into Divorce Settlement Negotiations With an Attorney

Once the paperwork has been served, your spouse will have the opportunity to respond within 30 days if he or she does not agree with your requested terms for property division, child custody and visitation, child support, or alimony. If your spouse does not respond, the petition can proceed to court and the matter will be decided by a judge without your spouse’s input.

If your spouse does respond, you will enter into divorce settlement negotiations. This may involve alternative dispute resolutions, such as mediation and arbitration. At this stage, if you have not already hired a lawyer, consider doing so to represent you during negotiations. An experienced Orange County divorce attorney can protect your rights and help you work toward a compromise to avoid going to court.

Attend Divorce Court for a Judgment

If you and your spouse cannot reach a settlement, you will have a contested divorce case that may have to go to court. In this situation, an experienced divorce lawyer in Orange County can be invaluable as your legal representative during litigation. For more information about how to file for divorce in Orange County, contact Boyd Law. We offer free case consultations.