How to File a Petition in Orange County Family Court
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Filing a petition for divorce, legal separation or for an annulment is a simple yet important task, which many people do incorrectly. Within all jurisdictions in California, there is a mandatory form, FL-100, which must be used by every person filing for divorce. The form is only two pages long, but is extremely important. If there are any mistakes on the form it may take one or more court hearings to address the problem, at best, or at worst the petitioner may be barred from seeking some kind of relief in their case. The petition is a general form with general requests, where the petitioner details what they are requesting as their best case scenario. There are other forms and a filing fee required when you file for divorce in Orange County. This guide provides you with a step-by-step approach to filing your case.
Complete the petition (form FL- 100) and make sure you spend the time to ensure accuracy. You will check the box for “dissolution of marriage”, “legal separation”, or “nullity of marriage” depending on what type of case you are filing. Generally, approximately 95% of cases to dissolve or otherwise financially and physically separate marital partners are dissolution of marriage (divorce) cases. You must confirm that either the petitioner or the respondent has been a resident of California for at least six months at the time of filing, as well as a resident of the county for three months. If the parties have any children that were born prior to the marriage, make sure to attach a voluntary declaration of paternity. Importantly, if you are claiming any separate property you must fully and accurately describe that property under Paragraph 4. If you are claiming a separate property interest in real property, you should attach the legal description for that property to the petition. Community property is usually described in general terms under Paragraph 5, with a common sentence such as “All property acquired during marriage by the parties which is not separate in character. Petitioner reserves the right to update this request.” Paragraph 6 requires the petitioner to describe what the basis of the petition is, which usually includes a request for dissolution of marriage based on irreconcilable differences. Paragraph 7 requires the petitioner to note child custody should be ordered how child custody should be ordered, how attorney fees should be paid, how spousal support should be paid, whether property needs to be divided, and whether the petitioner wishes to restore his or her maiden name. Under the box “other”, you should include a general statement to the effect of “any other order made by the court that is just and reasonable”, as well as, “a written statement of decision and calculation on all litigated issues.”
There are several other forms that are required to file for divorce in Orange County, California. One of those documents is a summons and if children are involved, a declaration under the UCCJEA is required.
When you are ready to file your case, you can either take the documents to the Family Court clerk in Orange at the Lamoreaux Justice Center, or you can submit the case via SmartForms. You will need to pay the filing fee of $435 to file the case. For more information about filing a petition for divorce, legal separation or for nullity, or for information about responding to a family law case, contact our office today for a free consultation. Our office has experienced attorneys to deal with difficult issues in divorce including child custody and visitation problems, child support and spousal support, complex issues with division of marital property, discovery issues and any other issue that may be involved in your family law case. We are here to help. Our office is conveniently located in Irvine and we provide free, no hassle parking.