DIY: Legal Marriage Separation in California
- 1). Complete Form FL-100, Petition Marriage. This form initiates your legal separation. You will need to provide important information about your marriage, such as the date of separation, information about your minor children, a list of property and debts, the grounds for your legal separation (irreconcilable differences or incurable insanity), requests for separate maintenance and child custody or child support issues. You must sign and date the petition.
- 2). Complete Form FL-110, Summons. Fill in the name and address of the court and your name, address and telephone number.
- 3). Complete local forms, if applicable. Check with your local court.
- 4). If you and your spouse have minor children, complete Form FL-105/GL-105, Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. You must provide information about the minor children living with you and any child custody orders.
- 5). Make three copies of your forms. You will keep two copies and serve one copy on your spouse.
- 6). File your forms with the court clerk and pay the filing fee. The clerk will keep the originals.
- 7). Serve the forms on your spouse. Service of process may be accomplished by personal service (in-person delivery by a person age 18 or older and not involved in the case) or by mail (a person over age 18 or older and not involved in the case must mail the documents). In addition to the other forms, you must also include a blank Form FL-120, Response-Marriage. If you served your spouse by mail, you must include Form FL-117, Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt-Family Law and a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
- 8). Complete Form FL-115, Proof of Service of Summons and file it with the court. This form requires the server to state when, where and how service of process was accomplished.
- 9). Complete and mail disclosure forms to your spouse to complete you Preliminary Disclosure. These forms include Form FL-140 (Declaration of Disclosure), Form FL-150 (Income and Expense Declaration) or Form FL-155 (Financial Statement), and Form FL-142 (Schedule of Assets and Debts). Disclosure forms require you to inform your spouse of your property, debts, expenses and income. You must verify that you completed and mailed these forms to your spouse by filing Form FL-141, Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure, with the court.
Complete and mail your final Declaration of Disclosure forms. These are updated versions of the forms you completed during the Preliminary Disclosure. It is not necessary to complete these forms if you and your spouse agree to waive this requirement. If you do not agree, you must mail these disclosure forms to your spouse and file Form FL-141 with the court.
If you and your spouse have reached an agreement or your spouse did not file a response to the petition, you may request the court issue a default judgment by filing Form FL-165 (Request to Enter Default). If your spouse filed a response and you have reached an agreement, complete FL-130 (Appearance, Stipulations, and Waivers) with the court. If your spouse filed a response and you have not reached an agreement, you should consult with an attorney.
After the court issues the judgment of your legal separation, serve the Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form FL-190) on your spouse. The process is complete after the court stamps the judge's name on the form.