After the Case
Your divorce or dissolution of registered domestic partnership will not be final, and you cannot marry again or enter into another registered domestic partnership, until you have a final court order signed by the judge. This is called the Judgment.
When the judge signs your Judgment form (Form FL-180), the court clerk will mail a copy of a Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form FL-190) to you and your former spouse or domestic partner.
Then the clerk will mail copies of all of the forms submitted back to whichever person filed them.
The person who receives all of the copies of these forms needs to serve one copy to his or her former spouse or partner.
- Remember: You cannot serve your own papers.
You have to ask someone who is 18 years old or older to serve the papers for you.
- These papers can be served by mail or by personal service.
A Proof of Service form needs to be filed with the court for the court process to be over.
It is important to save your copy of the Judgment (Form FL-180) in a safe place.
Then, if you ever need to show how and when your former marriage or registered domestic partnership was ended you can do it easily.
- Real Estate: If one spouse/partner got property in the judgment, he or she must sign and deliver a new deed for this real estate. The deed should then be recorded. He or she should consider having an attorney help with this process.
- Motor Vehicles: If one spouse/partner got a car in the judgment, he or she must file a Department of Motor Vehicles form to change title to the car.
- Retirement Benefits: The Judgment may give one spouse or partner the right to part of the other spouse's or partner's "retirement benefits" in the future. In that case, an additional court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (or "QDRO") must be filed.
- The QDRO must be approved by both the benefits provider and the judge in order for the spouse or partner to receive those future retirement benefits.
- This is not a standard court form. Consider getting help from an attorney to file a QDRO.
- Name Change/Identification Cards: If the Judgment includes an order changing a spouse/partner's name, he or she should will need to have new identification cards issued. These might include a driver's license, social security card, or immigration documents.
After the judgment ending your marriage or registered domestic partnership is signed and served:
- Each spouse or partner should consider whether he or she wants to change the beneficiary's name on his or her will or life insurance policy.
- Any credit card accounts that list both spouses or partners should be closed and new ones opened in each name alone.
- Employers need to be informed when the marriage or domestic partnership ended so each person can change his or her income tax withholding status, or the name of the beneficiary for any employee benefits.
- If support is to be paid by wage assignment, a filed copy of the wage assignment is to be sent to the payroll department of the paying person's employer.
- If you were on your former spouse's or partner's health insurance, his or her employer may be required to give you the option of continuing this insurance at your own expense. These are called COBRA benefits and may be something you want to look into. If you want to continue these benefits at your own expense, you only have 60 days from the date of the Judgment, so you have to move quickly or you will lose your rights.