A Guide to How to File for Divorce in Santa Rosa, CA

·         Writing the Petition

The legal divorce process begins with either the husband or wife filing a Summons and Petition with the Sonoma County Court. The “party” that files these documents is called, “the petitioner.”  The person who is served these documents is called, “the respondent.”  Whether you are the petitioner or the respondent has no impact on the divorce process.  They are simply titles. However, it is very important that the Divorce Petition is accurately completed.  A small problem in the petition can lead to a larger problem in filing the final paperwork towards the judgment.  Court fees in the County of Sonoma are $435.

·         Service of Process

Once the Summons and Petition are filed, the service of process must take place.  This can be easily facilitated by a family member, friend or registered process server.  Once the other “party” is served with the papers, divorce proceedings begin.  On the back of the Summons paperwork are the Standard Family Law Restraining Orders.  These prohibit certain action such as movement of children across state lines, the selling of property or initiation of a loan against any real or personal property.

·         The Response

After service of the petition, the respondent has 30 days to “respond” to the petition.  Filing a response is not required in an amicable divorce.  Not filing will save the respondent $435 in court fees.  With no response filed, the divorce can proceed with a request for a “default judgment” to be entered by the court.  If there is a dispute by the responding spouse with any statements in the Petition, the disputed items must be filed with the court within 30 days.


·         Completion of Important Court Paperwork

Both spouses need to complete paperwork showing their income, their assets, and their liabilities.  For those filing for divorce in Santa Rosa, this can be a quick process if the case is uncontested and amicable. However, contested cases require legal proceedings which become expensive and time consuming.  Agreements mean less money and less time in the divorce process.  Disagreements mean more money and more time in the divorce process.  All divorces require a minimum of 6 months and 1 day from the day of service of the Summons and Petition before finalization.

·         Divorce Better

Our trusted team at Divorce Better can help you file for divorce in Santa Rosa.  To learn more about the process of divorce, contact us for a complimentary consultation now.