Divorce is stereotypically known for being a long, grueling process full of disputes and court dates. Luckily, this does not always have to be the case. In California, there are two main types of divorce: contested and uncontested. With some divorces, the environment between both parties is amicable enough that they can speed up the process by going through what is known as an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties agree on all issues without disputes.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
If both parties agree that their relationship is beyond reconcilable, they can get an uncontested divorce. In California, the requirements to file for an uncontested divorce include:
- Both parties agree that the relationship is not repairable. They agree that things such as couple’s therapy or mediation will not help their situation and that splitting up is the best option for both of them.
- Both parties must be willing to sign all the necessary paperwork on their own free will.
- Both parties must be able to agree on different issues of their divorce, such as property division, child support, child custody, and more.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
A contested divorce, on the other hand, is a divorce that is not very amicable and has to go to court to have decisions made. Unfortunately, divorce can bring out intense emotions in everyone involved, which can make coming to an agreement even harder. This results in consistent court dates to make decisions. Because of this, the contested divorce process can take much longer than an uncontested divorce, sometimes taking over a year to complete.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?
While every divorce is different, the uncontested divorce process in California requires a six-month mandatory waiting period to process the case. During this waiting period, many couples try to finalize their agreements and paperwork so that when it is time for the court to make a judgment, they can speed up the process by already being ready. After the court makes its final decision and approves your divorce and the agreements you came to, the divorce can finally be closed. For many people, the uncontested divorce process can end in six months.
The Process of an Uncontested Divorce in California
The process of an uncontested divorce is much simpler than that of a contested divorce. The process is as follows:
Make Sure You Meet All Requirements
Before filing, you need to make sure that you and your partner meet the requirements to file for an uncontested divorce. In addition to meeting the requirements listed above, you both must also be residents of California. This means that you both must have been living in California for at least six months to qualify for a divorce in the state.
File for Uncontested Divorce
Once you have verified that you and your partner meet all the necessary requirements, you can find the required paperwork and file for an uncontested divorce. You will have to pay a small fee with your paperwork when you file. From there, you will enter a waiting period until you hear back with a judgment for your case.
While you are in the waiting period, you and your partner may discuss different aspects of your divorce and try to come to an agreement on them to help speed up the process. One of these three things must occur to receive a judgment and finalize your divorce:
- If you and your spouse have come to an agreement on each aspect of the divorce, you can create a written agreement to alert the court and receive judgment.
- If you and your spouse are struggling to make an agreement, you can alert the court and they can make the final judgment for you.
- If your partner is not responding to any aspects of the divorce, it can be handed over to the court to make the final decisions.
Final Settlement and Closure
In the final steps of the divorce process, the couple will file a formal Marital Settlement Agreement, which states the agreements they have made. From there, the court will make its final judgments on the case and verify these agreements. To finalize the divorce, your attorney will file what is known as a “Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage,” which includes the court’s final judgment and the agreements you and your partner came to.
How Can a Lawyer Help You in an Uncontested Divorce?
Uncontested or not, having an experienced attorney on your side can make the divorce process much easier on you. During an uncontested divorce, you are most likely still grieving your relationship and going through the difficulties that come with separation. By working with a divorce attorney, you can receive support and guidance throughout the process while also understanding how the law will work throughout your divorce. Your attorney can help you find and file the correct paperwork and navigate you through your divorce, helping keep the process efficient. An attorney can also assist you and your partner in coming to agreements so that you can avoid judgments having to be handed over to the court.
Q: How Fast Can a Divorce Be Finalized in California?
A: California has a mandatory waiting period of six months, so the fastest it can be finalized is after those initial six months. This will usually happen only in cases of an uncontested divorce where both parties fully agree on all aspects of the divorce. This will avoid lengthy court appearances and other factors that can slow the divorce process.
Q: How Much Is a Divorce in California If Both Parties Agree?
A: While there is no specific total for the cost of an uncontested divorce, it is much less expensive than a contested one. This is achieved because both parties avoid consistent court disputes and other costly legal issues. The more the process can be shortened, the less expensive it will be for both parties.
Q: What Happens If Both Parties Can’t Agree on Something in an Uncontested Divorce?
A: If the parties involved cannot come to a compromise on issues, then these issues will most likely be handed over to the court for final judgment. Hiring an attorney can help both parties discuss their options and reach a resolution to their problems. This way, they can avoid a situation where they have to live with the result of a court decision.
If you or a loved one is looking for assistance while going through an uncontested divorce, our team at DeArmey Law can help you through it. To learn more about our divorce attorneys and the services we offer, reach out to our firm today.