Divorce Checklist — Preparing to File for Your Divorce in California

  • By:David Weissman

The divorce rate in the United States is alarmingly high, with over 40% of the marriages in the country ending up in divorce. Many couples still use traditional means of filing a divorce i.e. lawyers and mediators. However, a lot of couples today choose to represent and prepare divorce documents themselves. This can be quite frustrating; especially on top of the emotional upheaval they are going through due to the breakup of their marriage, change of financial circumstances and shifting parental roles.

A man signing divorce documents

Filing for divorce is a complicated and confusing process. While the only requirement for filing for a “divorce aka dissolution” is being a resident of California for six (6) months and a resident of the county in which the case is being filed for three (3) months at the time of filing.

There are numerous small details that need to be ironed out before the court grants the divorce. This means that both parties must make difficult decisions as quickly as possible to expedite the divorce process.

One of the key components that can ensure a smooth divorce is preparing the necessary documents. Having the right documents at the right time can make a huge difference in the entire divorce process.

Here are the essential documents you should have during each stage of your divorce:

Documents Needed Before the Divorce

Before you start the divorce process, make sure you have the following documents;

  • A copy of the marriage certificate
  • A copy of any prenuptial agreements or post-nuptial agreements
  • Copies of all licenses
  • Copies of all trust documents
  • Copies of any wills prepared or executed during the marriage

Documents Needed During the Divorce Process

The most critical component of any divorce process is the financial records of both parties individually and those belonging to you together. You also need documents or copies of documents relating to any assets and tax information. These can include but are not limited to:

  • List of all bank accounts and credit cards with current balance and complete statements
  • List of all bills paid by you and your spouse, along with the final amount paid by each
  • Copies of marital home documents including any bank loan, mortgage information, and mortgage statements for the past six months
  • Copies of any leasing agreements or insurance policies for the marital home
  • Copies of childcare expenses
  • List of any debts including loans and credit cards with total amount owned jointly and by each spouse individually
  • Tax returns for the past three years
  • Detailed information of the income of both spouses

Documents listing any other assets including property, vehicles, jewelry, antiques, etc. owned jointly and individually

Child support agreement on a table with glasses and gavel

Documents After the Divorce

The divorce cannot be finalized until certain documents have been drafted and agreed upon by both parties or ordered by the court. These include spousal support if relative, property rights, retirement benefits, child support, child custody and visitation papers.

There are plenty of other documents that may be required according to each case.

The best thing you can do is consult with experts, such as LegalDoc-Prep, that have extensive experience helping couples prepare legal documents for filing a divorce in court.

Get in touch with us for more information or guidance regarding divorce documents.

Legal Disclaimer: LegalDoc-Prep (LD-P) is not a law office, cannot represent you in court or give legal advice. All information and contents herein have been derived from publicly approved and available literature. LegalDoc-Prep is an active member of the California Association of Legal Document Assistants. For more information please visit Calda.org.

Posted in: Divorce Legal Separation Nullity

LegalDoc-Prep (LD-P) is not a law office and cannot represent you in court. We provide document preparation services at your specific direction and pursuant to; Business & Professional Code Sec. 6400. Services provided by (LD-P) are not a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. If you require legal advice contact an attorney; Sacramento Cnty Lawyer Referral at: www.calbar.ca.gov.

All information and contents found within this website has been derived from approved and sanctioned literature found on the California Association of Legal Document Assistants website. For more information please visit Calda.org.