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How Does the Uncontested Divorce Process Work in California?

couple crossing arms on couch

When a couple decides to legally separate, they must make a myriad of decisions. Agreeing on all aspects of a divorce, including parenting time and how to handle property and money issues, is no easy feat for many couples. This can lead to a time-consuming, expensive, and lengthy divorce process.

However, it does not have to be this way. Some divorcing couples can come to a general agreement on most or all aspects of their divorce. Typically, this means they can pursue what is known as an uncontested divorce. There are many benefits to this process, including:

  • It’s typically less costly.
  • It usually requires less time.
  • The outcome of the case can be controlled.
  • It’s more private and documents are kept out of public record.

What Are the Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce?

In California, the uncontested divorce process begins when one spouse files a petition or summons for divorce. Unless the respondent “contests” the divorce—in other words, disagrees on any issue—the case will remain uncontested.

From there, the two spouses must show that they have a written agreement about their divorce pertaining to all separation issues, including:

  • Child custody, parenting plans, and visitation agreements
  • Whether either spouse will pay child support or alimony
  • How to divide all marital property and debts

A case may start out as contested, but it can become uncontested if aspects are agreed upon by both parties through mediation, negotiation, or another process.

Will I Be Required to Go to Court?

Another major benefit to an uncontested divorce is that it can usually be done without having to appear in court! Instead, once you have your agreement outlining the specifics of your divorce, you will submit all documents, forms, and up-to-date information to your local family law court.

Only if there is a problem with a part of your paperwork may you be summoned for a court appearance. It’s recommended that you have a divorce attorney review all your paperwork and documents in order to ensure that you have everything filled out properly and that you understand and approve of all the terms.

How Long Will the Entire Process Take?

With any divorce proceeding in California, the entire process will take at least six months from the date the individual filing for divorce notifies their spouse. It can take longer than that, especially for contested divorce, but a six-month waiting period is required before the divorce is completely finalized.

You can, however, get all your paperwork turned in and a judge to approve the divorce in the meantime. If you have any questions regarding the length of your divorce process, feel free to reach out to Gill Law Group. Upon an initial review of your case, an attorney at our firm will be able to give you a more definite answer as to how long your specific divorce may take to finalize.

Do I Need an Attorney for an Uncontested Divorce?

Even if you qualify for an uncontested divorce in California, it’s still vital that you have an experienced divorce lawyer on your side. Many spouses assume that no arguments may arise during this process. However, there are many nuances to divorce agreements that can potentially cause friction and disagreements between two parties.

An attorney can ensure that all potential factors are taken into consideration and your final divorce agreement is fundamentally fair. Ultimately, getting legal representation for an uncontested divorce will ensure that your rights and best interests are protected.

We understand that even the smoothest divorce can be an emotionally trying time. That’s why, at Gill Law Group, you and your family will always come first. Our legal team will treat your case with the personalized care and attention that it deserves and guide you through the legal process from start to finish.

Contact our firm at (888) 392-1941 to schedule your complimentary consultation with our Orange County legal team today.