California Divorce Papers
California law aims to make the divorce process simple and not to place unnecessary financial burdens on couples who wish to end their marriage or domestic partnership. It is still necessary to follow a certain set of legal formalities, though. Hiring a divorce attorney is only necessary if the value of your marital property is very high or if your disagreements with your spouse about child custody and parenting time are complex for a family law attorney to handle. Unfortunately, the self-service website and self-help center of the court system of many California counties offer basic California divorce papers that do not meet standard legal requirements. This makes it easy for one to get discouraged with the entire divorce process. In addition to the filing fee, a formal divorce process requires filing several divorce forms.
After your divorce petition is tabled, you need to find a neutral person that will deliver the information about your request for legal separation to your spouse. If you are seeking a dissolution of marriage, the California court system will also need you to show that you meet the state’s residency requirement. If you can’t afford a lawyer, check with your court’s self-help center family law facilitator to see if they can review your forms for accuracy. The family law facilitator is not your lawyer, but a neutral person who does not represent any party. Also, one of the parties has to prepare the judgment form with the appropriate attachments and submit it for signature. If you have a child support order, you should read and must attach this form to your judgment form, Form FL-180.
Also, in California, it is possible to have a non-attorney legal document assistant professionally prepare your California divorce papers for a lower price than what law firms charge during formal divorce proceedings. When working with a legal document assistant like A People’s Choice, you won’t need to access a fee schedule. Since California is a no-fault divorce state, filing your divorce records can be much easier than you think. Read on to know more about California divorce papers!
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How to File California Divorce Papers
Filing California divorce papers starts with filing a divorce petition. In the petition, you request that the court dissolve your marriage or domestic partnership, and you state your requests about property division and, if applicable, alimony, parenting time for minor children, and child support. You must formally serve the divorce papers to your spouse before a formal judgment gets made. Before a formal legal separation, both parties must agree to the division of community property and custody of minor children.
This usually involves having a professional process server deliver the papers to your spouse in person. Other techniques to deliver your divorce request papers include:
- Through your spouse’s mailing address
- Through a county sheriff, or
- Through a friend or relative
What happens next varies from one divorce case to another, and the California divorce papers required in your case may be different than those required in your friend’s case.
Once your spouse gets served with the papers, he or she has 35 days to file a response to the divorce petition. If your spouse disagrees with any of the requests you are making, the divorce judgment may take longer due to the legal issues presented by your spouse. If you and your spouse have agreed on the terms of your divorce before filing the initial petition, you can have an uncontested divorce, and there is no need for the non-filing spouse to file a response to the divorce petition.
If your spouse has requests that conflict with the ones you listed in the initial petition, you’ll have a contested divorce, and you will need to reach an agreement on the terms of your divorce, either through private mediation or trial. The advantage of mediation is that both parties can reach a formal settlement agreement for every community property and address child custody issues. The actual agreement may also entail outlining the parenting time of your children from the marriage.
During a formal divorce proceeding, the issue of children in marriage may always delay the whole process since substantial decisions concerning the custody of children have to get made. The custody of children is one aspect that can’t get overlooked during the entire process. Proper custody of children gives both parties peace of mind after the divorce process gets completed and a divorce decree is made.
Is There a Faster Way to Get a Divorce in California?
In California, the simplest divorce cases are eligible for a process called summary dissolution of marriage. A summary dissolution or annulment of marriage is a legal divorce, ending with a court order dissolving your marriage. However, the legal formalities required to get a court-imposed order are fewer if you qualify for summary dissolution. The following are some of the legal requirements:
- Less than five years from the marriage date to the date of final legal separation
- No children from your committed relationship
- Marital property valued at less than $45,000
- Neither party has separate property valued at more than $45,000
- Marital debts of $6,000 or less
- Neither party owns real estate
- Neither party requests spousal support
Keep in mind, filing a summary dissolution is not faster than a regular dissolution, and there are downsides as well. Also, the California divorce papers required for a summary dissolution from the divorce papers required in a regular divorce. Either way, even if you do not qualify for summary dissolution of marriage, it is usually easier to get divorced if you do not hire divorce lawyers or divorce attorneys.
A People’s Choice is the Best Solution for Affordable Divorce
A People’s Choice offers impeccably prepared divorce documents for a reasonable price. Contact A People’s Choice to get your divorce accomplished without paying a lawyer’s hourly rates.
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