Divorce is something people are rarely prepared for. Filing for a divorce can be a lengthy process that interferes with your ability to embark on a new path for yourself. It can be filled with stress, emotional instability, insecurities about money, the outcome of the process, and your family’s future.
If you are living in the state of California, there is no law that dictates that you must go to court to get a divorce. However, trying to file for a divorce without the assistance of an attorney can add unnecessary complications to an already daunting process. An attorney helps to protect you by fighting for your best interests and ensuring that the whole legal process is done correctly.
If you and your spouse have not been able to come to your own agreements on the division of your assets, an attorney can help you work to establish a settlement agreement that they can file with the court so that there is no need for you to go into divorce trial.
Reaching a Settlement Agreement
Sometimes it is difficult to come to an agreement with your spouse about the division of your property, alimony, child support, or the custody of your children. These agreements, known as marital settlement agreements, cannot always be reached without professional assistance.
If you are having trouble coming to an agreement with your spouse, you might need to work with a mediator. A mediator can help you come to fair agreements with your spouse without the hassle of litigation in court. One of the many advantages of having a settlement agreement before going to court is the privacy and flexibility it offers. This could be especially important for individuals who do not want their private matters exposed to a public audience and for those who want to reach an effective consensus on their own schedule in a more familiar setting.
Whether or not an uncontested divorce is possible, you will still need to undergo a rigorous step-by-step protocol which includes:
- Showing proof that you meet all the residency requirements for the state. California requires that marriages filing for divorce have lived in the state for at least six months.
- Filing the petition documents with the court.
- Serving your spouse with copies of your divorce petition and other relevant paperwork.
- Filing proof of the divorce petition service.
- Waiting for your spouse to serve you back with their written declarations, which they must also file proof for with court.
“Serving” divorce documents means delivering the paperwork to a spouse through a third person and waiting up to 30 days to be served back with their completed documents as a response. These lengthy procedures have an additional waiting time of 6-months before the court determines your divorce as final. This allows couples to change their minds if they so wish. During this waiting period, you and your spouse can meet with a lawyer to work through a settlement agreement and gather all the necessary paperwork needed to finalize the process.
How can I get a quick divorce in California?
In uncontested divorces, marriages reach a consensus on how to divide their assets, and if they have children, they also arrange a custody agreement. Uncontested divorces have specific paperwork filing procedures that help the divorce be a quicker process. However, you must still expect it to take time. Having a mediator present as part of your marriage dissolution process can also increase the chances of your divorce resembling an uncontested case, helping you save time and money this way.
How long does it take to get a divorce if both parties reach an agreement in California?
Whether or not both parties agree on a divorce, the minimum amount of time a divorce takes to finalize in the state of California is six months. The 6-month waiting period is given to any couple considering divorce in case they decide to reconcile. This allows the court to be sure that the couple is making a sound decision. If both parties do not agree, then the process could take much longer. Some divorces can take up to a year and a half to finalize or more.
Can I get divorced without going to court?
If you are a resident of the state of California, you can legally get divorced without litigation. If you do not wish to have your case brought to court, it is important that a marital settlement agreement is reached between you and your spouse. However, you should not expect to be able to complete all the requirements and paperwork as swiftly without the help of an experienced attorney or mediator.
Can you get a divorce without the other person signing in California?
Once your spouse has been served divorce paperwork, they have a timeline of 30 days to respond to the court. If your spouse refuses to respond, the court will see this as a default response and the process can continue without their permission. Additionally, wanting to end a marriage is a valid enough reason to serve divorce paperwork to your spouse. The state of California is considered a no-fault state, meaning that one spouse does not need to prove abandonment, betrayal, or abuse inflicted by their spouse to finalize their divorce.
Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires
If you are living in or near Upland, California, the Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires can help. Providing compassionate assistance and support, you can trust that you will be working with an experienced family attorney who deals with all matters of family law and who has over 22 years of experience defending Southern California families during the hardest moments of their lives. Our office strives for outcomes that best serve our clients and will fight diligently for you and your family’s unique situation.
If you are just beginning the process of filing for a divorce or if you have already begun, our office can help you achieve the results you desire. Contact us today to get the expert legal representation you can trust.