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Step 2: File Your papers at Court

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After you have filled in all the information you need on your court forms, sign each one. Then, make at least three (3) photocopies of the full set of forms:

  • one copy for your files;
  • one copy for your former spouse or partner; and
  • one extra copy just in case one copy gets lost.
  • The court will keep the original forms.


Take the original and all three copies to the clerk’s office at the courthouse.
This can be done at the same time as the papers for the other court case are being filed.

  • For help finding the courthouse where you live, click here. Opens new window

There are fees for filing court papers. Before you go, call the court clerk or check the court’s website to verify the amount of the fee and method of payment allowed.

  • For information about filing fees in California, click here. Opens new window
  • If you cannot afford the filing fees, there are forms you may file to try to get permission not to pay all or some of the court fees and costs (a "fee waiver"). For more information, click here


After the forms have been filed and they have an “endorsedOpens new window stamp on them, copies of them need to be given to your former spouse or partner. This is called "service of process" and is a very important step in the process. To learn how to do this, click here.


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