Uncontested Divorce

Orange County Uncontested Divorce Lawyer

Dissolving a marriage can be complex, especially if the couple has disagreements about custody, child support, division of assets, spousal support, and other issues. If the couple cannot agree on these matters, they will need to take the case to court and let a judge decide on matters of disagreement.

If the couple does not have any disagreement, the legal procedure of a divorce becomes slightly less complex. You can continue reading to learn more about uncontested divorce in Orange County, California. 

What is an uncontested divorce in California?

An uncontested divorce is the dissolution of a marriage based on mutual agreement between the couple. When the divorcing couple agrees on issues such as the division of marital assets, child support, custody, spousal support, and other matters related to the divorce, there is no need for an adversarial litigation process. That is why this type of divorce is called an uncontested divorce.  

It is unsurprising that uncontested divorces are finalized in a shorter time than contested divorces. A contested divorce is prolonged and expensive and can take as long as 18 months to finalize in Orange County, California.   

How much does it cost to file for an uncontested divorce? 

In Orange County, California, the filing fee for an uncontested divorce petition is around $450; however, the cost can change depending on the complexity of the case. Most people hire a lawyer to file for divorce, so the lawyer fees will be an additional cost.

Uncontested divorces do not typically cost a lot compared to contested divorces, but hiring a lawyer can expedite the process and make it less stressful. Some individuals choose to represent themselves in court for the legal proceedings of an uncontested divorce. 

Couple Signing Some Divorce Papers

How long does an uncontested divorce take in California?

An uncontested divorce can take relatively less time to finalize than other types of dissolution of marriage or partnership. In Orange County, if you and your spouse both agree on the issues related to the divorce, filing the divorce paperwork and getting the divorce finalized will only take a few months. 

Either party is eligible to file for a motion of bifurcation before the divorce is finalized. The motion of bifurcation allows the divorcee to remarry before all martial issues surrounding the divorce are resolved. The judge can expedite the divorce process by allowing the divorcee to remarry and split the case into two or more trials depending on the number of pending issues. However, this can add more time to the uncontested divorce process. 

The Uncontested Divorce Process 

Uncontested divorces are less time-consuming because both you and your spouse have reached an agreement on all issues related to the divorce. You have to fill out family law forms and file them with the court. You cannot personally serve the divorce paperwork to your spouse if you are initiating the divorce. 

It must be served by someone over the age of eighteen and can be someone in your family or a friend. If you cannot find an adult to serve the papers, hire an Orange County Process Server. Your spouse is given a 30-day period by the court to submit a response. 

If the respondent (your spouse) fails to submit the paperwork, you can file a request for the case to enter default, where the judge gives a default judgment in your favor. There are Declarations of Disclosure forms that must be filed and exchanged by you and your spouse that discloses your finances, such as income, debt, expenses, and separate and community property. 

After the Declarations are exchanged, both of you can file the marital settlement agreement on matters such as child custody, spousal support, asset division, etc., and submit it to the court. The court can review the documents and give a judgment of dissolution. 

The entire divorce process is simple but it does involve mandatory paperwork that must be filed and submitted by you and your spouse. You can hire a divorce attorney to help you with the serving and submission of the divorce paperwork. 

Potential Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce

  • A collaborative divorce is relatively less costly due to a mutual agreement between the divorcing couple, which means less money spent on hiring lawyers and court costs. 
  • You can consult your attorney and negotiate with your spouse at your own pace without the court’s involvement. There are no trials to attend, and you can reach common ground on divorce issues such as division of finances and community property. 
  • In contested divorces, the divorcing couple has to disclose significant information regarding their private lives to battle in court and attain a fair judgment. Uncontested divorces are relatively private and confidential. 
  • Uncontested divorces reduce the chances of ongoing conflict, especially if you have children with your spouse. You may have to maintain contact with your spouse after divorce for the sake of your children, and uncontested divorces let both of you remain on good terms. 

Potential Disadvantages of an Uncontested Divorce

  • Without involving an experienced attorney or the fair judgment of the court, you may be agreeing to an unfair amount of alimony or lose a fair share of your community property. 
  • Not pursuing litigation for a marital settlement agreement can let you miss critical supporting information, such as fraud or misconduct committed by your spouse during your marriage. 
  • There is a chance that the evidence provided by your spouse is spoiled or false. You may not have discovery rights without involving legal assistance. 
  • You may lose child custody without filing a divorce petition with the court. 
Car Keys Laying On Divorce Papers

Requirements for a Summary Dissolution

Unlike a legal separation that does not end the marriage between you and your spouse, a summary dissolution is a petition signed by both you and your spouse to dissolve the marriage. A summary dissolution is a relatively shorter process than a divorce. It has the following requirements: 

  • Both you and your spouse must be California residents for at least six months before filing a summary dissolution. 
  • A summary dissolution involves the mutual decision of both parties regarding the irreconcilability of their marriage. 
  • Separate assets of you and your spouse do not exceed the amount of $40,000.
  • You do not have any minor children with your spouse. 
  • The community property owned by you and your partner is worth no more than $40,000. 
  • Neither you nor your spouse has a lease. 
  • You and your spouse do not own any real estate. 
  • A summary dissolution can only be pursued if the marriage duration was less than five years.
  • You both do not have any debts exceeding the amount of $40,000.  
  • Since marriage, you or your spouse do not have a debt of more than $6,000. 
  • Neither you nor your spouse plans to file for alimony. 
  • Both parties agree with the requirements of summary dissolution. 

How can Orange County divorce lawyers help you?

Hiring an Orange County divorce attorney can help you identify your priorities regarding the divorce so you know exactly what you want from it. They can also help expedite the process and handle all the legal paperwork. While you can represent yourself in court, hiring an attorney can help you review the divorce agreement and ensure that you are not settling for unfair terms.