Did your spouse hand you divorce papers when you least expected it? Have you been planning on divorcing your spouse for a while now and are at last prepared to take the first step? Was the decision to dissolve your marriage mutual but you do not know where to turn for support? No matter the unique circumstances surrounding your divorce, our California uncontested divorce attorney can help you.
Divorce is hurtful and messy in the best of circumstances. You and your spouse are mature enough to realize that the less you fight, the easier it will be for the both of you. You still care about your spouse- the two of you just cannot be together any longer. You have sat down together and discussed your future. You have actually come up with a plan. You both want to be fair. You just need someone to put the agreement down on paper.
An uncontested divorce is a divorce where the parties agree to the terms of the judgment even before the divorce paperwork is filed. The advantage is that the parties can avoid litigation; neither party ever appears in court, and because there is no litigation, the cost is substantially less. The disadvantage is that it requires each party to compromise. In order to obtain a settlement, each party must be flexible and make realistic demands from the other party.
An uncontested divorce is not appropriate for everyone. If you have a large estate, complicated legal issues, have an unreasonable spouse, or are a victim of domestic violence, an uncontested divorce may not be appropriate for you. In order to qualify for an uncontested divorce, the parties must agree on all the terms of the divorce, including: child support, spousal support, child custody, child visitation, attorney fees, division of property and division of debts.
Aspects of Your Divorce that You Will Need to Consider Include:
- Child support
- Child custody
- Property division
- Spousal support
- Debt distribution
It should also be mentioned that we will also want to first establish that divorce is truly what you or your spouse would like to do. In some cases, a legal separation, which functions much like a divorce but without the dissolution of the marriage, is actually what people desire but just do not know it.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in California?
California is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning that couples cannot cite the misconduct of either spouse as a reason for their separation. Instead, most divorces are based on the grounds of irreconcilable differences which have led to a substantial breakdown of the marriage. With that being said, fault may be considered by the courts as a factor when determining alimony awards or property division. Since fault is taken out of the equation, the only requirement for divorce is that at least one spouse must have been a California resident for at least 6 months prior to filing.
Community Property in California
A major aspect of divorce is deciding who gets what pieces of property and why. In California, most cases will consider anything gained during the marriage – whether it be a home, a savings account, or even debt – to be community property, or something that should be shared between the spouses. Items acquired before the marriage became official are considered separate property, but such items frequently become communal if they are modified in some way during the marriage. For example, if you had your own private savings account before marriage but add significantly to it during the marriage, your ex-spouse may be able to argue that it should be considered community property.
You may be able to determine how your property is divided without the initial intervention of the court. With an experienced divorce attorney, you can go through the process of equitable distribution, or determining what is most fair for the both of you. Keep in mind that all of your best laid plans will mean nothing until a judge signs off on it and issues a final decision.
Exploring Alternatives to Divorce
When a marriage is coming to an end, is divorce the only path ahead? Most people in California are not aware that there are actually other alternatives that might be better suited to their unique situation.
You may want to consider these lesser-known alternatives to divorce:
- Legal Separation: If you are not entirely committed to the idea of ending your marriage, you should talk to your divorce attorney in Orange County about legal separations. A separation is closely similar to a divorce and provides much of the same benefits, only it does not actually dissolve the marriage.
- Annulment: For some people, a divorce is not enough, and they require the marriage to be more or less stricken from all records. A successful annulment will effectively make it as though the marriage never happened. This can be beneficial for multiple reasons, including religious beliefs.