What To Say When Serving Divorce Papers

Divorce Papers

Do You Need To Serve Divorce Papers / FL-100 Petition For Dissolution of Marriage?

What To Say When Serving Divorce Papers

What To Say When Serving Divorce Papers

FL-100 Petition - Marriage/Domestic Partnership, FL-105 Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), FL-110 Summons (Family Law), FL-115 Proof of Service of Summons (Family Law), FL-130 Appearance, Stipulations, and Waivers (Family Law-Uniform Parentage-Custody and Support), FL-142 Schedule of Assets and Debts (Family Law)

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There are 3 main ways to end a marriage or registered domestic partnership in California: divorce, legal separation, and annulment. It is not necessary for both spouses or domestic partners to agree to end the marriage. Either spouse or partner can decide to end the marriage, and the other spouse/partner, even if he or she does not want to get a divorce, cannot stop the process by refusing to participate in the case. If a spouse or domestic partner does not participate in the divorce case, the other spouse/partner will still be able to get a “default” judgment and the divorce will go through. 


California is a “no fault” divorce state, which means that the spouse or domestic partner that is asking for the divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse or domestic partner did something wrong.  To get a no fault divorce, 1 spouse or domestic partner has to state that the couple cannot get along. Legally, this is called “irreconcilable differences.”

After you decide how you want to end your marriage or domestic partnership, you need to plan your case ahead of time. Think about how you are going to handle your case. Planning before you start and talking to a lawyer can save you time and money as you go through the court process. And keep in mind that, normally, it does not matter who is the first to file the divorce or separation case. The court does not give any preference to the first person to file or a disadvantage to the person who responds to the case.

If you want to end a registered domestic partnership, domestic partners must also file for dissolution (divorce), legal separation, or annulment to end their relationship.  There is a limited exception where domestic partners can end their relationship in a summary process through the Secretary of State if they have been registered for less than five years and they have no children, no real property, very few assets or debts, and a written agreement on dividing their property, in addition to other restrictions. Click to learn more about this shorter process to see if you are eligible to end your domestic partnership that way.

Federal law does not recognize domestic partnerships for most purposes, such as Medicare, immigration law, veterans' benefits, and federal tax laws. Domestic partners may be recognized for some federal purposes, such as Social Security. In addition, domestic partners may not have the same rights if they leave California because other states may not recognize domestic partnerships.  Talk to a lawyer if you are ending a domestic partnership and any of these issues may apply to you. You may also want to talk to an accountant who is knowledgeable about these issues. Click for help finding a lawyer.

The family law facilitator or self-help center in your court may be able to help you with the divorce or legal separation process and help you understand what your options are, decide what you want to do, and get started with your paperwork. You can also talk to a lawyer to get legal advice. 

Top Reasons Why An Impartial Third Party Process Service Company Is A Wise Choice

In every legal case, there is a requirement that all parties to the case be properly and legally notified in a timely manner. In addition to the parties of the case, there are usually witnesses that have to testify, some reluctantly, and there are also plenty of pertinent documents that need to be procured, so those would be served a subpoena. All of these duties are usually handled by a third-party company, one that has no ties to either side in the case, and they’re called a legal process service company.

Finding The Right Company To Deliver Your Documents

The legal requirements to be in the business of serving papers can vary widely on a state by state basis. However, when it comes time to hire a company, it is always best to look for one that is a member of several national legal serving bodies. Those usually require attendance at regular continuing education seminars to keep their employees up to date on the latest changes in laws in their state.

Most process service companies will also carry errors and omissions insurance that covers them in case they make a mistake. This is an industry where each and every serve can have its own pitfalls and there are opportunities to make mistakes every single day. Some people refuse to testify in certain cases, or won’t relinquish important documents that can prove, or disprove, a case and are therefore difficult to serve.

Most larger legal serving companies will have websites, but that may not be a reasonable expectation in all cities and towns. Plus, it’s quite common to have to hire a local process serving company in some small town far from the big city because a certain respondent lives there.

It’s important not to overlook the need for a professional, third-party company to do a quick and clean job of delivering the legal documents for your case. Since attorneys charge by the hour, the failure of some of your witnesses to show up because of improper legal service can be expensive. Finding the right company will save you money in the long term.