If you're filing Form FL-100 for a California uncontested divorce, it might seem you'll at least avoid most of the conflicts that can make divorce such an unpleasant experience. But the filing of Form FL-100 is not in itself a guarantee that your spouse will not contest the divorce. Rather, it sets forth the general terms of the divorce as you'd like it, and requires that your spouse have the chance for a response. Presumably, you and your spouse will work together to settle the issues of child custody, alimony, division of assets and other rights, but this is not guaranteed, even if the divorce itself is uncontested. The term can also refer to a situation where one spouse files divorce papers and the other fails to respond in time, defaulting on their right to contest the divorce.
Find the right court. You don't necessarily have to have been married in California to get divorced there, but at least one of the spouses must have been a legal resident of the state for at least 6 months prior to filing for the divorce. The proper court will be the superior court of the county in which the California resident spouse has lived for at least 3 months immediately preceding the filing of Form FL-100.
File a petition and supporting documentation. Form FL-100 is a petition from one spouse asking the court to grant relief on several details, including custody of the children, amount of child support and the division of property. The court, however, will not act on the petition until it has heard from the other spouse. This is why FL-100 must be filed with Form FL-110, a summons. The two are presented in triplicate to the clerk with a $350 filing fee. One original of each is filed, and the other two are conformed. One of the conformed copies must be served on the spouse by the petitioner.
Serve documents. In addition to the summons and the FL-100 petition, the responding spouse will need to be served with a variety of other documents, including Form FL-140, the declaration of disclosure, to which will be attached schedules of the marriage's assets and debts, income and expenses and statements describing any other property or obligations. When all these documents are served, the person who is serving them must also file Form FL-115, proof of service. If you cannot locate your spouse for service, you will most likely have to pay to have the summons published in local periodicals for at least 30 days.
Wait for a response. Pursuant to the summons, the spouse has 30 days from the service to respond to the FL-100 petition. He can either respond by contesting the general terms of the divorce set out in the petition, if for example, he disagrees about custody or the amount of child support. Alternatively, he could agree to the terms and move forward with creating a marital settlement agreement and the filing of an uncontested Dissolution (FL-170). Or, finally, he could fail to respond at all, in which case after 30 days you would file FL-165, request to enter default, and move forward with your uncontested divorce.
File for judgment. With Form FL-170 (and FL-165 if the respondent defaulted), you'll want to file judgment (FL-180) and notice of entry of judgment (FL-190), the documents the court will actually use to make your divorce legally official.