Starting a contested divorce – Initial papers to be filed with the court. You start a contested divorce by completing and filing the same court forms you would file if you were filing for an uncontested divorce. You will file the Petition (FL-100) and the Summons (FL-110). If you have minor children by your marriage, you will also file the UCCJEA (FL-105). In the “Initial Filings” section of this website, we explained about these forms, all of which you can access by clicking the “Court Forms” button on the navigation bar that will take you to our Court Forms Database, where you will find the forms in a fillable format, so you can fill them out and then print the forms. In the “Initial Filings” section of this website, we also explained where you file the court forms and how to file the forms with the court clerk. We explained how to apply for a fee waiver. We explained how to serve the forms on your spouse. Read all of that information before you go any further.
After your spouse has been served with your “initial filings” paperwork, your spouse has 30 days in which to file their Response (FL-120) with the court. When your spouse files the FL-120 with the court, your spouse is required to also mail you a copy of the FL-120. If your spouse fails to file the FL-120 with the court within the 30 day time period, you can take their default. If your spouse fails to file a Response within the 30 day time period, review the “True Default Case” section of this website that explains how to take your spouse’s default and obtain a default judgment.