Superior Court of California, San Bernardino County

Superior Court of California, San Bernardino County

Family Law General Information

The Family Law Division handles various actions such as Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce), Domestic Partnership, Legal Separation, Nullity, Paternity/Parentage, Guardianships, Child Custody and Visitation, Spousal and Child Support, Domestic Violence or Elder Abuse and Adoptions.

Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage

A married person may file for Dissolution of Marriage to end the marital relationship between a husband and wife. Along with restoring the parties to single status, the Court will issue orders for custody and visitation of the minor children of the marriage, child support, spousal support, and confirm or divide community and separate property assets and debts.

Rules for filing a divorce (Petition for Dissolution of Marriage) case:
  • One of the spouses must live in (1) San Bernardino County for at least 3 months and (2) in the State of California for 6 months immediately before filing the divorce petition.
  • The proper courthouse within San Bernardino County depends upon the residence of either of the spouses.

NOTE: You are not automatically divorced 6 months after you file your petition. You must complete the process and obtain a judgment signed by a judge or commissioner before you are officially divorced.

Domestic Partnership

Dissolution of a domestic partnership terminates the partnership. You must be a resident of the state of California, both parties do not have to agree to the dissolution and it takes a minimum of six months for this action to become final.

Legal Separation

A married person who wishes to maintain the marital status but separate and resolve all of other issues of the marriage may file for Legal Separation. The Court will issue orders for custody and visitation of the minor children of the marriage, child support, spousal support, and confirm or award community and separate property assets and debts. If the Respondent files a response to the paperwork and requests dissolution of marriage, the Court will grant the dissolution of marriage.

Rules for filing a legal separation or nullity of marriage case:
  • The proper courthouse within San Bernardino County depends upon the residence of either of the spouses.

Annulment

A married person who wishes to restore the parties to the status of unmarried persons or as if they were never married may file for Annulment. Certain conditions must be met before the Court will consider the marriage as void or voidable. Regardless of how the case proceeds, the Petitioner, the person who initiated the case, will have the burden to prove to the Court that one of the conditions for nullity has been met before the Court will grant the nullity of marriage. The Court can also issue orders regarding property and debt division, custody and support.

Paternity/Parentage

This action is filed by an unmarried mother or by an unmarried father who have minor children together. Through this action, the Court will determine paternity (or non-paternity if the father is found not to be the biological father of the minor children), and make custody and visitation as well as child support orders.

Rules for filing a paternity (Petition to Establish Parental Relationship) case:
  • The proper courthouse within San Bernardino County depends upon the residence of the children.

Custody and Visitation

In order for the court to address custody or visitation orders of their minor children there must be an underlying action. If the parents are married, either the mother or the father must first file an action requesting dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or nullity or file the petition for custody and support of minor children's action. If the parents are unmarried, either the mother or the father must file an action to establish the parental relationship or file the petition for custody and support of minor children.

NOTE: If the child has not been living in the State of California for the last 6 months, the California court may not have the authority to make custody or visitation orders. Please seek legal assistance or contact the Resource Center for more information.

How do I?

How do I file for divorce, legal separation or annulment?

Divorce can be complicated. We encourage you to talk to a family law lawyer so you will know your legal rights and the legal issues in your case.

How much is the filing fee for a divorce?

You will have to pay fees to file your forms with the court’s Clerk’s Office. You may qualify for a fee waiver if you meet the minimum requirements. Please see Court Fee Schedule.

Family Law FAQs

Q. If I live here and my spouse lives in another county, where do I file for divorce?

A. To get a divorce in California, you or your spouse must have lived in California for the last 6 months and for 3 months in the county where you are going to file for divorce.

Q. How long does it take to get a divorce?

A. The time frame for completion of a divorce varies by case. The shortest time frame is 6 months and a day from the date of service or filing of a Response. There are many steps to finalize a divorce.

Q. What if my partner does not agree to a divorce?

A. Both persons do not have to agree to the divorce. Either partner may decide to end the marriage and file the appropriate paperwork.