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California Divorce Form FL-100 Petition for Dissolution of Marriage Instructions

In this lesson you will learn how to complete FL-100,  Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Domestic Partnership. The fictional family, the “Richardsons’,” will be used as an example throughout this course. If you are the petitioner, you will check similar boxes as William Richardson. If you are the respondent, you may select the same options as Kelly Richardson. The boxes you select will depend on your particular matter.

The sample below demonstrates how William Richardson, the petitioner (spouse filling for divorce), inserted his personal information into the header section of this form.  In the header section of the form, insert your personal information. List your first and last name in the first box. On the next line, insert your street address. Insert the city of your residence and provide a telephone number for you to be reached. Providing a fax number and email address is optional but should be included if you have either one. Because you are representing yourself, in the “Attorney For” field, insert “Petitioner Pro Per” or “Petitioner Pro Se.” (Note, in I interchangeably use either on the forms in subsequent lessons; however, use Petitioner Pro Se for best practice.)  The respondent will insert “Respondent Pro Se” on his/her forms.

In the next box, William  must list the court name and address in which his matter will be heard. Since William resides in central San Diego, he will fill his petition with the Family Court-Central Division located at 1100 Union St, San Diego, CA 92101.  The petition to divorce must be filed in the superior court of the county where you reside. Contact us if you are unsure as to which court to file your documents in. The filing fee for a divorce in San Diego is $435. The filling fee is most likely the same amount in the county in which you will file for divorce. You will be provided with a case number once your documents are filed with the court clerk. This case number must be inserted on subsequent documents provided to the petitioner. The respondent will insert this case number on FL 120, the response to dissolution. This case number will also be included on all divorce forms.
FL 100 Court Information Instructions

Since William is seeking a divorce from Kelly, in the “Petition For” field, he will select “Dissolution of” and check “Marriage.”  Next, you must provide information regarding your legal relationship, demonstrate that you meet California residency requirements for divorce, and provide statistical facts about your marriage. In our sample, William is married to the Respondent, Kelly. William has resided in California for the past fifteen years. William and Kelly wed on December 25, 2000. The parties separated on November 25, 2016. The date of marriage to the date of separation is fifteen years and eleven months.

If  you and the petitioner do not have minor children select 4a. If  you and the petitioner have minor children, select 4b. Insert each minor child’s name, birth date, age and sex. William and Kelly have a minor daughter named Rose Richardson.

On the next page, William must address the legal grounds in which he is filing for divorce. There are only two legal grounds in which a party can divorce in California: irreconcilable differences or permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. William and Kelly are divorcing because of irreconcilable differences.

Next, you must choose whether you would like sole or joint legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to which parent gets to make decisions regarding where a child lives, attends school, practices religious activities, and the medical care he/she receives. Physical custody refers to where the child will lives. In my example, William wants joint legal custody with Kelly and sole physical custody of  Rose. He wishes Kelly to have visitation rights.

(*select FL 311 if you want to request a custody arrangement; see the lesson on how to complete FL 311 for more information).

The child support field can be left blank. Whenever a party files for divorce with minor children, child support will apply. Neither party can waive child support. The matter can be reserved and readdressed at a later time. Child support must be paid until a child turns 18-years-old.

The court may grant spousal support depending on many factors. In this example, William wants spousal support and wants to terminate the ability of the court to grant Kelly spousal support. You may waive your right to spousal support and mark box c for the court to address the issue in the future.

In the next section, you must address any separate property you want to keep post-divorce. In our example, William requests that all assets acquired before marriage and after separation be confirmed as his separate property. Separate property cannot be divided in a divorce, only community property.

Depending on the length of your marriage, you may have an extensive amount of community and quasi community property.  It is best to work out an agreement on the division of property outside of court. In our example, William believes he can reach an agreement with Kelly.

Since William is representing himself, he will not be seeking attorney fees.

Read the restraining orders on the back of the summons prior to providing a signature on FL-100.

Print out a blank form FL 120 Response  to serve on the respondent. This form must be served along with the petition and summons. This concludes this lesson. Remember, the information above is presented for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Contact us if you have any questions about completing Fl-100.

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