How to begin a Dissolution, Legal Separation or Nullity Case
A Dissolution (commonly known as a divorce), Legal Separation , or Nullity case begins with the filing of a Petition and Summons. The Self-Help Center offers a clinic to assist with the filing of those beginning documents and the property and financial disclosures that you are required to file during the beginning stages of this case.
The Beginning Dissolution clinic is the class to attend if you would like assistance starting your case.
After You File
You will need to have the other party served and file the proof of service with the court.
When you file your case you are given a status conference date, located on the “Status Conference Minute Order.” That date is a check on the progress of your case. Attend court on that date unless you have a judgment in your case. Your case will be reviewed and you will receive important information about the next step in getting your case to Judgment.
Finishing Your Case
You are not divorced until you receive a judgment signed by the judge.
If an answer is filed in your case, it will need to be resolved by agreement or a trial.
Judgment by Agreement
If you and the other party are able to reach an agreement on all issues, a judgment by agreement clinic is available to assist you in getting your agreement into the form of a Judgment for the court to sign. You must pre-register for this clinic and bring your agreement with you.
If the Other Party Files an Answer and You Cannot Agree
If the other party files an answer and you cannot agree, your matter will need to be resolved by a trial. To set your family law matter for trial you will need to complete all of the required financial disclosures and file an “At-Issue.” It is also helpful for the court to know what your position is on each of the issues where there is disagreement. This can be handled on a “Trial Brief” form. Each of these forms can be found at the links below. There are often attachments that must accompany the forms so read the instructions carefully.
- Income and Expense Declaration FL-150
- Property Declaration FL-160
- Declaration of Disclosure FL-140
- At-Issue Memorandum
- Trial Brief
Dissolution by Default
If the other party does not file a response and 30 days have passed, you may be eligible to take their default and get a judgment that matches only what you asked for in your Petition. The “Dissolution by Default” Clinic goes through all of the forms that you need in order to ask the court to enter a judgment in this circumstance. If you do not attend the clinic we will provide only limited assistance in reviewing your forms. Please review the Clinic Calendar for what you should bring with you to this clinic.