Marriage is supposed to be a beautiful thing, but life doesn’t always work like that. You may want to end your marriage if your spouse has strayed off if the marriage is simply making both of you miserable. For residents of Anaheim, Irvine, Newport Beach, and other cities in Orange County, CA, this means you’ll have to find out specifically how to file for divorce in Orange County.
Finding out how to file for divorce in Orange County can seem daunting, but this article seeks to address all your worries. You’ll need to keep the overall California divorce laws in mind as well as those specific to your area. Keep reading to discover how to file for divorce in Orange County.
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How to File for Divorce in Orange County?
In Orange County, as in the rest of the US, the term “divorce” refers to the legal dissolution of a marriage or a marital relation. However, you should note that Orange County is in the “no-fault divorce” state of California. No-fault divorce means the spouse with a divorce request doesn’t need to prove that their partner did something terrible to warrant a divorce trial.
What does this mean for you? To get a no-fault divorce, the filing spouse only has to state that the marriage isn’t going well. This makes things much easier for you if you’re the one filing the divorce papers.
Grounds for Divorce in Orange County, CA
You have to meet specific requirements before filing a divorce. Before you file for divorce, it’s a good idea to make sure you qualify in the first place.
Legal Reasons for Divorce in Orange County, California
In Orange County, you can pursue a divorce if:
- Irreconcilable differences have led to an irreparable marriage
- Your spouse is seriously and permanently mentally ill to the point of fitting the mental definition of insanity based on section 2310 of California’s Family Code.
If California was a fault-based state, the party seeking the marriage dissolution process would have to prove why they want a divorce on this ground. However, as a no-fault divorce state, the court in Orange County can grant a divorce settlement if you claim uncompromising differences with your partner.
Seeking divorce on the grounds of incurable insanity is extremely difficult and therefore isn’t very common. It requires proof through veritable psychology or medical report. The report must confirm that your spouse was truly insane during the divorce filing process and divorce judgment.
Residency Requirements to File Divorce in Orange County, CA
To file for divorce in Orange County, California, you need to meet some residency requirements. At least one of the spouses must have lived in California for a minimum of six months, and at least three months in Orange County before filing the divorce petition.
Divorce Cost in Orange County
What’s the average cost of an Orange County divorce process? First, to initiate the divorce process in Orange County, you’ll pay a $435 filing fee. A rough cost estimate for a very simple divorce stands at about $3,000. On average, divorce cases in Orange County cost between $5,000 to $20,000.
The truth is, when asked about the possible cost of divorce in Orange County, the most appropriate answer is “it depends.” No one knows precisely how much the court-supervised divorce negotiation process will cost for your specific divorce. Complexity and spousal antagonism increase divorce costs, as do the presence of minor children. If you include a divorce lawyer, the approximate cost goes up significantly.
What Determines the Complexity of a Divorce Case in Orange County, CA?
There are lots of factors that can cause a complex divorce, thus raising the cost of the divorce. The following factors determine the complexity of divorce in Orange County:
The number of real properties. Having more assets or properties makes a case more complex. It requires a long process of division of property and division of assets.
Child custody issues, if any. If the parties involved contest child custody and visitation, it could make the process difficult.
The relationship of the parties involved. You and your spouse are able to work together and cooperate, the process tends to progress faster.
A premarital divorce agreement. Any prenuptial agreement made before the marriage can complicate the common divorce process if one spouse now objects to the terms.
Domestic violence. Violence within the domestic partnership or marriage lengthens the process, as it calls for other legal processes, including potential family law intervention or even criminal charges.
Partial disclosure of financial information. If all the financial information, such as debts and community property assets, remains undisclosed at the start of the divorce case, it can cause problems later.
Failing to pay adequate attention to the list above can make a divorce case go from a walk in a park to a 10-mile run! The more complex the discovery process, the more the expenses.
How Long Does It Take to Divorce in Orange County?
In Orange County, dissolving your marriage license and acquiring a divorce decree takes a minimum of six months after the initial paperwork. Even after the divorce case has ended, the divorce process remains open until the judge signs the judgment of dissolution agreement.
Six months is the minimum time frame stated in the law in Orange County, CA. However, the process doesn’t have a maximum limit. Legal issues like these can cause the process to stretch out significantly:
- Lack of agreement on child custody and child custody evaluations
- Child support matters and child support guidelines
- Property division disagreements
- The distribution of an asset in question can lengthen the divorce process.
Consequently, the two parties involved need to agree to hasten the process.
What Are the Documents Required to File for Divorce in Orange County Court?
As with any legal process, there are certain documents associated with divorce in California. You need these additional documents when filing for divorce in Orange County:
A petition. A prompt to start the divorce process. A petition should list children, properties, and debt.
A summons. A document that informs your spouse the divorce case has started and what will happen if they don’t respond after 30 days.
A proof of serviced summons. A response document that confirms whether your spouse got the summons.
Note: For children below eighteen years, you’ll need to attach correct documents including the following:
- Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (This document states who had custody of the child before the divorce case)
- Child visitation and custody (Although optional, this helps determine who gets custody and how visitation will work after the divorce case)
Do You Need to Hire a Divorce Attorney in Orange County, California?
You and your spouse can decide to divorce without an attorney (an uncontested divorce). However, that can only work if you both agree on set terms to annul your marital status. As long as your divorce isn’t too contentious, you won’t need the services of a divorce attorney.
How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in Orange County?
As a California resident, you probably don’t need us to tell you that California is known for its high cost of living and taxes. As a result, divorce attorneys tend to charge higher fees here compared to other states. On average, in Orange County, divorce attorneys charge $350 per hour (this varies from one attorney to the next).
The complexity of the case also affects the amount charged for attorney fees. A more demanding and challenging issue may cause the lawyer to bill more hours.
If that sounds like too much, don’t worry! Alternatives to hiring divorce attorneys do exist. For example, you can opt for online legal document assistance services from providers like A People’s Choice. With our affordable services, you can file your divorce without paying exorbitant legal fees.
How A People’s Choice Can Help with Divorce in Orange County Court
With the emotional baggage and stress of legally tearing up marriage certificates, it’s challenging to go through the divorce process unscathed. It can be easy to get confused about paperwork when learning about divorce in Orange County. If you need professional help but want to avoid hiring a divorce attorney, you’ve come to the right place.
A People’s Choice offers a more straightforward and effective way to go about the divorce filing process. At A People’s Choice, we can take your divorce process and straighten it out with the help of our well-experienced team. With us, you won’t need an attorney; we provide affordable unmatched legal assistance by helping you file the correct individual forms completely and correctly. Just call us at 800-747-2780 to get started today.
Thank you for the thorough explanation of this process. I really needed it.
Just a short question is all I have. Is it true that the petitioner must move the divorce forward no later than one year after serving the summons on the respondent or the judge could potentially require a new start?
Each court has its own timeline that they follow regarding when a case should be scheduled for dismissal due to lack of prosecution.