FL-141 - Preliminary vs. Final vs. Both

Question posted by another individual:

I served her and we’ve followed all the steps in the online videos, as per the Sac County roadmap and your website. She didn’t formally respond, which saved us another $400+.

According to the court, she can just hand me her copy, and I can send in both mine and hers of this form and FL-150 with copies to the court.

Here’s the confusing part…

They also said we can check either “one or both” of the Preliminary or Final check boxes on the form. My understanding is that it really doesn’t matter, as we’re not contesting anything, but I’m wondering if we should check both, the Preliminary, or the Final? It’s seems strange, but does checking, for example, just Final means something different than checking Preliminary or both?

Given that there’s no contest, is there some advantage to either of us to check Preliminary or does this mean we just have to send the court another form (and/or another FL-150) at some future date?

Apparently, there’s also the FL-144, which waives the Final requirement?

Your preliminary disclosure is absolutely mandatory, and it absolutely DOES matter that you check the correct boxes on FL-141. The “advantage” of checking the “preliminary” boxes on the form is that you can actually get your divorce. Not doing so will result in a rejection of your judgment.

With an uncontested, default with agreement, or true default type of divorce, your final disclosure is not mandatory and can be waived (with FL-144).

There is nothing per se wrong with checking both preliminary and final on FL-141; however, my standard practice is to only check the preliminary disclosure and then sign/file FL-144.

Preliminary disclosures are done ideally within the first 60 days of the case being opened. Final disclosures are done later on in the case, with the deadline being 45 days before trial. For cases that settle, final disclosures are usually not necessary, which is why there is the option of waiving them.

I appreciate the thorough response. We’ve filed the 141 and 150, and received them back from the court with the court stamp. We will now send in the FL-144.

According to the Sacramento Court’s Divorce Roadmap, there are additional forms that seem to be required

Since we aren’t interested or need a court hearing, it looks like the following forms need to be filled out, but it would be helpful if you can confirm some or all of this and/or offer some guidance. I couldn’t find any videos of these forms on your website.

FL-165 Request to Enter Default
FL-170 Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution
FL-180 Judgment
FL-190 Notice of Entry of Judgment

Then proof of Judgement, FL-335 Proof of Service by Mail

You will definitely need FL-170, FL-180, and FL-190. If this is a “default with agreement,” you will need FL-165. If this is an uncontested divorce, you will not need FL-165.

Thanks! Looks like no 165 is the appropriate path. Is there a way to pick the final divorce date or is this something the court decides? We’d like to delay the final, due to tax considerations. :slight_smile:

You can fill in the date marital status terminates on form FL-180 (there are two places to do so), and then on the attachments to FL-180, you can specify that you are terminating status as of X date.

Occasionally this might create some confusion with the clerk’s office, but if it’s rejected due to this issue, include a cover letter explaining that you’re intentionally agreeing to delay the marital status termination date.

Does form 141 have to be filed with the same court the divorce was filed in? What if my partner lives an hour away from the court, can it be faxed or mailed in? What if he does not submit it? What happens then?

  1. Does form 141 have to be filed with the same court the divorce was filed in?

Yes, you must file ALL documents in the same county. Certain larger counties will have multiple courthouses that accept family law filings, but most counties have one main family law department where filings occur.

  1. What if my partner lives an hour away from the court, can it be faxed or mailed in?

Some counties allow for electronic or fax filing. Most counties allow documents to be filed via USPS. You will need to check your specific county of filing’s website for your particular details.

  1. What if he does not submit it? What happens then?

He will not be able to obtain a divorce. Eventually, the case could be dismissed entirely.

I am the one filling for divorce and I have submitted all needed info. So if he does not submit that form the divorce I paid for will be dismissed?? How can I fix that?

If he has not filed a Response, you should proceed with taking his default and finalizing the case without his cooperation/participation. If he has filed a Response, you can file a motion asking the Court to waive his financial disclosures and/or to strike the Response to allow you to move forward with a default divorce.

Thank you!! You are so helpful!

What comes after the preliminary disclosures? I read somewhere we have to have an agreement drafted but what if we don’t own anything or want anything from each other? Are there any additional forms that are required in CA to finalize this?

Yet again… really appreciate the timely responses to my questions!

So, we’ve completed FL-144 and are moving on to 170, 180, and 190.

On 170, line 8b on the form has the following with two check boxes, “I ask the court to reserve jurisdiction to award spousal or partner support in the future to: _Petitioner _Respondent” Is it possible to check both boxes?

FYI, neither of us is currently interested in doing this, but I’ve heard from several sources that it’s unwise to select 8a, which waives all rights forever. If we can’t check both boxes, and if I’m the petitioner, for example, and am more likely to need support, would I check the petitioner box or the respondent box? Am I also correct that they need the original plus two copies and a return stamped envelop, as usual?

On 180, is there anything that needs to be indicated other than the standard stuff at the top of both pages, line 2 marked “Default or uncontested” (or do we leave this blank also)? There’s a similar question as on 170… 180, line 4j (both petitioner and respondent, or just one)? It looks like from the Roadmap that they want the original plus five copies.

On, 190, there’s the boilerplate top and bottom, no signatures required by either of us, and they want the original, plus two copies, plus two return envelops.

Since we don’t want to delay the final dissolution at this point, we’re going to let the clerk fill in the dates. :slight_smile:

  1. On 170, line 8b on the form has the following with two check boxes, “I ask the court to reserve jurisdiction to award spousal or partner support in the future to: _Petitioner _Respondent” Is it possible to check both boxes?

Yes. It is very possible. Checking both boxes means that either you or the other party can, with a change of circumstances, request spousal support in the future, so long as neither party has died and the requesting spouse has not remarried.**

  1. FYI, neither of us is currently interested in doing this, but I’ve heard from several sources that it’s unwise to select 8a, which waives all rights forever. If we can’t check both boxes, and if I’m the petitioner, for example, and am more likely to need support, would I check the petitioner box or the respondent box?

Sometimes it’s a good idea to permanently waive spousal support, and other times it’s not a good idea - it all depends on your situation. Someone who suffers from a chronic illness that has the potential to result in permanent disability would definitely not want to waive spousal support. For two individuals who have equal earning capacities (i.e. both graduated from nursing school the same year and have had identical work experience since that time) and still have minor children in common, it can be a good idea to terminate spousal support, as that takes a potential area of contention off the table for virtually no risk. Sometimes it’s the overall deal that makes it a good idea to terminate spousal support.

Whether or not it’s a good idea depends entirely on YOUR specific situation. Based on what you’ve previously shared though, you are seeking an uncontested divorce, which means that you and your spouse need to agree on whether or not to terminate support - you can’t just unilaterally make that decision for the other person.

  1. Am I also correct that they need the original plus two copies and a return stamped envelop, as usual?

I’m not exactly sure which document you’re referring to, but in almost all situations you submit an original plus two copies for filing, with a SASE.

  1. On 180, is there anything that needs to be indicated other than the standard stuff at the top of both pages, line 2 marked “Default or uncontested” (or do we leave this blank also)? There’s a similar question as on 170… 180, line 4j (both petitioner and respondent, or just one)? It looks like from the Roadmap that they want the original plus five copies.

FL-180 is your Judgment, your divorce decree, the document you use to prove that you’re divorced. It is a Court Order. So your agreement needs to be incorporated in your FL-180, and you need to fill out the form accordingly.

If the respondent never responded to the petition & he was served all preliminary documents & he failed on every end. Does the petitioner still need to have him served final disclosures? Or can that be waived if there is no agreement he’s in jail for DV & I have a criminal protective order

If you served the preliminary disclosures, the final disclosures can be waived.