Quick California Uncontested Divorce Process
If you and your spouse have mutually decided to file for divorce, you may be wondering what the steps are to obtain an uncontested divorce in California. An uncontested divorce occurs when you and your spouse have agreed to the division of community property assets and debts, child custody and support, or spousal support award. An uncontested divorce in California may be completed by following these easy steps:
- Satisfy California Divorce Residency Requirements. To file for divorce in California, you must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing for divorce and within the county in which you will file for divorce for at least three months prior. Consider filing for legal separation if you do not satisfy California’s divorce residency requirements.
- Prepare a Written Agreement. Before filing for divorce, it is important to talk to your spouse about the details of your divorce settlement. Here are a few things you may want to discuss with your spouse:
- Identify separate and community property and how the later will be divided.
- Determine how retirement accounts will be divided.
- Decide which party will continue to live in the marital home or if it will be sold.
- Make arrangement for sole or shared custody of children, including visitation, summer vacations, and holidays.
- Discuss how your children’s higher education costs will be funded.
- Decide whether a higher income earning spouse will pay the other spouse alimony and the duration thereof.
Seek assistance from an uncontested divorce attorney if you are having trouble finalizing the details of your settlement agreement. Upon reaching an agreement, each party should retain an attorney to discuss the terms of the marital settlement agreement to protect their legal interest.
- File the Required Forms to Start the Uncontested Divorce. You will need to complete the following types of documents to open an uncontested divorce case with your local court:
- Petition for divorce. Form FL 100 provides basic information about the parties and includes a request that the court issue a final divorce.
- This form is served on the responding party, and gives them 30 days in which to respond to the petition. In an uncontested divorce, it is not important which party is the petitioner and which the respondent.
- Property Declaration. The Property Declaration lists all of the separate and marital property of both parties. It is important to include ALL property in the Property Declaration.
- If you have children under the age of 18, you will need to complete the Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Act (FL 105). You may also complete the Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application (FL 311), which will include details about visitation and parenting time schedules. This form may not be necessary if you have included those details in your separation agreement.
- You will have to hire a process server to serve your filed documents on the responding party.
4. File a Response. The responding party may opt to file a response (FL 120) to the petition in which he/she acknowledges agreement with the divorce and the terms of the settlement agreement. If no response if filed, the divorce can proceed on a default basis.
5. File the Judgment Forms. If the Responding party chooses not to file a response, or if the responding party files a response in which he agrees to the divorce, there are several forms to file with the court in order to complete the divorce. These forms include, among others, the Judgment and Notice of Entry of Judgment. If there are children involved, additional forms must be attached. The parties’ divorce settlement agreement must also be filed with the court.
- Completing the Divorce. If the divorce is uncontested, the parties do not need to make an appearance in court. Once the proper forms have been filed, a judge will sign the divorce decree, and the divorce will become final. The divorce will not be final until six months after the date the respondent is served with process.
Under certain circumstances, the parties may file for a Summary Dissolution. Summary Dissolution is available to parties who have been married less than five years, have no children together, own no real estate, and have limited marital property, separate property, and debts. The parties must agree to waive spousal support and have a written separation agreement.
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.