Filing for Divorce or Separation FAQs

Filing for Divorce or Legal Separation — Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I am a victim of domestic violence and want to get divorced or legally separated. Is there anything I need to do before filing my case?

A. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, make a safety plan before you tell your spouse or domestic partner you want a divorce, legal separation, or annulment.

Call 1-800-799-7233 (TDD: 1-800-787-3224) to find a domestic violence agency in your county.

Click for more information about domestic violence, making a safety plan, and finding help.

Q. Which county should I file for divorce in, since I have moved?

A. You must live in the county for 3 months and the state for 6 months before you can file for a divorce here.

If you do not meet the residency requirements in your county, you can file for legal separation, then file an amended petition for divorce in the county in which you live once their residency requirements are met.

Q. I filed for divorce, but I have changed my mind and want to cancel the case. What should I do?

A. If you are the 1 who filed for divorce, you can file a Request for Dismissal (Form CIV-110) to dismiss your case, as long as the divorce or legal separation is not final yet. But if you do this and you later decide you want to continue with the divorce, you will have to start all over and pay the filing fee again or file and qualify for a fee waiver.

If you are not the 1 who started the divorce case, you cannot stop it on your own. You need the other side to file a Request for Dismissal (Form CIV-110) to dismiss your case. Keep in mind that, in California, as long as 1 side wants a divorce, the other side cannot stop the process by refusing to participate or sign any papers.

If you and your spouse or domestic partner filed for a joint summary dissolution and the judgment is not final yet, either 1 of you can stop the case by filing a Notice of Revocation of Petition for Summary Dissolution (Form FL-830) with the court (for married couples) or a Revocation of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State (for domestic partners).

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