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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter

Page

Introduction

Getting Started

Service

10

Declarations of Disclosure

14

Finding the Right Path to Judgment

17

Default Judgment Without a Court Hearing

19

Default Judgment With a Court Hearing

22

Uncontested of Stipulated Judgment

25

Contested Judgment

28

Service of the Judgment

32

Things to do After Judgment is Finalized

35

Conclusion

38

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CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION
California divorce can be scary, overwhelming, and complicated, but having a
good understanding of the nuts and bolts of the basic divorce process can be a great
help. Simply understanding the basic framework and procedure can ease a lot of
concerns. Even if you have an attorney, it can be very helpful to know, from start to
finish, what needs to happen in order for you to get that final decree in hand.
I am a practicing California divorce and family law attorney. In this book I will try
to answer most of the basic procedural questions that my clients often ask me, and I will
give you an overview of the various steps in the divorce process.
A note about the forms referenced in this book: all the forms referenced in
this book, e.g., FL-100, FL-311, etc., can all be found and downloaded for free from the
Judicial Councils website, www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm.
Thank you for downloading and reading this book. I hope you find it helpful. If you
would like additional help with your divorce, please feel free to contact me by phone or
email. My contact information is located on my website at www.SteveSchofieldLaw.com.
You may also find some useful information on my blog at
www.SteveSchofieldLaw.com/blog.
All the best,
Stephen O. Schofield, Esq.

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CHAPTER 2 - GETTING STARTED

So youve decided you want to get a divorce. Now what? The first step is to draft
the initial papers you will be filing with the court in order to open the case. The
necessary forms for getting started will vary depending on a few things, e.g., whether
you have minor children of the marriage, whether you will be requesting the court waive
your filing fees, etc.
First I will provide a list of the forms to complete and file for this initial step. As
you will see there are forms that are required in every case, and some that are optional.
From there, I will walk you through the nature and purpose of each form.
The basic forms are as follows:
Petition for Dissolution (FL-100)
Summons (FL - 110)
UCCJEA (FL-105) - only if there are minor children
The optional forms are as follows:

Property Declaration(s) (FL-160)


Child Custody & Visitation Application Attachment (FL-311)
Request for Child Abduction Prevention Orders (FL-312)
Childrens Holiday Schedule Attachment (FL-341(C))
Addition Provisions - Physical Custody Attachment (FL-341(D))
Joint Legal Custody Attachment (FL-341(E))
Request to Waive Court Fees (FW-001)
Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003)
The Basic Forms
Petition and Summons

The Petition, at its core, is the form you file to ask the court to grant you a divorce
decree. You will need the following information to complete this form: your marriage
date, your separation date, the names and birth dates of your minor children (if any), a
list of any separate property, and a list of any community property. If you have minor
children, you must also complete and file the UCCJEA form (FL-105). If your separate
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or community property lists do not fit in the space provided, you will need to file
separate and/or community property declarations (FL-160).
A note about community and separate property: in California, all property
acquired during the marriage and before the separation is community property, with a
few exceptions. Money acquired during the marriage by inheritance or by gift, is the
separate property of the spouse who received the inheritance or gift. There are certainly
other exceptions, but covering those are beyond the scope of this book. However, just
keeping the above in mind will suffice for the majority of cases.
A note about your date of separation: the standard definition of separation
date is the date that you began living apart from your spouse with no intention of living
together again. Again, it can get a little more complex than that, but that is the basic rule
of thumb.
The Summons is a very basic form that requires little information and work. You
merely put your name and address, and your spouses name and address. The
summons officially puts your spouse on notice that he or she is now a party to a court
case.
The UCCJEA Form
The purpose of this form is to give the court enough information to determine
whether or not the court has jurisdiction over custody matters or whether another state
has jurisdiction. To that end, you will need to provide the names and birth dates of your
children, their addresses for the past five years, and the names and relationships of the
people with whom they were living at each address. You will also need to provide
information about any other ongoing court cases that may affect custody of your
children.
A Brief Description of Optional Forms
Property Declaration
As discussed above, this form is used to list property when the space provided
on the Petition is too small. You should use two separate Property Declarations if you
need to list both separate and community property, i.e., one declaration for separate
property and one for community property.

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Child Custody and Visitation Application & Childrens Holiday Schedule


Attachments
Use these forms if you requested custody and visitation orders in your petition
and desire to put your spouse on notice of the precise parenting schedule you are
requesting.
Request for Child Abduction Prevention Orders
Use this form if you have a legitimate fear that your spouse will flee with the
children.
Additional Provisions - Physical Custody Attachment
This form can be used when you want the court to order specific details and
conditions regarding the custody and visitation, e.g., drop-off and pick-up locations, first
right of refusal, etc.
Joint Legal Custody Attachment
You would use this form if you wanted to put your spouse on notice, and request
that the court make specific orders regarding you and your spouses respective roles
with regards to the legal custody of your children. The Petition itself will ask you whether
you want joint legal or sole legal, but if you want to be more precise, use this form.
A note about the difference between legal custody and physical custody:
physical custody deals with whose home the children will be staying at and when,
whereas legal custody has to do with which spouse gets to make decisions regarding
important matters affecting the children, e.g., healthcare, education, religion, etc.
Request for Fee Waiver and Order for Fee Waiver
At the time of this writing, it costs $435.00 dollars to file for divorce. This is not
money you pay your attorney or to a document preparation company. One hundred
percent of this is made payable to the court. If you cannot afford to pay this fee, you
may request a fee waiver. The court can waive your fee altogether, it can require to pay
a lesser amount, or it may deny your request outright. From my experience, fee waivers
are often denied if the person requesting is not receiving public aid such as SNAP or
TANF. Even then, there is no certainty that the request will be granted.

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Filing the Papers


Once all the papers have been drafted, either by your an attorney, a document
prep service, or yourself, they will need to be filed at the courthouse. The originals and
two copies of each document are filed. The court clerk then returns the two file stamped
copies.
Unless you are willing to stand in line (or pay someone to stand in line) for what
could be hours at the filing window of the courthouse, you will be filing by mail, fax or
drop-box (not all counties in California support fax filing). When you file by mail, fax, or
drop-box, there is usually some lag time before you get the file-stamped copies of your
papers. This can range from about two days to two weeks, depending on how busy the
court is in your jurisdiction.
Once you have the file-stamped copies of all your papers, you are ready to serve
them on your spouse. On to the next chapter.

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CHAPTER 3 - SERVICE
There are a few methods to complete effective service. Each method has its
merit. It will really depend on your specific situation, when it comes to selecting the best
option.
Option 1 - Hire a Process Server
A simple way to get it done is to hire a professional process server to serve the
documents on your spouse. If you have an attorney, he or she will likely have a working
relationship with a process serving company, and the service can easily be arranged.
However, keep in mind, this option costs anywhere from $50 to $100. It is usually
effective, but there are cheaper options.
Option 2 - Find a Friend or Family Member Willing to Do It
California law generally requires that the documents be personally delivered to
the spouse by someone over the age of eighteen, who is not a party to the case.
Therefore, if you can find a friend or family member who is willing to physically hand the
documents to your spouse, this can be a good option.
This option may not be appropriate in all cases. For instance, your spouse may
be so volatile that no one in their right mind would want to go near them. That is why
people pay process servers the big bucks.
Option 3 - Delivery by Mail with a Signed Notice and Acknowledgment
While the general rule is that the Petition and Summons must be personally
served, this option is an exception. It is okay to serve your spouse with the Petition and
Summons by mail, if your spouse signs and returns a form called the Notice and
Acknowledgment (FL-117). By signing the form, your spouse essentially waives his or
her right to personal service.
Option 4 - Service by Publication
In some cases, you may have no idea where your spouse is. Perhaps you have
been separated for many years and your spouse has virtually disappeared from your
life. In this type of situation, you may have the option of serving the documents on your
spouse by publishing notice of the dissolution proceedings in a newspaper. You must
complete the following steps if you wish to go this route:
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Step One - Diligently search for your spouse


You should essentially do everything you can, within reason, to locate your
spouse, e.g., ask all your mutual contacts, search online, etc. Take detailed notes of
your efforts, and keep any documents that prove your efforts.
Step Two - Fill out an Application for Order for Publication or Posting (FL-980)
Step Three - Fill out the caption of the Order for Publication or Posting (FL-982)
Step Four - Make a copy of these documents (and attachments)
Step Five - File the original and one copy with the court
Step Six - Pick up the Order when it is ready
Be sure to ask the clerk when to come back and pick up the Order and when and
how to find out if it is ready to be picked up.
Step Seven - If the Order was granted, take it to the newspaper
The Order will specify which newspaper to use, and it will also state the specific
document that needs to be published.
Step Eight - Publish and get Affidavit
You will need to pay and direct the newspaper to publish the required notice
once a week for four weeks. At the end of this period, the newspaper will give you an
affidavit, stating the publication requirements were satisfied. File this affidavit with the
court, and youre all set.

A note about the 6-month waiting period: California law states that no divorce
can be finalized until 6 months and one day after service of the Petition and Summons.
This 6-month (and one day) clock begins to run the moment your spouse has been
effectively served. The moment of service is pretty straight forward when your spouse is
personally served. However, if you opt to serve by mail with a Notice and
Acknowledgment, the clock begins to run on the date your spouse signs the Notice and
Acknowledgment.
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Now that your spouse has been served, the case is officially underway. The next
step is very important as it lays the groundwork for negotiating a fair settlement. On we
go!

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CHAPTER 4 - DECLARATIONS OF DISCLOSURE


The Declarations of Disclosure do a lot to set the stage for negotiations
regarding property. California law requires that each spouse provide the other with a
complete list of all property and debts, whether it be separate property or community
property. This is usually done twice, the first time is known as the Preliminary, and the
second time is the Final. It is important to note that this must be completed whether or
not you actually have any assets.
60 Day Deadlines
You must provide your spouse with your Preliminary disclosures within 60 days
from the date you filed the Petition. Your spouse must provide you with his or her
Preliminary disclosures with 60 days from the date of service of the Petition and
Summons.
Difference Between Preliminary and Final
The Preliminary disclosures are basically just a bare-bones list of assets and
debts along with an Income and Expense Declaration (explained below). The Final
disclosures include asset and debt values and documentation, e.g., account statements,
deeds, etc. If you can get all the details and documentation in order within that short,
60-day, time frame, you may complete the Preliminary and Final disclosures at once.
There is box you can check on the forms that indicates that your disclosure is both the
Preliminary and Final. Most often however, the Preliminary and Final disclosures are
done at separate times.
Forms
The forms for both the Preliminary and Final disclosures are the same. You will
need the following:

Declaration of Disclosure (FL-140)


Schedule of Assets and Debts (FL-142)
Income & Expense Declaration (FL-150)
Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure (FL-141)

The Declaration of Disclosure is a form you mail to your spouse, but do not file
with the court. It is more or less a cover sheet for your disclosure, letting your spouse
know what forms you are providing them with.
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The Schedule of Assets and Debts also is a form you will fill out and mail to your
spouse but not file with the court. As discussed above, if it is the Preliminary disclosure,
the Schedule of Assets and Debts need only list the assets and debts and need not
contain a listing of values or state when it was obtained/incurred. If you do not have any
assets or debts, just put none for each category on the form. You must also state
whether each asset or debt is community or separate. If it is separate, you will put either
a P or and R in the appropriate column to indicate whether the time is separate
property of the Petitioner or of the Respondent. If you are preparing the Final disclosure,
this Schedule must have all the details, and you must attach documentation of the
assets and debts, such as the most current account statements, the deed to any real
property, etc.
The Income & Expense Declaration must be filled out completely and must
accompany the Declaration of Disclosure and the Schedule of Assets and Debts when
mailed to your spouse. You must also attach your two most recent pay stubs and the
your most recent tax return. You will be filing this form with the court.
The Declaration Regarding Service of the Declaration of Disclosure is a form you
fill out to swear to the court that you have fully fulfilled your financial disclosure
obligations. You will indicate on the form whether the disclosure was the Preliminary or
Final, and you will also state what documents you mailed to your spouse. By filling out,
signing, and filing this form, you swear to the court under penalty of perjury that you
indeed did mail these documents to your spouse and that the information on these
documents was true and accurate. You will file this form with the court.
A note about deadline for Final Disclosure: you should try to mail the Final
Disclosure to your spouse as early on in the case as possible. The official deadline
however, is 45 days prior to the trial date (if one is set). In general, if the case settles,
the court will not issue the decree until both parties have fulfilled Preliminary and Final
disclosure obligations.

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CHAPTER 5 - FINDING THE RIGHT PATH TO JUDGMENT


There are five basic ways that you can obtain a judgment, i.e., get your divorce
finalized by the court. Finding the appropriate procedural path depends on two primary
questions, as follows: 1) whether you and your spouse have reached an agreement,
and 2) whether your spouse has filed a response.
Your Spouse Did Not File a Response
If your spouse did not file a Response to your Petition, you will be seeking a
default judgment. There are two basic types of default judgment - default with
agreement, and default without agreement. Whether the default is with or without an
agreement, most cases do not require any court hearing at all in order to get the default
judgment. However, as we will cover later in this chapter, some default cases do require
a court hearing before judgment will be entered.
If the situation is such that your spouse did not file a response because he or she
was just not willing to participate in the divorce process (or you were not able to locate
him or her), you will seek a default judgment without an agreement.
If you have reached an agreement with your spouse, but your spouse did not file
a Response for some other reason, e.g., to save money by avoiding the filing fee, etc.
You can proceed with the default judgment packet and file your written settlement
agreement along with it.
Your Spouse Did File a Response, and You Have Reached an Agreement
When your spouse files a response, you cannot seek a default judgment.
However, if the two of you agree on settlement terms, there is no need to go to trial. You
will draft a marital settlement agreement or a stipulated judgment, along with some final
forms, and things will wrap up and youll be done.
Your Spouse Filed a Response, and There is No Agreement
This is by far the toughest path to judgment, both in terms of emotional cost and
financial cost. If you and your spouse just cannot seem to see eye-to-eye after
exhausting all possible means of reaching an agreement, the only way to get a
judgment is to have a trial.

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CHAPTER 6 - DEFAULT JUDGMENT WITHOUT A HEARING


As discussed above, this option is applicable only where your spouse did not file
a Response. In order to qualify for a default judgment without the need for a court
hearing, you must meet the following requirements:
You must not be receiving public assistance in the form of TANF or
CalWorks
You must not be seeking an initial child support or spousal support order
You must not be seeking an annulment
If you meet the requirements above you will likely be able to obtain the default
judgment without having to go to court. To obtain the judgment, you will need to file the
following forms:
Required Forms for All Default Judgments
Request to Enter Default (FL-165)
Declaration for Default or Uncontested Judgment (FL-170)
Judgment (FL-180)
Notice of Entry of Judgment (FL-190)
Income & Expense Declaration (FL-150)
*File only if Spousal Support or Child Support is requested
Property Declaration (FL-160)
*File only if you wish the court to divide property
Copy of the filed Proof of Service of Summons (refer back to Ch.3)
Copy of the filed Declaration re Service of Disclosure (refer back to Ch. 4)

Additional Required Forms When There are Minor Children of the Marriage
Child Support Information and Order Attachment (FL-342)
Notice of Rights and Responsibilities (FL-192)
The Following Forms are Optional

Child Custody and Visitation Order Attachment (FL-341)


Spousal, Partner, or Family Support Order Attachment (FL-343)
Property Order Attachment to Judgment (FL-345)
Marital Settlement Agreement
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Filing Your Default Judgment Forms


Once you have filled out the necessary forms from the list above, make three
copies of each form. Also prepare two pre-stamped envelopes (one stamp on each
envelope will do), one with your address, and one with your spouses address. In
addition to these two envelopes, prepare one large manila envelope, pre-stamped with
enough postage for two copies of all of your documents, and address it to yourself.
You will then file the original documents plus the two copies and the three
envelopes. This packet will be reviewed by the judge. The court will mail your copies
back to you. If your judgment packet is accepted by the court, the court will return the
filed copies back to you in your large manilla envelope. From there you will need to
make sure to complete effective service of the judgment on your spouse. See Chapter 9
for discussion of service of the judgment.
If your judgment packet is returned to you either unfiled or rejected, you will likely
need to go ahead and attend a default prove-up hearing. So if that happens, go ahead
and read on, and I will discuss the default hearing process.
A note about marital settlement agreements: if you have reached an
agreement with your spouse, but your spouse did not file a Response, you can put this
agreement in writing and include it with your default judgment packet. Since your
spouse did not file a Response, his or signature on the marital settlement agreement
must be notarized.
A note about the effective date of the Judgment : please keep in mind that
you are still married until you receive a Notice of Entry of Judgment from the court and
the effective date of termination has passed. Read Chapter 9 for more details on this.

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CHAPTER 7 - DEFAULT JUDGMENT WITH A COURT HEARING


Most people prefer to have judgment entered without a court hearing. However,
some may have various personal or legal reasons for wanting to go to court to get the
judgment. As discussed above, you may not be eligible for judgment without a court
hearing. Also, if the court initially rejects your default judgment packet due to some
defect or other reason, you will likely need to attend a hearing.
To obtain a default judgment with a court hearing, you will begin by filing the
following documents:
Request to Enter Default (FL-165)
Income & Expense Declaration (FL-150)
*File only if Spousal Support or Child Support is requested
Property Declaration (FL-160)
*File only if you wish the court to divide property
Copy of the filed Proof of Service of Summons (refer back to Ch.3)
Copy of the filed Declaration re Service of Disclosure (refer back to Ch. 4)
You will file the originals plus three copies, along with a pre-stamped (one stamp)
and pre-addressed envelope, addressed to your spouse. If you file file mail or drop-box,
you must also include a large, manilla envelope, pre-addressed to yourself with enough
postage to cover the return of the copies.
When you file the documents from the list above by mail or drop-box, you must
include a cover letter, indicating you wish the court to schedule a default hearing. If you
file your judgment packet in person, you will ask the clerk right there to schedule the
hearing as opposed to making the request in a cover letter.
The court will schedule the hearing. If you filed your documents in person, the
clerk will let you know right then and there when the hearing will be. If you file by dropbox or mail, the court will typically let you know the hearing date by mail.
The Hearing
Arrive at the court early on the date and time scheduled for your hearing. Check
in with the bailiff or clerk in the courtroom. When the judge calls your case, he or she
will likely ask you some routine questions mainly to ensure that your spouse was validly

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served all necessary documents, and to clarify exactly what you are requesting the
court to order.
The judge will typically make the order right on the spot, and the clerk will provide
you with a minute order. It is your responsibility to get that minute order turned into a
final judgment.
After the Hearing - Getting to the Final Judgment
Once the hearing is over, and you have that minute order, you should prepare
the following:
Judgment (FL-180)
Notice of Entry of Judgment (FL-190)
If there are minor children you must also prepare the following:
Child Support Information and Order Attachment (FL-342)
Notice of Rights and Responsibilities (FL-192)
In addition to these forms, the same optional forms that apply to default
judgments without a court hearing (Chapter 5) are optional here as well.
Be sure to prepare the Judgment (FL-180) according to the details ordered by
the judge as recorded in the minute order. Make three copies of these documents, and
file them with pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelopes for yourself and your spouse.
Once the court returns the filed documents to you, proceed to the instructions in
Chapter 9 of this book.

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CHAPTER 8 - UNCONTESTED OR STIPULATED JUDGMENT


This is the route you go with if the your spouse did file a Response to you
Petition, but now you have reached an agreement and wish to settle. The forms and
process for getting this judgment are similar to the forms and process for obtaining a
default judgment, but there are significant differences.
You will need to prepare the following forms:

Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution (FL-170)


Judgment (FL-180)
Notice of Entry of Judgment (FL-190)
Appearance, Stipulations and Waivers (FL-130)
Judgment Checklist (FL-182)

If there are minor children, you must also include the following forms:
Child Support Information and Order Attachment (FL-342)
Notice of Rights and Responsibilities (FL-192)
The following forms are optional:

Child Custody and Visitation Order Attachment (FL-341)


Spousal, Partner, or Family Support Order Attachment (FL-343)
Property Order Attachment to Judgment (FL-345)

A note about marital settlement agreements: it is usually a good idea for you
and your spouse to record the specific details of your arrangement in a marital
settlement agreement. If you want to do so, this would be the time to do it. You would
put it together and file it with the documents above. If your spouse filed a Response,
neither signature on the agreement needs to be notarized.
Now I know Im starting to sound like a broken record, but this next part is going
to sound awfully familiar. Just hang in there with me.
Once you have these documents prepared, make three copies. You will file these
along with two envelopes. One envelope will be regular sized, with one stamp on it, and
with your spouses address on it. The other envelope will be a large manilla envelope
with your address on it and enough postage to cover for all three of the sets of copies.
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The court will then review the documents, and if all is approved, will mail you
back the file-stamped copies. If this happens, proceed to the instructions in Chapter 9 of
this book. If the documents are returned as rejected or not filed, you will need to go
through the contested judgment process outlined in the next chapter.

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CHAPTER 9 - CONTESTED JUDGMENT


So this is where you end up when all else fails. The Trial.
Perhaps youve negotiated with your spouse til you were blue (or red) in the
face. You will likely have tried mediation, etc., but you just cant seem to agree on all the
issues. If youve agreed on most of the issues, but there are still some that are
unresolved, you will still have to go through the following process, at least with regards
to the unresolved issues.
Covering the ins and outs of what to expect at trial is beyond the scope of this
little book. That topic could easily be the subject of one very large book. However, I will
explain the process of getting the trial set and the forms and processes you need to
follow both before and after the trial in order for the final judgment to be entered and
effective.
The Memorandum to Set
When all attempts at resolving the issues have failed, you will set a trial by filing a
Memorandum to Set (FL/E-LP-625). Part of preparing the Memo to Set is coordinating
with your spouse or his or her attorney regarding trial dates. You can both agree to
accept the first available trial date, you tell the court that you want any date except for
certain dates where either of you will be unavailable, or you can provide the court with a
list of dates (at least three) that are acceptable for both parties.
Make sure you contact the court to find out which days of the week it hears
divorce trials. At any rate, most counties require the trial date/s be set within certain
date ranges. For example, Sacramento County requires that the trial date/s be set no
sooner than 55 days from the date the Memo to Set is filed, and no later than 100 days.
Check with you your county before filing the Memo to Set.
When you have prepared the Memo to Set, make three copies. Then have
someone eighteen or older (not yourself) mail a copy to yourself. Then fill out the Proof
of Service portion of the Memo to Set form. The next step is to file the original and the
other two copies with the court. If you file by mail or drop-box, be sure to provide, preaddressed, stamped envelopes for you and your spouse. The court will notify you of the
trial date/s and settlement conference date by mail.

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The Pre-Trial Statement


Most counties will also have their own requirements regarding Pre-trial
Statements. For example, in Sacramento County, the court requires each party to serve
the other with a Pre-trial Statement no later than 20 days before the trial, or two days
before the Settlement Conference, whichever comes first. You will need to check with
your county or with a local attorney regarding your countys specific requirements here.
The purpose of the Pre-trial Statement is to clarify to the judge and your spouse
exactly what the issues are that you disagree on. It helps to give everyone involved a
clear picture of exactly what you are still fighting about. The Pre-trial Statement should
clearly spell out what issues you agree on (and the specifics of any agreements
reached), what issues you are still fighting about, and your proposal for how the issues
should be decided.
The Best practice is to make four copies of the Pre-trial Statement. Next have
someone over eighteen years old (not you) mail one copy to your spouse as early as
possible. Prepare a Proof of Service by Mail (FL-335), and have that person sign it.
Make copies of the Proof of Service. Then file the originals and copies of the Pre-trial
Statement and the Proof of Service with the court. Include pre-addressed, stamped
envelopes for the return of copies.
In many counties, if the neither party files a Pre-trial Statement, the court will
drop the Settlement Conference and the Trial from the calendar.
The Settlement Conference
Some time shortly before the trial, the court will require you and your spouse, and
your attorneys if you have them, to meet together at the courthouse for a Settlement
Conference. This is essentially a last ditch effort to reach a settlement.
It is not a court hearing, but rather, it is often more similar to a mediation.
Typically there will be a temporary judge or in some counties, a permanent judge, that is
different from the judge that would eventually hear the trial. This judge will use various
means to assist the parties in reaching a settlement. For example, the judge may meet
with the parties privately and relay offers back and forth. The judge may also ask the
parties to go meet together to talk it out, or the judge may meet with both parties at the
same time to help them talk through the issues and reach an agreement.
The Settlement Conference can take hours, or it can be very short, depending on
the parties and the practices in your county.
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The Trial
If the Settlement Conference does not result in settlement of all issues, the case
will proceed to trial on the trial date/s. At trial the judge will hear all the evidence and
arguments and will make an order. That order will typically be recorded as a minute
order. The judge usually will direct one of the parties or his or her attorney to prepare,
file, and serve the judgment based on that minute order. If the judge directs you to
prepare the judgment, proceed to the next chapter of this book for instructions.

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CHAPTER 10 - SERVICE OF THE JUDGMENT


Service of Default Judgment with No Court Hearing
Once you receive the filed, approved, packet back from the court in the mail, you
must then serve your spouse with the Judgment (FL-180) by mail and file Proof of
Service with the court. Direct someone eighteen years or older to mail the Judgment
along with all attachments to your spouse. After this person has mailed the Judgment,
direct them to complete and sign a Proof of Service by Mail (FL-335). Then you will file
the Proof of Service with the court. The court will then send a copy of the Notice of Entry
of Judgement to you and your spouse in the envelopes you previously provided. Keep
in mind, you are not divorced yet unless the effective date (stated in the Judgment) has
passed.
Service of Default Judgment after a Court Hearing
After the default prove-up hearing, the court will give you a minute order with the
judges decisions. Be sure to prepare the Judgment (FL-180) according to the details
ordered by the judge as recorded in the minute order. Also prepare a Notice of Entry of
Judgment (FL-190). Make three copies of these documents, and file them with the court
with pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelopes for yourself and your spouse.
Once the court returns the filed Judgment to you, direct someone over the age of
eighteen years (not you) to mail the Judgment along with all attachments to your
spouse. After this person has mailed the Judgment, direct them to complete and sign a
Proof of Service by Mail (FL-335). Then you will file the Proof of Service with the court.
The court will then send a copy of the Notice of Entry of Judgement to you and your
spouse in the envelopes you previously provided. Keep in mind, you are not divorced
yet unless the effective date (stated in the Judgment) has passed.
Service of Judgment on Uncontested Divorce
When the court returns the filed Judgment to you, direct someone over the age of
eighteen years (not you) to mail the Judgment along with all attachments to your
spouse. After this person has mailed the Judgment, direct them to complete and sign a
Proof of Service by Mail (FL-335). Then you will file the Proof of Service with the court.
The court will then send a copy of the Notice of Entry of Judgement to you and your
spouse in the envelopes you previously provided. Keep in mind, you are not divorced
yet unless the effective date (stated in the Judgment) has passed.
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Service of Judgment After Trial


After the trial, the court will give you a minute order with the judges decisions.
Be sure to prepare the Judgment (FL-180) according to the details ordered by the judge
as recorded in the minute order. Also prepare a Notice of Entry of Judgment (FL-190).
Make three copies of these documents, and file them with the court with pre-addressed,
pre-stamped envelopes for yourself and your spouse.
Once the court returns the filed Judgment to you, direct someone over the age of
eighteen years (not you) to mail the Judgment along with all attachments to your
spouse. After this person has mailed the Judgment, direct them to complete and sign a
Proof of Service by Mail (FL-335). Then you will file the Proof of Service with the court.
The court will then send a copy of the Notice of Entry of Judgement to you and your
spouse in the envelopes you previously provided. Keep in mind, you are not divorced
yet unless the effective date (stated in the Judgment) has passed.

And thats all folks! You are divorced.


BUT, wait just one second. There are still some important matters to attend to after your
divorce has been finalized. Please read on to Chapter 10 for some important tips.

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CHAPTER 11 - THINGS TO DO AFTER JUDGMENT IS FINALIZED


Now that your divorce judgment is final, there are a few steps to take in order
truly make it effective in your life. Not every step will apply to every person reading this
book, but without further ado, here is what you should take care of to truly wrap things
up:
1) Change the beneficiaries on your life insurance policies
When you go, I doubt you still want your now ex-spouse getting a large sum of
money that youd rather have go to your children or other family member or friend.
2) Update your will or trust
Again, make sure your money is going to go to the people you care about when
youre gone.
3) Change the titles/deeds to any property that was awarded to you in the judgment
If the judge awarded you the house, make sure the deed says so. Same goes
with cars, boats, RVs, etc.
4) Change your name with Social Security, the DMV, etc.
Of course this only applies if the judgment changed your name, i.e., from your
married name to your maiden name.
5) Take the child support order to the Department of Child Support Services
(DCSS) for help in collecting child support (only if there are children)
If youve done all this, good for you. Im sure it has not been easy, but youre done.
A note about grieving: Linda Blair, a psychologist in the UK once said, "You
may have had an unhappy relationship, but you have also lost a dream: the idea that
you would be together for ever. Never try to stop your grief it's a necessary reaction.
Grieve with a friend that you trust the best time to cry is when there's someone there
to hand you tissues. Not to reassure you it's OK, but to help you get past your grief."
How to Ease the Pain of Separation, The Gaurdian, Feb. 8, 2011,
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/feb/09/ease-pain-of-separation
California Divorce Roadmap - Page 35

A note about new habits: Another psychologist, Janet Reibstein, also has
some good advice, "Create a different set of habits and new associations. Go to a
different place to have a coffee. If you and your partner went jogging every morning,
don't carry on the same route alone. This will help you realize you can do things on your
own." Id.

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CHAPTER 12 - CONCLUSION

Dear Reader,
Thank you for taking the time to read this book. I sincerely hope it has been
helpful to you. I wish you the best of luck in your new phase of life and extend the
warmest wishes to you and your family.
I welcome any feedback you may have regarding the book. Id sure love to hear
from you. You can send me an email at schofield.law@gmail.com.
Also, if I can help you in my role as a California divorce and family law attorney,
please feel free to contact my office. You can always find my current contact
information at my website, www.SteveSchofieldLaw.com, and on my Facebook page,
www.Facebook.com/SchofieldLaw.
Thank you.
All the best,
Stephen O. Schofield, Esq.

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