When you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, there are many decisions the both of you will need to make. Though it can prove to be difficult to agree on every aspect of your divorce, there are some couples who are luckily able to come to general agreements on most things like parenting and handling finances or properties.
In California, there are two general types of divorce, contested or uncontested. A contested divorce is when both spouses cannot agree on some or all the aspects of their divorce, meaning a trial will be held with a judge to examine evidence and call witnesses. This process is much more lengthy, emotionally draining, and expensive.
An uncontested divorce is where both spouses have reached agreements about all the major issues in order to end their marriage, allowing them to avoid going to trial or having to appear in court.
There are few benefits to an uncontested divorce:
- Usually less costly
- Less time required
- Control the outcome of the case
- Private and documents are kept from public records
Requirements for a Uncontested Divorce
The uncontested divorce process in California begins when one spouse files a petition for divorce. At first, a case may start out as a contested divorce, but with mediation or negotiation, both parties may find themselves compromising and agree on aspects of their divorce.
There are some criteria that must be met to get an uncontested divorce in California:
- One spouse must have lived the previous six months in California, and at least the past three months in the county where the divorce has been filed
- Both spouses need to be willing and available to sign all of the necessary paperwork
- Both spouses must agree on all issues in the settlement like division of property, spousal and child support, and child custody
A summary dissolution is a simplified uncontested procedure that is available when both parties agree and meet these requirements:
- No minor children
- Have not been married for longer than 5 years
- No property is involved
- Debts do not exceed $6,000
- No more than $41,000 of community property
- Neither party has more than $41,000 in separate property
- Neither party will be paying alimony
- Both parties have written their property division agreement
When you are unable to use the summary dissolution procedure, you must fill out the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage/Domestic Partnership, and Summons. These forms will be filed with the court clerk and you will be given a case file number. A copy of this filed petition needs to be delivered to your spouse, along with the Summons and a blank copy of a Response and Request for Dissolution of Marriage/Domestic Partnership.
There are various other forms to file when going through a standard dissolution, and a trusted California divorce lawyer will be able to help you through the process. If your spouse is uncooperative, does not respond in the time frame required, or fails to show up to court hearings, an important document to create is a marital settlement agreement.
This written marital settlement agreement will disclose how your property and debts will be divided, any owed spousal or child support to be paid, child custody details, and visitation rights for minor children. All of this can be streamlined with a divorce attorney who will provide a well-written agreement, as well as make sure forms are filed thoroughly and within the necessary time frame.
How Long Does the Process Take?
Like any divorce proceeding, this entire process takes at least six months from the initial date that one spouse has notified their spouse they are filing for divorce. If you are dealing with a contested divorce, this process can take much longer depending on how cooperative and proactive your ex-spouse is. There is a six-month waiting period that is required before the divorced is finalized.
Experienced Divorce Lawyers in San Jose
Regardless if you qualify for an uncontested divorce, it is still helpful to have a divorce lawyer by your side. Sometimes during a divorce, emotions begin to run high once it is time to talk about the final agreements and can cause trouble between the two parties. Having someone with experience and familiarity with divorce laws in California on your side can likely help you achieve the outcome you want from your divorce.
At Hann Law Firm, we ensure your rights and that your best interests are protected. We take a look at all potential factors and consider what is fair for all parties involved through your divorce. This is an emotional time for you and the rest of your family and our team works diligently to make this process easier for you while you start a new chapter of life.
Contact us today to request a consultation with one of our trusted divorce attorneys.