Talking to Your Spouse About Filing for Divorce in California

Making the decision to end a marriage is never easy. Often, the most difficult step in the divorce process is telling your spouse that you want to end the marriage. If you are aware of your rights and responsibilities and are familiar with the California divorce process, the first conversation with your spouse may be easier.

Know Your California Divorce Options Before You Have a Conversation

Before talking to your spouse about filing for divorce, you should be somewhat familiar with how divorce works in California. Three types of divorce procedures are available to California couples: contested, uncontested, and summary dissolution of marriage.

An uncontested divorce in one in which neither party objects to a divorce, and the parties have agreed on all the details of the separation, including child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, and division of marital property.

Summary dissolution is a streamlined process for an uncontested divorce in which the parties have no minor children, do not own any real estate, have less than $6,000 in marital debts, and own marital property valued at less than $45,000.

A divorce is contested when the parties cannot agree on the issues outlined above.

When first presented with the idea of getting a divorce, many people immediately think of long, drawn out court cases and thousands of dollars in legal fees. It is important to let your spouse know that the divorce process can be fairly simple and inexpensive if you are able to reach an agreement in advance.

Resources Available to California Divorcing Couples

There are resources available to couples contemplating a divorce. These professionals can help the couple discuss the issues that led to the breakup, and can help work out a custody, visitation, and property settlement that both parties can accept.

Marriage and Family Counselors – A marriage counselor will not be able to advise the couple on the legal aspects of divorce, but can help them understand each other’s feelings, and can help them deal with the emotions that both will be feeling as they contemplate ending their marriage.

Mediators – If the parties cannot agree on some or all aspects of their child custody/visitation, support or property division issues, a mediator can help them reach an agreement.

Califiornia divorce attorneys – It is always best for each party to talk to their own attorney prior to signing any marital settlement agreement. If each party has had the opportunity to get legal advice, there will be a much smaller chance of an agreement being invalidated in the future. When both parties know their rights and responsibilities, they can negotiate with each other, through their attorneys or with a mediator, with confidence in the process and the knowledge that their voice is being heard.


The conversation will be more productive if you take time to listen to your spouse’s concerns. People often respond with aggression or even by shutting down entirely when they feel they are being backed into a corner. Make the conversation a dialog, not a one-sided pronouncement, and you may set the stage for a much easier, less expensive, and more positive experience.

SD Esquire Flat Fee Divorce Service

SD Esquire provides flat fee uncontested divorce services. We will prepare the legal documents you need to file for and complete your divorce.  This includes preparing and filling your divorce petition, completing your financial disclsoures, and drafting your marital settlement agreement (MSA). Our uncontested flat fee divorce service starts at $1500 for standard divorce (you are responsible for paying court filling fees).  The fee also includes service of process fees. You can make installment payments as your case progresses. It costs $500 to start your matter. Sign up today to get started.

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