Step 1: File a petition
Filing a petition with the court is the way to begin your divorce process. You’ll have to pay a $435 filing fee in order to have your petition filed. If you need to hire an attorney as well, you will be paying a fee separate from this filing fee.
Step 2: Serve the petition on your spouse
After the petition has been filed, it will be served on your spouse while a proof of service is filed with the court. For Californian courts, there is a minimum wait time of six months before a divorce can be finalized. The beginning of this six-month period begins once your spouse has been served.
The petition is typically served by a process server who will personally hand the documents to your spouse. If your spouse is cooperating, the paperwork can actually be sent along with a document they sign that says that your souse did receive the papers.
Step 3: Exchanging all financial disclosures
During your divorcing process, the two of you will exchange financial discloses. To be brief, this process will include two forms. One will list your separate incomes and expenses while the other will list any property, assets, and debts you have. This includes both community property (it was obtained during the marriage) and separate property (it was obtained before the marriage).
This is typically the longest step in the process because it can take a long time for you to find all the necessary financial documents and have the forms filed afterwards.