What is service of process and why do I need proof?

Getting a divorce takes time, money, and patience. One of the ways your patience may be tested is the numerous forms and steps that it takes to properly start the dissolution time clock. Remember, in California, the earliest a divorce can be finalized is six months after the dissolution filing is complete. 

The first step is for one party to file these forms:

  • Petition — Marriage/Domestic Partnership (Form FL-100). On this form, you give the court some basic information about your marriage and/or domestic partnership, and you ask for the orders you want the court to make.
  • Summons (Family Law) (Form FL-110 | video instructions ).  This form contains important information for you and for your spouse or domestic partner about the divorce or separation process. It contains some standard restraining orders limiting what you can do with your property, money, and other assets or debts

The second step is to serve these forms on the opposing party (or spouse) and both give them a blank response and file something called a Proof of Service of Summons form:

  • Fill out the Proof of Service of Summons (Form FL-115).  
  • Give the Proof of Service to you. If your spouse/partner was served by mail and Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt, make sure your server also gives you the Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt — Family Law(Form FL-117). 

What if you forget to fill out the Proof of Service of Summons?

After service is made, proof of this service must be filed with the court within 60 days of completion of service. However, if the opposing party appears in the action by filing a responsive pleading, this step is not necessary.

If service occurs after the filing of the petition and summons, then a Proof of Service can be filed as a separate document.  There will need to be a caption on this form because the court cannot add to your case file without a caption.   

The filing for dissolution is not complete until this step has been taken. You can contact me at Amanda@gordonfamilylaw.com for more information.