The other party has not filed a response and the parties have not signed a formal agreement. All issues of the marriage must be addressed. These include identifying each party’s separate property and debt, dividing community property and debt, and addressing spousal support, child custody, visitation and support. The proposal must be fair and equitable and is presented to the court for approval. This process works well when the parties have been married for a very short period (2 years or less) and have no children, community assets or debts.
This is the easiest and most common way divorces in California are completed. In this situation, the parties reach an agreement settling all issues of their marriage and sign a Settlement Agreement. The Marital Settlement Agreement explains how the parties are resolving the issues, identifies separate property and debt of each party, and indicates how community property and debt is to be divided. The Settlement Agreement also states whether or not a party is to pay or receive spousal and/or child support. If there are children, the agreement describes the child custody and visitation arrangement between the parents. The Settlement Agreement is submitted to the court for ratification and approval. Most uncontested divorce proceedings are resolved by way of a Settlement Agreement, even in situations where the parties have no children, little property and few debts.
The parties are unable to reach an agreement and a Response has been filed by the other party. In this situation, it is necessary for the court to make orders about the disputed issues through separate hearings and/or a formal trial. Often these proceedings take many months or even years to complete.
How to Get Divorced in California – Lawyer or No Lawyer?
You do not need to hire a lawyer to file for divorce in California and the state offers several resources for people looking for cheap divorce help. In fact, many people have discovered that filing a divorce in California can be easily accomplished by using the services of a non-attorney legal document assistant such as A People’s Choice. Some people choose to prepare the paperwork without any professional help. This can be a little more complicated and difficult, but is not impossible for couples who have been married a very short time and have no property, debt or children.
Some couples may simply not be able to get through the divorce process on their own, and one or both parties may consider or actually hire a divorce lawyer. Before someone decides to hire a lawyer to handle their divorce, it is important they explore and exhaust all other possible options that may help the couple resolve their differences. Sometimes hiring a mediator to help the couple work through the contested divorce issues will bring a new perspective and is just that extra component that enables the couple to reach an agreement. It is unlikely to find a cheap divorce lawyer in California, and anyone that hires a lawyer to represent them in a divorce can expect to spend thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees by the time it is over.