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Frequently Asked Questions

Is this website really free?

Yes, it’s really free. You can watch our free video guides and they will provide you with easy to understand step-by-step instructions on how to do your own divorce without a lawyer. You can then fill out and print the court forms contained in our free Forms Database. File those forms with the court and get a divorce judgment. You don’t have to pay us anything.

What’s the catch?

There is no catch. If you Google “Free Divorce”, almost all of the websites you find are really designed to get you to pay for expensive legal services. They may give you some free information , but not enough to actually understand how to do your own divorce, and then they try to get you to hire their lawyers to prepare documents, run support calculations, go to court; etc. Our free videos actually explain how to do your entire divorce, from start to finish. Other “free” sites will show you a “free” court form, such as a divorce Petition, and after you have spent time filling it out, you can’t print it without providing your credit card information. All of our fillable court forms are absolutely free. We give you all the forms you need for free.

Why would you provide all these court forms for free?

All of the court forms are already free to the public. The California Judicial Council creates all of the court forms and posts those forms on their website in a fillable format. Anyone can access free court forms by going to the Judicial Council’s website. Other websites try to sell you these same forms. Even the courts sell these same forms that should be free to everyone. The Judicial Council has many hundreds of court forms on their website that apply to all kinds of legal proceedings. We have selected the forms most people need to do their own divorce and put those forms in our Court Forms Database. We have eliminated the need for you to sift through hundreds of forms. Our free Court Forms Database also includes completed versions of many of the forms. You can review the completed forms to get some idea as to what a completed form can look like.

If it’s free, why does your website have “Paid Packages”?

Almost all of our videos are free. We have a handful of video Paid Packages that explain in detail how to fill out certain court forms. Some people may want assistance filling out those particular court forms. For example, we have an “Initial Filings” paid instructional package for $20. If you elect to buy this package, you get three tutorial videos that will walk you through how to fill out the Petition For Dissolution of Marriage (FL-100), the Summons (FL-110), and the UCCJEA Declaration (FL-105). It’s a total of $20 for all three videos. You don’t have to buy the “Initial Filings” package. You don’t have to buy any package. If you don’t buy the “Initial Filings” package, you will still be able to find all three of these court forms in our free Court Forms Database. If you don’t buy the “Initial Filings” package, you will still be able to pull up each form, fill it out, print it, and file your completed forms with the court.

If all the forms are free, why would anyone buy one of the “Paid Packages”?

The videos that make up the Paid Packages contain valuable information and tips on how to fill out the various forms to your advantage. They are well worth the nominal $20 charge.

If I buy the Paid Packages, how much am I going to spend?

If you were to buy every Paid Package we have, it would cost a total of $100. That amount of money would buy you about 15 minutes of time with a good divorce lawyer. Few people will actually need every Paid Package we offer. The money we collect from the Paid Packages covers only a fraction of the cost of creating and maintaining this website.

What if I want to get Domestic Violence Restraining Orders, are there paid packages for DV orders?

No. All the videos and all the court forms on our website that relate to getting Domestic Violence Restraining Orders to protect you and your family are entirely free.

Are your court forms up-to date?

Yes. Unlike many other divorce related websites, we keep track of new and revised forms put out by the California Judicial Council. When a new form is issued by the Judicial Council, we quickly up-date our Court Forms Database.

Is the information about the law on the website accurate?

Yes. This website was created by two California divorce attorneys, Edward T. Sullivan and Christina Van Ness. We have over 50 years of combined experience with complex family law litigation and mediation. You can look us up on the State Bar of California website. The information on this website is the same information given to our own clients. Most divorce self-help businesses out there are run by paralegals that have never been to court and have very limited legal knowledge or worse, by people that have no legal training at all.

If I want to use to do my own divorce, how do I begin?

Watch the videos in numerical order. You can skip some of the videos if they don’t apply to your situation. If you are not interested in a Legal Separation or an Annulment, skip those videos. If you have a good job, skip the Fee Waiver video since you are not going to qualify for a court fee waiver because your income will be too high. If you don’t have minor children, skip the child custody video. If you are not sure if you should watch a video, watch it. It’s better to learn something you may not need to know, than to skip some critical piece of information. As you watch the videos, they will explain which court forms to fill out. When a video talks about a particular form or forms that you need, get those forms from the Court Forms Database. Fill out the forms. Then, watch the videos on how to file the forms with the court clerk and how to serve the forms. Essentially, the videos are step-by-step tutorials on how to do your own divorce from start to finish. There are over 70 videos, but some of the videos only apply to default divorce cases and some only to contested cases. Many of the later videos are about how to modify court orders after you are already divorced or are about how to obtain Domestic Violence Restraining orders. You are not going to have to watch all the videos.

What if I don’t need a divorce, but I want Domestic Violence Restraining Orders?

As explained in our series of videos on domestic violence, you don’t need to file for divorce to get Domestic Violence Restraining Orders. You don’t even need to be married to someone to get restraining orders against that person. You can get restraining orders against someone you used to date or someone you used to live with or against a relative. There are 17 different kinds of restraining orders including orders that tell someone to stay 100 yards away from you, move out of your residence, don’t call you, don’t harass you, etc. Under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, you can get child custody orders, child support orders, and spousal support orders even if you do not file for divorce. All of this is explained in plain language in our domestic violence videos, which are all near the very end of the Video Guides Database. Start by watching the first domestic violence video and then watch the rest of those videos in order. The videos will walk you through the process of how to get restraining orders. All of the domestic violence court forms you will need can be found in our free Court Forms Database.

Why are lawyers showing people how to do their own divorces and get domestic violence restraining orders for free?

Seventy percent of family law filings with the court are made by “pro pers” (people that are not represented by lawyers). Most people simply do not have the ability to pay a lawyer. These people need help. We are not taking business away from lawyers. The people that will use our website were never going to hire lawyers because they can’t afford to pay $400 per hour for legal advice. The laws, court procedures, and court forms are ridiculously confusing and absolutely overwhelming. So many people over too many years have lost valuable rights regarding custody of their children, rights to child support and spousal support, and rights to property, including their one half community property share of retirement benefits, because they did not understand how the divorce court system works. Too many people and their children have suffered from repeated physical abuse, sexual assault, and harassment, because they didn’t have the money to hire a lawyer to get the Domestic Violence Restraining Orders they need. Edward Sullivan began this project upon his retirement, and Christina Van Ness joined in, as a way to help thousands of people that desperately need help during one of the most difficult periods of their lives.

The information on this website is general information intended to help people that cannot afford legal representation.  Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.  Divorce laws are enormously complex and we can only cover in this website a very small fraction of all of the legal information you may need for your individual case.  Viewing the information on this site is not an adequate substitute for retaining an experienced attorney to represent you.  If you choose not to hire an attorney, you are putting yourself at risk and may lose important rights to property, support, and/or custody.  The information on this website is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.  Viewing the information on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.   Do not attempt to send us any confidential information or any information about your individual case.  Do not attempt to send us questions about your individual case.  We do not have the capacity to respond to questions about individual cases.  Any use of this website confirms you have read this disclaimer and agree to its terms.
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