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How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in California

Uncontested divorce cases are those in which the spouses reach a mutual agreement on all aspects of the divorce. These aspects usually include money management, child support, and joint property management. These divorces are typically simple cases with a quick and easy resolution and, oftentimes, they have a smaller negative impact on the family nucleus.

Requirements for Filing an Uncontested Divorce Case

There are a few requirements that must be met in order to file for an uncontested divorce case in California. These include:

  • One of the spouses must be a resident of the state of California for a period of at least six months. Also, they must be a resident of the county in which they are filing for divorce for three months.
  • The cause or causes of the divorce must be differences of an irreconcilable nature.
  • There is a period of time of less than five years between the date of the marriage and the date on which the spouses file for divorce.
  • There are no outstanding debts of greater than $6,000
  • The marital assets are valued at less than $45,000 in total (including retirement and deferred compensation)
  • Both spouses have signed a settlement agreement to divide all assets and debts
  • Neither spouse requests alimony
How an Uncontested Divorce Case is Handled

These types of divorces can be handled without legal hearings, and even most scheduled court appointments can be canceled if a mutual agreement is reached. However, California law requires that -- regardless of the type of divorce -- the proper process must be followed. This requirement arises since contracting marriage is a binding legal act and its termination must be treated the same way.

It is important to note that until the legal process is complete, you remain fully financially responsible for your spouse. In addition to this, it is not possible to remarry if a legal divorce process has not been made official.

Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce

There are many reasons why a couple may elect to move forward with an uncontested divorce. They may include:

  • An uncontested divorce generally takes less time. Coming to a mutual agreement is generally faster since it is not necessary to appear in court.
  • The uncontested divorce is cheaper. Since this is a faster process, the costs are lower. For instance, the costs of a contested divorce can reach $15,000. On the other hand, those of an uncontested divorce can be between $1,000 and $2,000
  • It helps maintain control and privacy of the process. When the couple decides to cede control to lawyers and judges, they may lose the ability to shape the outcome of issues such as alimony, child support, and shared parenting.
Change From Contested Divorce to Uncontested Divorce

A divorce is considered “contested” when one of the parties does not agree with the proposed terms of the divorce. In the state of California, both kinds of divorce cases are common and it is possible to switch from one to the other by following the correct steps. If a case starts out being contested, you can change its status to uncontested through a hearing or negotiation.

Considering a Divorce in California?

The best way to handle a divorce case is step by step, regardless of its type. A divorce is a legal process that can be straightforward, but if it is not done well, it cannot be officially ended. It is always necessary to seek advice on the subject with a lawyer with experience in these cases. Here at SAC Attorneys LLP, we can answer all your questions and help you with everything you need to complete this process properly. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

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