This page features several of the top Frequently Asked Questions FAQS and Answers about filing for a divorce in California.
FAQS Contested vs Uncontested Divorce
What is a contested divorce?
A contested divorce is when the parties involved cannot come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce. When it is contested an attorney needs to represent you in court so that the judge can use the law to divide your property, assets, and child custody.
What is an agreeable divorce?
An agreeable divorce (uncontested divorce) is when both parties can agree on all aspects of the divorce and do not need an attorney or judge to help them divide their property or custody.
What if I have a contested matter?
Unfortunately, you may require the assistance of an attorney. Most counties require that a hearing be set to finalize all the issues of a divorce when there is no agreement. Since we are a paralegal service providing document preparation, we are unable to give legal advice. That does not mean that you cannot proceed on your own, but because of the legal system and depending upon your particular circumstances it may be prudent to obtain legal counsel.
Do I need to appear in court?
When you and your spouse can agree on the terms of the divorce you do not need to appear in front of a judge. A judge’s job is to use the law to help you divide your property, custody, and the terms of your divorce. Since you are agreeable that is not necessary.
How long does a divorce take?
In the State of California, no parties can be restored to single before 6 months and 1 day. If you choose to do an agreeable divorce and follow the timeline for documents filed with the court, you can be divorced in 6 months and 1 day from the date your initial documents are signed by or served to the other party.
FAQS Agreeable Divorce Process
I can obtain legal documents from the court. Why do I need your service?
That is correct, you can obtain the legal documents from several sources. However, the court will not assist you in filing the documents. You are obtaining our services for the experience and expertise we possess in knowing the practices and procedures of your particular county and how to file the documents with them. Some services do provide instructions on how to file, but if there is an error when you go to file them the clerk will not help you. You would not want to get to court and then find out you did not check the correct box or you have the wrong document. Our certified paralegal in Orange County will make sure your documentation is prepared thoroughly.
What are the benefits of an agreeable divorce?
With an agreeable divorce, you can divorce with terms that are beneficial to both parties. You and your spouse can divide your property, assets, and custody in a way that is specific to your needs versus how a judge would mandate you to handle your separation. The process will also save you time, as you do not need to visit court or an attorney’s office. It is also more cost-effective as the fees are less than a traditional attorney would charge.
How do I make an agreement with the other party?
The two of you are the only ones who know what you have. The best way is to make a list of everything that you have acquired during the marriage and then list who will get that asset. You can make the terms vague or specific for example: a vague agreement for custody and visitation would be stated “by mutual agreement of the parties” or you can be specific by stating “every other weekend from Friday at 5:00 p.m. to Sunday at 5:00 p.m.” The court has guidelines for child support and custody but you do not need to agree with those guidelines as long as the two of you agree with it.
What if we haven’t been married long and don’t have property or children?
If you’ve been married less than 5 years and do not have property or children you may qualify for something called a “Summary Dissolution”. This is a different way to obtain a divorce where neither party would pay spousal support and doesn’t have assets to divide.
FAQS Finalization of Divorce Process
What if I have already started the process with someone else or started and paused and need help finishing the divorce?
As long as both parties are agreeable, we can pick up where you left off and help you through the process. If you retained an attorney your attorney of record will need to be substituted out to allow the process to proceed as uncontested.
Do I need to pay the court fees again?
If your case is still open and has not been dismissed you will not need to pay the court fees again. Our office will ask you for your case number so we can check the status of your case and put together a game plan on how to proceed in finalizing.
Specializing in Uncontested Divorces - Paralegal Orange County
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Providing certified paralegal services for divorce in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Diego County, and San Bernardino County at affordable flat rate fees. Please read what our clients have to say about our services. More FAQS – feel free to contact us if we have not addressed one of your questions about getting a divorce in California.