In California law, it is possible to get a divorce or dissolution of marriage in one of two ways, either an uncontested divorce or a contested divorce. The petitioner is the one filing for a divorce, whereas the respondent is the other spouse.
When the spouses disagree on a particular aspect of the divorce, it is called “contested.” A judge will have to convene a trial to evaluate the facts and summon witnesses. However, an “uncontested divorce” is when both spouses have reached a mutual understanding about all aspects of the divorce. As a result, there is no need for a courtroom or judge to be engaged.
An uncontested divorce is possible if you believe you and your spouse can reach a mutually acceptable agreement. But before you file one, it is essential to understand everything about uncontested divorce, like its benefits and the steps involved.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
An “uncontested divorce” is when both parties have a mutual agreement on all of the fundamental issues involved in the divorce process. It includes property division, debt division, child support, and custody.
No-fault divorce laws allow spouses to end their marriages without lengthy court proceedings. It happens when one spouse files a divorce petition, and the other spouse responds. However, the couple has reached a written agreement that addresses all issues. A judge must approve and sign the agreement for the divorce to be final.
What Are the Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce?
To get an uncontested divorce in California, spouses must fulfill a few procedural conditions. These are the requirements:
One spouse must have lived in the county where the divorce case was filed for three months. The other must have been a California resident for a minimum of six months by the time of finalization ((Cal. Fam. Code § 2320 (2021)).
Both spouses must be cooperative to sign all the necessary paperwork.
The settlement of all matters, including property division, spousal support, child support, and child custody, must be agreed upon by both spouses.
What Is The Procedure For An Uncontested Divorce
Here’s a basic rundown of what happens at the very beginning of a California uncontested divorce case.
The first step in the Los Angeles divorce mediation or litigation process is to submit a divorce petition. This petition explains to inform the court of your goals and their rationale.
Additional documents are required for child custody and visitation if children are involved. Also included is an inventory of all assets and liabilities amassed throughout the marriage.
A filing fee is necessary when requesting a divorce in California. The petitioner may obtain a fee waiver if this isn’t feasible. Depending on approval, the petitioner may file the documents for free if the court accepts the waiver.
The next step is to have the divorce papers served by a third party. The case will be considered either default or uncontested, depending on the response from the spouse.
Default Case with Written Agreement
It is possible to file for a divorce by default if the responder does not answer within 30 days. It’s essential that the documents be properly served to the spouse and that the 30-day waiting period has passed.
The judge will sign off on the agreement and issue a divorce judgment. The divorce will not be finalized until the respondent has been served with the petition. (Cal. Fam. Code § 2339 (2021)).
Uncontested Divorce With Written Agreement
To request a divorce judgment, either spouse must submit final forms to the court. It includes orders for property and debt, spousal support, child support, and final papers. If the spouse responds to the petition, the divorce case will be considered uncontested.
The judge will sign the divorce ruling after approving the settlement arrangement in most cases. However, if there is an issue with the agreement, the court will ask both parties to correct it.
Obtaining an Agreement
A comprehensive marital settlement agreement/judgment is essential for an uncontested divorce. It should specify how property and debts will be split. The agreement must include a written parenting plan if the couple has children. It should consist of details on time-sharing and how the decision-making will affect the children. Alimony, or spousal support, must also be included in the agreement.
After the agreement is signed, it will be notarized. To ensure that all documents and the arrangement are correct, involved parties may request notary services. If there are any challenges, a mediator can help both spouses reach an agreement.
What Are the Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce?
Divorce expenses are one of the critical advantages of this divorce type. The expedited divorce process involves cheaper court charges and lower attorney fees, making it a more cost-effective option.
In most cases, uncontested divorces will preserve the relationship between the spouses. They require the spouses to work together towards a common goal. It usually results in a stronger relationship.
When spouses work together to settle, they are more likely to comply with the orders once the divorce decree is final. Understanding the reasons behind a child and spousal support attorney and his or her’s take on custody, support, and visitation orders leads to less bickering, resulting in fewer court hearings.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce does not need an expensive and time-consuming legal battle. Still, it’s a good idea to get a lawyer. There are a few reasons why you should retain the services of an attorney even if your divorce is uncontested.
If you reside in the San Fernando Valley, a divorce attorney in Woodland Hills like Leon F. Bennett will advocate for your rights and negotiate for you when there are issues during uncontested divorce proceedings.
A lawyer can help you ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly and received on time. It will ease your burden. You can also ensure that your interests are protected in a complicated system.
If an uncontested divorce is contested, legal representation can be beneficial. Divorce can be a complex process, and it does not always work out the way we expect.
It is possible that you won’t need to go to court if your divorce is uncontested. It will depend on the case. A judge can issue an order through the mail if a marital settlement agreement is filed and requested for an informal hearing, a formal hearing, or both, if necessary.
As you fight your divorce case, it is best to seek the advice of legal counsel. You will need one regardless of whether you are going through a contested or uncontested divorce. Contact the Law Offices of Leon F. Bennett now to learn more about the process.