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How to Finish a Divorce or Dissolution of Registered Domestic Partnership Case (Step 6)

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A divorce in California cannot be finished in less than six (6) months and one (1) day after the first papers were filed at the courthouse and copies of these papers were served on (given to) the other spouse or partner.  Note that this is not automatic: you must complete all of the steps in this section before you can be divorced, even if it takes more than 6 months.

During those 6 months, the couple is expected to have worked out:

  • How they are going to divide and share their parenting responsibilities (if they have children together), and
  • How they are going to divide and share their financial assets and liabilities (what they own and owe).

These decisions may have been resolved by default, Opens new window through stipulations Opens new window (written agreements), or through court hearings. Opens new window 

  • For help in getting ready for a court hearing, click here.

NOTE:  Even when all of these issues are resolved, however, the
divorce is NOT final until a "Judgment" has been signed by a judge.

  • The court will not contact the spouses or partners to tell them that it is time to finish their divorce.

Information about how to get your "Judgment" signed by a judge:

The way you end your divorce or dissolution of registered domestic partnership case depends on several factors. To learn what you need to do, click on the description that best describes your situation.

1. If the other spouse or partner DOES NOT file a response to the papers asking for a divorce or dissolution of the registered domestic partnership, the petitioner can ask for the judge to decide the case by default.

A. "True Default" case: If a Petition was filed and served, no response was filed, and there is no written agreement about the terms of separation this is called a "true default" case.

B. "Default With Agreement" case: If a Petition was filed and served, no response was filed, but the couple has a written agreement about the terms of their separation this is called a "default with agreement" case.

2.  If the other spouse or partner DOES file a response, it may be an uncontested or a contested case.

C. Uncontested Case: If a Petition was filed and served, a response was filed and served, and there was a full written agreement on all issues, this is called an "uncontested case."

D. Contested Case: If a Petition was filed and served, a response was filed and served, but there is no written agreement on all issues, this is called a
"contested case."

Alert! When your Judgment is signed there is paperwork to do right away. To learn how to do this, please go to After You Get Your Judgment.

If you have to go to court, please go to Step 7: If You Have a Hearing



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