How To File For Divorce

Doing your own divorce? 85% of well-meaning couples mess up the paperwork and end up costing themselves more money.


There are standard forms used when filing for divorce.


A petition, summons, and venue declaration are definitely needed. If there are children involved, then a uniform child custody jurisdiction and enforcement act (UCCJEA) form is needed. These are the initial documents that will begin a divorce case, but they are not the only documents needed throughout the case.



  • The petition informs the court that you meet the residency requirements for your case to be heard. The petition also informs the judge of important details of your case such as, the length of marriage and whether minor children are involved. The most important part of the petition is that it informs the court of ALL the issues that need to be addressed, such as child custody/visitation, child support, spousal support, property division, attorneys fees, and name restoration. If the issue isn't expressed in the petition, there's a chance the issue won't get resolved at all.


  • The summons is the official court document that the non-filing party will receive to put them on notice that a divorce is being filed. This is the "you have been served" document. Both parties should carefully read a summons, because once the petition has been filed, Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders are put in place. It's all listed on page 2.


  • The venue declaration just informs the court that the case is being heard at the right courthouse. Each courthouse is dedicated to a zip code, so the zip codes determines which courthouse is appropriate for hearing your case. There are court courthouses in San Diego: Central, North, South, and East.


  • The UCCJEA informs the court that they have the authority to make decisions relating to child custody and visitation. This form requires the addresses of all the minor children involved, over the last five years. This form also informs the court on whether there are other proceedings taking place that could affect custody and visitation issues - other proceedings such as juvenile proceedings, criminal proceeds, restraining orders, guardianships, etc.

Properly filling out your documents is vital! I will be hosting a FREE workshop on February 18, 2022 at 6PM PST. Add yourself to the email list to be the first to know.