Many couples filing divorce in California hope to qualify to file an uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorces are less costly and usually don’t require court appearances. However, an uncontested divorce is not right for everyone. For example, sometimes couples with complicated legal issues are unable to reach an agreement. In other cases, one of the parties may be unwilling to compromise. Read on to find out if you qualify to file an uncontested divorce in California.
How to Qualify for an Uncontested Divorce in California
In order to qualify for an uncontested divorce in California, either:
1) The parties must agree on all the terms of the divorce, OR
2) The respondent (non-filing party) must fail to appear in the case and the issues of the divorce are settled unilaterally with approval from the judge.
If the parties reach an agreement, it must include all the following issues:
- Child support;
- Spousal support;
- Child custody;
- Child visitation;
- Division of property; and
- Division of debt.
Assuming both parties can agree on all of these issues, neither should have to set foot in court.
Typically, the court will automatically approve the terms of an agreement signed by both parties even if it does not comply with California’s guidelines for child and/or spousal support. Additionally, the agreement will usually be approved even if the division of assets and debt is not equal.
If the divorce proceeds unilaterally by the petitioner, or the party who filed the divorce, without an agreement from the other party, the court will require additional forms to complete the case. A case in which one spouse assumes all decision-making responsibility is called a “true default” case.
In order to get a final judgment in a true default case, the filing party must send supporting documentation to the court. Specifically, they must substantiate their proposed request for child and/or spousal support and the proposed division of property and debts. Then, the judge will decide whether to approve the proposed terms. In this situation, the judge will scrutinize the proposal more carefully than they would a terms of an agreement voluntarily signed by both parties. This scrutiny ensures fairness to the party who has not appeared in the case, especially regarding division of assets and debts.
Low-Cost Self-Help Legal Document Preparation for Uncontested Divorce in California – A People’s Choice
If you are considering filing for divorce in California and want to avoid the high cost of attorney’s fees, contact A People’s Choice for low-cost legal document help. Although we cannot give legal advice, A People’s Choice can help you prepare all the required legal documents to help you finalize your divorce without hiring a lawyer.
If you need more information about divorce or the California divorce process, do not hesitate to call our office. A People’s Choice has been providing self-help legal document services for over 40+ years and has established an excellent reputation in the community. When you are ready to go ahead with your paperwork, you can provide us with your information on our convenient online system, over the phone, or in person.
Keep in mind that A People’s Choice can prepare all necessary documents, including any local forms for your California county. Inquire today by calling 800-747-2780.