How to File for Divorce in Imperial County
Sadly, not every marriage lasts forever and you may find that you need to file for divorce in Imperial County. Read on for a quick overview on how to file for divorce as a California resident. Contact us for more information about our flat fee uncontested divorce legal services.
California Divorce Residency Requirements
You must meet specific residency requirements to file for divorce in Imperial County. For example, you or your spouse must have lived in California for the past 6 months, and your or your spouse must have lived in Imperial County for the past 3 months before filling. You can file for legal separation if you do not meet the residency requirements. Amend your divorce petition once you satisfy the residency requirements.
File for Divorce in Imperial County
To begin a divorce proceeding in Imperial County, you must complete several forms which can be found at the California Judicial Branch web page. Complete the Petition- Marriage/ Domestic Partnership (FL-100) to start the process. This form asks for basic details about both spouses and the marriage. The form also asks you to list all assets and debts, and which ones you believe are community property. There is not much space to list assets on this form, so you may need a supplemental Property Declaration (FL-160). If you and your spouse have minor children, then you must complete a Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (FL-105) to inform the court on your current custody situation. If you wish, you can propose a custody arrangement using a Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application Attachment (FL-311). The court also requires a Summons (FL-110).
The initial divorce forms can be overwhelming. If you need assistance with divorce, child support, or spousal support and do not have an attorney, the access center located at the El Centro courthouse can help. The access center offers legal information and resources through workshops, which require an appointment, and walk-in help on a first come, first serve basis. Walk-in help is available Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 to 4:00. Divorce workshops are available on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8:00, 8:30, 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30, and 3:00. Appointments for the divorce workshops can be made in person or through the online reservation system. The access center only offers legal information, not legal advice. Assistance is available in both English and Spanish. Children under the age of 18 are not allowed in the access center.
Imperial County Superior Courthouse Locations
Once the forms are filled out, you can file for divorce. There are three courthouse locations in Imperial county, but only the location at 939 W. Main Street in El Centro offers family law services. Forms are filed at the Clerk’s Office can be filed by mail, in person, or at the drop box located at the courthouse. There is a $435 filing fee, which can be waived if income requirements are met. Once the forms are filed, you must serve the filed forms on your spouse. Anyone over the age of 18 who is not a party to the case may serve your spouse. After you spouse has been served, you must file a Proof of Service (FL- 115). Your spouse will have 30 days to respond.
Within 60 of filing for divorce, you must file a Preliminary Financial Disclosure. This step is mandatory- a judge will not finalize a divorce without one. The Preliminary Financial Disclosure that identifies assets, debts, and income. Divorce cases also require a Final Financial Disclosure, which included the appraised value of all assets and identifies which assets are community property and which assets are separate property, but if the spouses agree on the terms, this requirement can be waived. Once both spouses have completed their financial disclosures, they can begin negotiating the divorce settlement. The spouses can negotiate the terms of their divorce with their attorneys, or they can use a mediator or arbitrator to assist them.
If the spouses come to an agreement on their own about the terms of the divorce, they can submit a settlement to the court. If a judge signs off on the settlement, then the spouses are divorced. Even if the spouses are in agreement on all of the terms, it is a minimum of 6 months from the date the non-filing spouse was served before the divorce can be finalized. If the spouses cannot agree on the terms, then the case will need to go to trial, where a judge will decide the terms of the divorce.
San Diego Esquire Online Divorce Course
San Diego Esquire has a California Online Divorce Course that provides detailed video instructions on how to start and finish a California divorce. Sign up on our website today to get started.