Generally, in a Divorce Case, You Have a Choice About
Whether to go to Court or Not

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For any divorce to become final, a judge has to look over the:

  • Judgment (Form FL-180) Opens new window and sign it. 

He or she will check that:  

  •  the children's needs will be taken care of through a Parenting Plan that includes provisions or custody, visitation and support;
  • each adult's needs will be taken care of though spousal or partner support until each spouse or partner can become self-sufficient;
  • full disclosure of what is owned and owed has been made, and the community property is being divided equally, and any other issues that the court has been asked to decide.

Generally, the separating spouses or partners can decide if they:

  • want their judgment forms reviewed by a judge at a court hearing (which one or both of them must attend),
  • or their case is one that can be finished by mailing in or dropping off the completed forms at  family court.

 If you want your judgment forms reviewed by a judge at a court hearing:

  • if the case is uncontested, the hearing is generally short and only one of the spouses or partners is required to attend.
  • Usually, the spouse or partner at the hearing has to answer any questions that the judge may have, or correct anything that is not clear from the forms.
  • If there is a problem, the judge can tell the spouse or partner then what has to be corrected, and give him or her a new hearing date that allows enough time to make the changes.

If you want your judgment approved by mail, you need to fill out and file one
extra form:

  • Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation
    (Form FL-170) Opens new window
  • Some people prefer this method because they have prepared a  Stipulated Judgment, Opens new window  Settlement Agreement, Opens new window or because no property, debts, children or support is requested.
  • Even if the spouses or domestic partners have property, debts, children, and support issues or a settlement agreement, many prefer this method because no court appearance is required.




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