​The earliest you can be divorced is six months and one day from one of these three dates (whichever occurs first):

(1) the date Respondent was served with the Summons (form FL-110) and Petition (form FL-100),

(2) the date the Response (form FL-120) was filed, or

(3) the date Appearance, Stipulations, and Waivers (form FL-130) was filed.

Legal separation has no waiting period.

You are NOT divorced or legally separated until the court enters a Judgment in your case.

Domestic Partnerships

Do you have a registered domestic partnership?

The process for a divorce or legal separation of a domestic partnership is the same as a standard divorce. To find out if you are eligible to end your domestic partnership through the Secretary of State, see Note: There may be differences in federal taxes and other issues for domestic partnerships. As always, if you are unsure of your path or have legal/tax questions seek advice from an attorney experienced in domestic partner law.



What if you want a legal separation?

The process is the same, except you will NOT get a Judgment for legal separation unless both parties agree to a legal separation OR if respondent has not filed a Response. If both parties agree to be legally separated but do not agree on other issues, the parties must go to trial to have a judge resolve those issues.

You are NOT legally separated until you receive a Judgment signed by the court. AFTER the court enters a judgment for legal separation, if you decide you want a divorce, you must start a new case to request a divorce and pay another filing fee.


For Domestic Partners

There is a quick, easy way to get divorced called “summary dissolution.”

  • You will not have to go to court and you may not need to hire a lawyer. Remember: it is in your best interest to see a lawyer about ending your domestic partnership.

  • Not everyone can get a summary dissolution. Most people have to get a regular divorce. This section will help you decide if you qualify for a summary dissolution and, if you do, how to file it.




Do You Qualify for a Summary Dissolution?

To qualify for a summary dissolution of your domestic partnership you must meet ALL of the following requirements. You and your domestic partner:

  1. Both want to terminate your domestic partnership;

  2. Have not been registered as a domestic partnership for more than 5 years on the date you file your Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership;

  3. Have no children together born or adopted before or during the domestic partnership (and neither of you is pregnant now);

  4. Do not own any part of land or buildings;

  5. Do not rent any land or buildings (except for where you now live, as long as you do not have a 1-year lease or option to buy);

  6. Do not owe more than $6,000 for debts acquired since the date of your domestic partnership;

    • Do not count car loans.

  7. Have less than $43,000 worth of property acquired during the domestic partnership;

    • Do not count your cars.

  8. Do not have separate property worth more than $43,000;

    • Do not count your cars.

  9. Agree that neither partner wants partner support from the other; AND

  10. Have signed an agreement that either divides your property (including your cars) and debts or says there is no community property or debts to divide.


Remember, with domestic partnerships registered in California, you do not need to meet any residency requirements, so you can file your summary dissolution in California even if neither one of you still lives in California.

Keep in mind that a summary dissolution is a divorce, NOT a legal separation.



There are 3 main ways to end a marriage or registered domestic partnership in California: 1) divorce, 2) legal separation, and 3) annulment.

  • It is not necessary for both spouses or domestic partners to agree to end the marriage.

  • Either spouse or partner can decide to end the marriage, and the other spouse/partner, even if he or she does not want to get a divorce, cannot stop the process by refusing to participate in the case.

  • If a spouse or domestic partner does not participate in the divorce case, the other spouse/partner will still be able to get a “default” judgment and the divorce will go through. 


California is a “no fault” divorce state, which means that the spouse or domestic partner that is asking for the divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse or domestic partner did something wrong. 

  • To get a no fault divorce, 1 spouse or domestic partner has to state that the couple cannot get along. Legally, this is called “irreconcilable differences.”

  • After you decide how you want to end your marriage or domestic partnership, you need to plan your case ahead of time.

  • Think about how you are going to handle your case. And keep in mind that, normally, it does not matter who is the first to file the divorce or separation case.

  • The court does not give any preference to the first person to file or a disadvantage to the person who responds to the case.