Our 3StepDivorceTM Online Divorce for California is offered with a peace-of-mind 100% guarantee.
We offer a 100% guarantee that the documents provided will be accepted by the California courts to finalize your divorce.
In the event that the documents provided are not accepted by the California court due to the fault of 3StepDivorceTM, you will be provided a 100% refund (with no handling fee).
Our support staff will always give each individual customer personal attention should they have difficulty. We have both e-mail and phone support. This being said, prior to issuing a refund, we reserve the right to meet any courts requests regarding changes to the documents.
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)
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. In California there is a mandatory 6 month period from the filing date before a divorce can be finalized.
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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A total of 53 people have started their divorce through 3StepDivorceTM in the last 24 hours and 866 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 3StepDivorce TM 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 online, learn more about getting your Separation Agreement or learn more about the basics of divorce in California .
Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming. Like starting almost any other legal proceeding, it takes finding the right forms, filling out the forms properly, and understanding the court’s requirements for the next steps you’ll need to take.
Traditionally, most people have hired a lawyer to take care of all the legal matters in their divorce. But more and more couples are turning to a much cheaper option that’s still easier than figuring out everything on their own: filing for divorce online.
If you want to know more, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about online divorce in California.
California 3StepDivorce™ takes care of the divorce paperwork for you. Once you sign up for the service, you’ll answer some questions about your situation. Based on your responses to the questionnaire, California 3StepDivorce™ will fill out the forms the state requires to start the divorce process, along with instructions for adding any further information that’s needed. You’ll be able to print out the forms yourself immediately or, if you prefer, get hard copies by mail.
To get a divorce (or “dissolution of marriage”) in California, you must meet the state’s residency requirements. In the period just before you file for divorce, either you or your spouse must have lived:
(Cal. Fam. Code § 2320(a) (2022).)
Many California residents can file for divorce and get through the process without the expense of hiring a lawyer if they’re filing for an uncontested divorce in the state. That means that they’ve agreed with each other about all of the legal issues in their divorce, including:
If you still have disagreements with your spouse about these or any other issues involved in ending your marriage, you’ll have to file for a traditional, contested divorce. Because that will involve legal battles and presenting evidence and arguments at court hearings, it would be risky to pursue a contested divorce without a lawyer to navigate the process for you—especially if your spouse has an attorney.
You may use California 3StepDivorce™ as long as you have an uncontested divorce and meet the state’s residency requirement. You’ll need to have a written marital settlement agreement, signed by both you and your spouse, that covers all of the issues in your divorce. California 3StepDivorce™ will guide you through the process of creating this agreement, based on your answers to the questionnaire.
California 3StepDivorce™ can also help if you aren’t ready to file for divorce, but you want a separation agreement with your spouse. For instance, you might want to work out arrangements for support, custody of your children, who has to move out of the family home, and how to take care of the bills while you’re separated but still legally married.
Just because you haven’t been able to agree with your spouse about everything in your divorce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming contested divorce. You could try divorce mediation. If you’re able to resolve your disagreements with the mediator’s help, you can then use California 3StepDivorce™ to prepare the written settlement agreement, along with the other divorce paperwork.
Generally, you can use California 3StepDivorce™ even when you have minor children with your spouse, as long as you agree on all of the issues related to your kids, including legal and physical custody, a parenting (visitation) schedule, child support, health and dental insurance, and tax deductions. California 3StepDivorce™ will allow you to address these issues in your settlement agreement. We provide a standard parenting schedule, but you’ll have an option of customizing the schedule to meet your individual needs.
However, you won’t be able to address custody-related issues with California 3StepDivorce™ if the affected child or children don’t meet the “home state” requirement. Usually, that means the child must have lived in California with a parent (or a parent figure) during the entire six-month period before you file for divorce (or since birth if the child is younger than six months old). If you don’t meet the six-month rule, you should speak with an attorney to find out whether you might qualify for one of the complicated exceptions to this rule. (Cal. Fam. Code §§ 3402(g), 3421 (2022).)
In California, both parents have an obligation to support their children. And like all states, California has a child support guideline for calculating how much support the parents should pay, based largely on their incomes and custody arrangements.
3StepDivorce™ provides worksheets for calculating the guideline level of support. You and your spouse may agree to an amount of child support that differs from what it would be under the guideline, but the judge will need to review and approve your agreement. If you’ve agreed on a level of support below the guideline amount, the judge won’t approve your agreement unless you declare that:
(Cal. Fam. Code §§ 4055, 4065 (2022).)
In your settlement agreement, you and your spouse may include child support provisions that aren’t legally required, such as a parent’s contributions to private school tuition or the cost of a child’s college education. You may also agree on some specific questions like which parent will claim the children as dependents on tax returns.
After your divorce in California is final, you (or your spouse) may request a change in the amount of child support. You’ll need to show that your circumstances have changed since the time of the previous support order—unless that order was based on your agreement for a level of support that was below the guideline amount. (Cal. Fam. Code §§ 3651, 4065(d) (2022).) The judge will review your request based on the same legal requirements for an original child support order.
If you want to save the time and expense of a court battle over a request to modify child support, you and your spouse may agree to a modification on your own. However, you’ll need to submit your agreement to a judge for review, so that it can be made part of a court order.
The California Courts provide detailed information on how to ask for a change in child support. You can also contact the court’s Family Law Facilitator in your county for free help with requesting a modification.
When you fill out your questionnaire for California 3StepDivorce™, you’ll answer a series of questions about your separate and marital property and debts, including how you’ll divide your marital property and allocate responsibility for payment of the marital debts.
If you own a home with your spouse, your agreement can spell out what will happen to it when you get divorced. Here again, the questionnaire will include a few questions about the property and how you’ve chosen to deal with it, such as:
In your California 3StepDivorce™, you may also agree on whether and how you’ll divide any retirement accounts that you and your spouse have, including 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and defined-benefit pensions.
If you started contributing to the retirement plan before you were married, you’ll start by figuring out how much of its current value is marital property and how much is your separate property. There are experts and firms that will do this for you (for a fee, of course). The service is usually known as a pension appraisal or valuation. You’ll almost always need this kind of expert help when you’re dealing with a defined-benefit pension.
Once you know the marital value of your work-related retirement accounts, the easiest way to handle the division of the assets is not to split them but to transfer other assets as an offset. Here’s how that works: Say you have a 401(k) through your job, and the marital portion of the account is worth $100,000. If you and your spouse agree to divide that portion down the middle, and you have other marital assets to divide (such as a regular savings account), your spouse could receive an extra $50,000 from those assets while you keep the entire 401(k). That way, you don’t have to hire another expert to prepare the kind of special order that’s needed to tell the 401(k) administrator how to divide the account.
The rules are different for IRAs. You may simply agree to have your spouse’s share transferred to another IRA account in that spouse’s name. (You’ll have to submit a special form to the bank, along with a copy of your divorce decree.)
You and your spouse may waive any right to spousal support in your California divorce, or you may agree on the specifics of alimony payments: who will pay, how much, and for how long. Your agreement may also state whether a court could modify alimony at any time in the future, and it could cover related issues like health insurance and life insurance.
When you get your completed forms with California 3StepDivorce™, your next step will be to file the paperwork with the court clerk’s office in the Family Division of the Superior Court in the county where you or your spouse have lived for the past three months.
The court clerk will charge you a fee for filing your initial divorce papers. As of 2022, the filing fee for a dissolution of marriage petition in California was $435, but it’s always subject to change.
If you can't afford the filing fee, you may ask the court to waive the fee. When you fill out the request form, you’ll have to provide detailed information (under penalty of perjury) about your income, property, and expenses. The court clerk will let you know how long it will take for the court to decide if you qualify for a waiver.
Even when you have an uncontested divorce case, California has a mandatory six-month waiting period before your dissolution judgment will be final. The six-month period starts when you’ve served your spouse with the court papers (usually by having a sheriff hand deliver the documents). (Cal. Fam. Code 2339 (2022).) Because this waiting period is relatively long, uncontested divorces usually won’t take longer than six months.
In comparison, contested divorces can take a year or more.
California 3StepDivorce™ provides unlimited, live, person-to-person support for customers. If you have any questions about how uncontested divorce works, call our California Divorce Online Help Center at (888) 665-6782 (toll free), Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (Pacific Time).
Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and so cannot give out legal advice. If you have questions about California law or need legal advice, we recommend that you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.
3StepDivorce TM is a premium online divorce solution, a sister company of Divorce Source, the owner and operator of the Divorce Source Network, the web's largest and most visited online divorce resource since 1997.
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