How to Get a Painless Divorce in California Without Lawyers
Most of the divorce process is just paperwork. In an age when half of all marriages end in divorce, filing for divorce is almost as streamlined a process as filing income tax returns. Here is an overview of how a painless divorce case works when neither spouse hires a lawyer.
- One spouse files a divorce petition, containing their requests for the terms of the divorce. The court assigns a case number to the divorce.
- The petitioner spouse notifies the other spouse by serving them with a copy of the divorce petition. If you do not know the address of the other party, you can ask the court to publish the divorce petition in the local newspaper.
- Both spouses supply the court with information about their joint and separate assets, income, and expenses.
- The spouses sign a marital settlement agreement, in which they agree on the terms of their divorce.
- The court issues a judgment of dissolution of marriage. Your divorce becomes official as of the date listed in the judgment.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
The most painless divorce process in California is an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, the couples do not file separate documents detailing their separate requests. Rather, the parties identify the issues of their marriage in a marital settlement agreement that they both sign. In other words, in an uncontested divorce, there is nothing for the judge to decide because the parties agree. The judge simply gives official legal recognition to the couple’s divorce. Your divorce can be final in as little as six months and one day after serving the divorce petition on your spouse.
If your divorce is contested, it does not always mean that you need to hire a lawyer. A contested divorce usually involves more paperwork and one or more hearings in front of a judge. You and your spouse might be able to agree between yourselves with the help of a mediator. You can then finalize this agreement with a marital settlement agreement. If you still cannot agree, though, hiring a lawyer or representing yourself at trial are your only choices.
Divorce Does Not Have to be Expensive or Stressful
You do not need to pay a lawyer’s expensive fees just to get your divorce forms, but it does help to have them professionally written. Contact A People’s Choice to have your divorce documents prepared by a registered legal document assistant, who is licensed by the state of California to prepare legal documents professionally but does not charge nearly as much as a lawyer. Call us at 800-747-2780 for information about how we can help.
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