After your divorce is final in California

You may need to take care of a few basic things after you get divorced. Most of them aren't part of the court process, like changing your will, insurance policies, or other legal or financial papers that include you and your ex-spouse or former domestic partner.


Later on, it's possible you may need to go back to court. For example, if you need to change a child custody or support order, or one of you doesn't do what your judgment says.

Practical steps

Contact the court to get a copy of your divorce Judgment, sometimes called a Decree.

Here are a few examples, but you may have other things you need to do:

If you went back to a former name, you can update your IDs and other legal documents. You'll need a certified copy of your Judgment.

To go back to a former name, fill out and file an Ex Parte Application for Restoration of Former Name After Entry of Judgment and Order (form FL-395). Get step-by-step instructions.

What if things change?

If something changes, like your income or the time you spend with your child changes, you may need to change what the judge ordered. 

If you agree on the change, you can write up your agreement and submit it to the judge to make it an order. How to submit an agreement to change:

If you don't agree, you can ask the judge to change the order. You'll get a court date where a judge will decide whether to change the order. How to ask the judge to change:

If your ex-spouse doesn't pay you what the judge ordered

If your ex-spouse didn't pay you your share of money 

For example, if the judge ordered your ex-spouse to pay you half the money from a bank account or sale of a car, but they don't send you the money, there are steps you can take to collect the money. The court doesn't collect the money for you. But, you can get orders to do things like have money taken from their paycheck or bank account.

How to collect money from your judgment

If your ex-spouse isn't paying support

If you aren't getting paid child support, the local child support agency can help you. If you have both a child support and spousal support order, they often help collect both.

If you only have a spousal support order, there are steps you'll have to take to collect the money. The court doesn't collect the money for you. 

If your ex-spouse isn’t returning property to you or not following through on other orders

If the judge ordered your ex-spouse to do something, like return property to you or take your name off of legal documents, you can go back to court and ask the judge to enforce the order. This can be complicated. Ask your Self-Help Center for your options.

success alert banner:

Have a question about Divorce?

Look for a "Chat Now" button in the right bottom corner of your screen. If you don’t see it, disable any pop-up/ad blockers on your browser.