If you can talk calmly with your spouse about your impending divorce, you are one of the lucky ones and may be able to consider an amicable divorce process. Even when both spouses feel relieved when they can finally express in words the wish to end the marriage, the conflicts often arise when you and your spouse have to agree on details about division of property. Despite that you and your spouse agree that you would both be happier apart, the hurt feelings will probably surface at some point during the process. One of the best ways to ensure that you and your spouse have an amicable divorce and do not end up as enemies is to agree not to get lawyers involved. Whether your divorce stays completely amicable or even if you end up with a contested divorce, it is a better idea to work with a California legal document assistant instead of a divorce lawyer, unless you want to pay thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees.
Contested and Uncontested Divorce in California
Uncontested divorce is not an exact synonym for amicable divorce, but it is pretty close. In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse have already agreed on all the terms of your divorce, such as whether one of you will stay in the marital home or whether you will sell it. Couples who do not have children together are more likely to file for uncontested divorce than couples that do. You can still file for uncontested, amicable divorce if you have children, but you also have to agree about parenting time and child support before you file for divorce.
These are the steps of an uncontested divorce.
- One spouse files the divorce petition. When the court receives the petition, it assigns you a case number.
- You formally present the divorce petition to your spouse, but your spouse does not file a response. Because of the lack of a response to the petition, the court knows that your spouse agrees to the terms outlined in the divorce petition.
- You and your spouse exchange information about finances and also share this information with the court.
- You and your spouse sign a marital settlement agreement.
- You request a divorce judgment, and the court officially dissolves your marriage.
By contrast, in a contested divorce, one spouse files a response to the other’s divorce petition. The parties must then reach an agreement somehow before they can sign the marital settlement agreement. This usually involves attending mediation, but sometimes the case goes to trial. Contested divorces are much more likely to require lawyers than uncontested divorces, but it is still possible to divorce without hiring a lawyer, even if your divorce is contested.
Perhaps the most amicable divorce of all is the summary dissolution of marriage. This type of divorce is quick and inexpensive, but it is only an option for couples who were married a short time, do not have children together, and do not own real estate.
A People’s Choice is There for You, Whether You’re in a Bitter or Amicable Divorce
Most people can end their marriages without hiring a lawyer, even if they have children together or have been married a long time. Contact A People’s Choice about your document preparation options for contested or uncontested divorce. Reach out to us today at 800-747-2780!
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