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What is Considered an Uncontested Divorce

— July 26, 2022

In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on the issues required to end their marriage.

Many types of divorce exist. However, in California, there are only types: contested and uncontested. A contested divorce is when a spouse disagrees on some or all aspects of a divorce.

This means that the judge will hold a trial, where witnesses will be called, and evidence will be examined to support the claims. It is a long process. On the other hand, an uncontested divorce is much faster and cheaper.

In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on the issues required to end their marriage. This means that there is no need for a judge to hold a trial. In both a contested and uncontested divorce proceeding, a spouse can opt to receive professional help from a divorce lawyer. A divorce attorney Orange County can help spouses understand complex issues or learn more about unanswered questions.

Uncontested Divorce Summary

There are some requirements you must meet if you opt for an uncontested divorce in California:

  • Both spouses willingly sign all the necessary paperwork and are available when needed to do so
  • They agree on all settlement issues, including property division, child support, spousal support, and child custody.
  • Under Family Code 2320 (2021), one spouse lived in the previous six months in California and three months in the county where the divorce case is filed.

You have to work with your spouse on a written marital settlement agreement (stipulated judgment) to deal with your divorce issues, including your debts and division of property, alimony or spousal support, child support, and child custody (if children are dependent or minor).

The marital settlement agreement must be in line with California’s child support guidelines if you have children. The alimony is a written contract that binds you and your spouse and must be notarized after completion.

If you have some issues understanding the spousal support contract or can’t reach an agreement, you can request the help of a mediator/divorce lawyer. They can help you do all the paperwork accordingly. 

Completing the Uncontested Divorce Process

Image courtesy of Shutterbug75 via Pixabay,

Once your marital settlement agreement is completed, you need to file the initial paperwork with the court to initiate the uncontested divorce. From here, the person who files the divorce petition will be known as the petitioner, while the other spouse is the respondent.

The petition will include basic information about the couple, what you seek, and the legal grounds/reasons for divorce. If you have children under 18, additional forms must be completed related to custody and child support.

The petitioner must inform the respondent with copies of the divorce through the help of a third party that will deliver the papers. Your case will be labeled as either an uncontested or default case depending on whether your spouse responds.

If you receive a response to your petition, the case will proceed as an uncontested divorce. Either one of both spouses can turn in the final forms to the court to ask for a divorce judgment.

These final forms will have information about what you want the court to make about your property, spousal support, debt, child support, and custody. In most cases, the judge will approve the agreement and sign the divorce judgment, but if any problems arise, the judge can ask the spouses to correct the agreement or other paperwork. The divorce will be finalized after a six-month waiting period starting from the petition’s service.

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