How to File for Divorce in Sonoma County
To file for divorce in Sonoma County, you or your spouse must have resided in California for the past six months, and one spouse must have lived in Sonoma County for the past three months. Sonoma County has only one courthouse that handles family law matters which is located at 3055 Cleveland Avenue in Santa Rosa.
File for Divorce in Sonoma County
You must complete several forms to file for divorce in Sonoma County. Fillable forms can be found on the Sonoma County website. The forms include detailed instructions on how to fill out and file the forms. The petitioner must file a Petition- Marriage/Domestic Partnership (FL-100) to start the divorce process. This form is fairly basic. The form asks for you to list all assets and debts you believe are separate property and all assets and debts you believe are community property. Unless there are very few assets, this will require you to attach a Property Declaration (FL-160) to the filing. The court also requires a Summons (FL-110) to inform your spouse of you filed for divorce and he/she has 30 days to respond; a Proof of Service (FL- 115) which tells the court you served the papers on your spouse. If you and your spouse have children, the court requires Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (FL-105) which informs the court of the current custody arrangements. There is also an optional form, Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application Attachment (FL-311) that allows you to propose a custody and visitation arrangement.
Sonoma County Family Law Facilitator’s Office
Sonoma County offers an interactive program to assist with filling out the required divorce forms. If you need additional help with beginning your divorce proceeding, the Family Law Facilitator’s Office at the Cleveland Avenue Courthouse offers assistance to people who do not have an attorney.
The Family Law Facilitator’s Office offers walk-in assistance on a first come, first serve basis Mondays through Thursdays from 8:00-11:30 as well as Monday afternoons from 1:00-3:30. Before you seek assistance, the Family Law Facilitator’s offices recommends that you print all of the forms in the filing packets or purchase the packet from the court. You can also call the Facilitator’s office with questions, and they typically respond within 24 hours, but priority will be given to people with specific questions or questions about specific cases. The Family Law Facilitator’s office does not offer legal advice, and anything discussed with the staff is not confidential.
File Divorce Forms in Sonoma County
Once the forms are filled out correctly, they are ready to be filed. There is a $435 filing fee, which may be waived. Court documents can be filed in person at the Family Law Clerk’s Office. The court prefers forms to be filled out electronically, but will accept forms filled out in blue or black ink as long as they are legible. Once the divorce is filed, it will take a minimum of six months before the divorce can be finalized, but may take longer depending on the complexity of the issues and the contentiousness of the couple.
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