When filing for divorce in Merced, couples have two options to go for:
- If they are unable to agree on the important matters of their marriage dissolution, they have to file for a contested divorce and hire a lawyer.
- In case spouses have already agreed on all the issues and want to finalize their divorce as soon as possible, they can get a quick and affordable uncontested divorce in Merced.
Option two gives you an opportunity to file without a lawyer and thus significantly reduces the cost of your marriage dissolution. To file for divorce in Merced county on your own, you need to follow a few simple steps:
Step 1: Check if you qualify for divorce
To file for an uncontested divorce in California, you will need to make sure that you meet the residency requirements of the state and county. Based on the CA laws, you must:
- Live in the state for 180 days.
- Reside in Mercedfor at least 90 days.
Also, you need to have all the issues related to your marriage (child custody and support, alimony, and property division) resolved to initiate an uncontested case.
Step 2: Prepare the Paperwork
The process of collecting the necessary documents usually takes a lot of time. You will need to find the court-approved forms, make sure they are up-to-date, and fill them out correctly. It is crucial to get the right paperwork, both mandatory and case-specific, as the court will not accept your filing otherwise. If you don’t want to hire a lawyer, you can get the right forms picked and filled out for you online with our service.
Step 3: File the Papers with the Court
As soon as you have a full packet of documents, you need to file it. Since you will be the one initiating the divorce process, you will be regarded as the petitioner, while your spouse will be a respondent. In California, you need to file for divorce in your local Supreme Court division. You will be asked to pay the filing fee and additional court fees if necessary.
Step 4: Serve your Spouse
The next step is notifying your spouse that the divorce process has been initiated. According to the law, the petitioner is prohibited from serving the spouse on their own. Therefore, you will need to ask any third party over 18 years to hand over the documents to your spouse. He or she then has 30 days to respond.
Step 5: Attend the Hearing
In CA, both spouses must be present in court during the final hearing. It usually does not take much time. The judge makes sure that your paperwork is in order and grants a decision.
Step 6: Receive Divorce Decree
After the marriage dissolution is granted by the judge, you will be able to finalize the process in no less than 6 months after serving your spouse. It is a mandatory waiting period that has to elapse before you can get officially divorced. When it’s over, you can get your divorce decree and divorce certificate copies in the Supreme Court.
Merced County Divorce Papers
If you are planning to file without a lawyer, you need to download and fill out Merced divorce forms on your own. These documents should be court-approved and relevant to your case. Here are some common forms to file for divorce in California:
- Petition — Marriage/Domestic Partnership – FL-100
- Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) – FL-105/GC-120
- Property Declaration (Family Law) – FL-160
- Summons (FL-110)
- Proof of Service of Summons (Family Law — Uniform Parentage — Custody and Support) – FL-115
- Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt (FL-117)
- Notice of Entry of Judgment (FL-190)
- Judgment (FL-180)
This is not a complete list of forms that are needed for an uncontested divorce. If you have children, you will need to fill out additional forms related to custody and child support. The same goes for property division, financial relief, and cases when you make additional requests.
Merced County Divorce Filing Fee
When you file for a fast divorce in Merced, you will avoid spending thousands of dollars on attorney fees. Still, you will need to cover the filing fees in court, which are around $435 in CA. There can be additional charges during the process, for example, for making copies of your documents. If you cannot cover this amount, you may file a Request to Waive Court Fees.
Where to File for Divorce in Merced County?
There are several locations where you can file for an uncontested divorce in Merced. You may need to review a zip directory to locate the nearest Merced divorce court house if you are not sure. Here are the addresses where you can apply across the county:
Merced County, CA Divorce and Superior Court Information
Court Name: Merced County Superior Court
Court Title: In the Circuit Court of Merced County, Alabama
Circuit Court Location: 2260 N Street, Merced, California 95340
Court Phone: 209-725-4100
Court Fax: 209-725-4111
Court Hours: 8am – 4pm
Kevin Wynn is a former family lawyer specializing in divorce cases. He started his writing career because he knows how important it is for couples to have access to accurate and practical information in order to make informed decisions and reach favorable outcomes. In his articles, Kevin covers a range of legal and financial options for divorcees, offering advice and guidance for those navigating the divorce process.