Skip to main content

California Divorce Consultation Checklist

A divorce can rapidly turn into a long and stressful process. Depending on the different factors and details of the divorce, there can be multiple issues that require a solution before the divorce can be finalized. Meeting all the requirements can feel overwhelming. A California divorce consultation checklist can be a useful tool for individuals who are close to the divorce process or for individuals who have already begun their divorce.

A divorce attorney can provide a comprehensive list to help you resolve your divorce, but the following are major areas that must usually be addressed.

Division of Assets

It is important to identify how property is divided. Since California is considered a community property state, each spouse is typically entitled to fifty percent of the assets or debt acquired while married. This can include money, property, and all other assets. Exceptions to this rule are inheritances or assets that were acquired from separate property, such as rent from a property owned prior to the marriage.

Assets that were owned by the spouse before the marriage are likely to be considered separate assets, excluding the other spouse from any rights over them. There are, however, situations that can cause separate assets to become community property. An experienced divorce attorney can help review your financial situation and prepare your argument for the portion of assets that rightfully belong to you.


If you and your spouse share children, you must also create a plan for their living arrangements and financial support. Child custody and possibly child support will have to be agreed upon before the divorce can be finalized. If the parents cannot create an agreement, it will be up to the court to find a solution.  It is important to remember all these decisions should be made with the interests of the children in mind.

It is not uncommon for issues pertaining to children to be highly contested during a divorce, but a qualified and experienced family law attorney can help prepare you for these conversations.

Six-Month Waiting Period

One factor that should also be on your checklist is the mandatory six-month waiting period. This waiting period is meant to allow spouses the opportunity to potentially work out their differences. It is not uncommon for couples to decide to divorce, reconcile their disagreements during the six-month waiting period, and ultimately decide to stay married.

Find The Right Divorce Attorney

A very important step in the divorce process and on the divorce checklist is to find the right divorce attorney. You want to find a qualified and prepared attorney who has a solid reputation in your geographic area. It is important to have an attorney who listens and understands your situation. An experienced divorce attorney can make the divorce process much easier for you and help you get a fair resolution.

You should choose an attorney who has prior experience in working with spouses through their divorce. An attorney with proven experience can help provide you with guidance to ensure that you have the proper documents needed and that you meet all the necessary deadlines. Each divorce case is different and can contain different nuances that a knowledgeable divorce attorney can help you work through.


Q: How Do I Prepare for Divorce in California?

A: Before filing for a divorce in California, it is critical to understand your estate. Your marital estate is composed of assets and liabilities that you and your spouse have built during your marriage. Obtaining and reviewing all applicable financial documents is one place to start. Relevant documents can include tax returns, brokerage accounts, loan documents, and retirement accounts. A divorce means that marital assets will be divided, and you want to ensure the division is fair.

Q: Does California Require Counseling Before Divorce?

A: Although marriage counseling can be an important part of the divorce process, it is not legally required under California state law. There is, however, a six-month waiting period before you can file for divorce in the state of California. California requires this waiting period in order to give the spouses adequate time to possibly reconcile their differences and ensure that divorce is truly the appropriate option for the couple.

Q: What Do You Talk About When Going Through a Divorce?

A: There are many different factors that need to be discussed during the divorce process. One of the factors is the division of assets. Assets and debts that were acquired during the marriage are likely to be split equally between spouses. If there are children involved in the marriage, then child custody and child support payments are other topics that will be covered in great detail. Another main topic that should be discussed is alimony or spousal support payments.

Q: What Paperwork Do You Need for a Divorce in California?

A: To start the divorce process, a petition for divorce, otherwise known as an FL-100 form, will need to be filed with the county clerk’s office. A summons, or FL-110 form, will then be used to notify the other spouse that you have filed for a divorce. A FL-115 form will be used to prove you have served the other spouse. Finally, a signed FL-120 form is used by the non-filing spouse to respond to the summons and petition.

Attorneys Ready to Serve You

Navigating through the struggles of a divorce can quickly become an overwhelming, stressful, and sometimes chaotic process. Divorce can become even more stressful and chaotic if the other spouse does not cooperate. Whether the divorce is amicable or not, it is critical that you work with an attorney who can direct you to the correct path and help ensure that you have correctly completed the right forms.

At Hayes Family Law, our legal team works diligently to provide individuals with the direction and guidance that they need to get through their divorce. We understand that ending a marriage is a difficult process, and we handle each individual case with the care and compassion that is needed. Contact our office today to see how our attorneys can assist you so that you are prepared for the divorce process.

Leave a Reply