Step 1: Get and Complete Your Court Forms
If you have been given a copy of your spouse's or partner's Petition for divorce and you want to participate in the court case, the way to let the court know that is to fill in and file a "Response" (Form FL-120 OR Form FL-123). Which form you use depends on your situation. Form FL-120 is for marriages, and form FL-123 is for domestic partnerships.
Choose the form you need below. You can either download and print the file, or fill it out on our computer, then print it out. The forms are editable PDF documents (meaning you can fill them out online). To open a PDF document you must have Adobe Reader.
The "Response" lets everyone know you want to participate in your divorce case. It also gives you the opportunity to present your side of the story, and means that you must continue to participate in the case.
Like the Petition, the Response asks for information about the length of your marriage or registered domestic partnership, and how you would like to restructure your life now. It will ask you what you own and what you owe, and about related issues such as child custody and visitation, child or spousal support, domestic violence, and other matters.
You may want to work with someone to help you understand and fill out your court forms. You should also consider hiring an attorney to help make sure that you have completed the forms correctly before they are filed.
Although many people fill out their court forms online and then print them, you may also fill out court forms by hand. If you hand write your forms, they must be printed neatly so other people can read them easily. You may use "white out" on your court forms if you make a small mistake, but it must not get in the way of the form being easy to read.
For help finding local court forms you may need, go to your county's court website: click here.
If there is an emergency and you need immediate help from the court:
You may ask the court to make emergency orders (called Ex Parte orders), or for a quick court hearing date. These orders will only last until your next court hearing where your spouse or partner can be present and the judge can make a decision about whether or not to extend the orders longer. For more information on getting emergency orders, click here.
SPECIAL NOTE: People with cases in Contra Costa County can get help with all divorce forms from the Family law Facilitator. For the Family Law Facilitator in your county, click here.