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Divorce has become one of the most common procedures in our modern world and to be honest, nowadays every second officially married couple is divorcing or has already divorced. In the USA the percentage of divorcing spouses is crucially raising. Are you ready to study the main points of the divorce in California? Here they are.

In California, there are three basic ways of the legal marriage termination. They are a Divorce Process, a Legal Separation, and an Annulment. We can also point out other types of the divorce and the dissolution of marriage, we will describe them more in details later. As a rule, California is considered to be a “No-Fault” divorce state. It means that the spouse, willing to have a divorce does not need to prove that his/her partner is guilty in their marriage termination. It significantly simplifies the process. However, every couple should realize in what way they will get a divorce and only after that, they need to plan their divorce process.  

California Federal Law does not recognize domestic partnerships in most cases. There are some factors that can influence domestic partnership process. Here they are:

  • The medical care (issues about health insurance).
  • The immigration law (the immigration law plays a highly important role in the divorce procedure).
  • The veterans' benefits (the issue should be solved individually, according to the case).
  • The federal tax laws (a number of tax laws should be paid the highest attention).

Domestic partners do not have the same rights in California, moreover, other states can also fail to recognize domestic partnerships.

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California divorce details

Uncontested vs Contested Divorce

If the spouses can’t agree on different questions including the following ones:

  • The child support and custody
  • An alimony
  • A value of the marriage assets
  • A division of debts and property

Their marriage is a Contested one. The Contested divorce has lots of difficulties and misunderstandings. Furthermore, it is far more expensive.

The extra issues of the Contested Divorce are:

  1.  It costs more than an Uncontested Divorce.

Cases are managed on an hourly basis, beginning with $210 per hour. You should also pay a Court Fee within 10 days after the beginning of the process.

2

It consumes much time

The time that is spent in the court is too long. There are also some time-consuming issues of the Contested Divorce  that can prolong the process. Such as:

  • The entry of temporary orders
  • The status conference
  • The discovery and depositions
  • The trial process

3

It requires an attorney

They act only as an advisor of one spouse and gives orders to follow another spouse. The couple has to take part in the mediation process, and the mediator can give the right solutions as well.

Uncontested Divorce in California

This type of divorce is considered to be the most popular in the USA and the California State.

The main principle of such a divorce procedure is that neither you nor your spouse has any misunderstandings or issues to argue. You both need the Final Decree as fast as possible. The child custody, spousal support, and all other questions are also stipulated.

Grounds for the Uncontested Divorce in California

The grounds for such a divorce are as follows:

  1.  

    Termination of the marriage without a reconciliation period

It is the most popular ground for the divorce in the State of California. No one will need to explain the reasons for the divorce or assets division in case you have been living separately for the 12 month period.

Sometimes it is really hard to prove to the Court, that your couple has been living separately for a long period of time under one roof because of the financial issues. Judges can ask you for some evidence of your separate life.

2

Adultery Occurrence

This ground is clear and apparent. The unfaithful side of the couple finally admits the adultery, in such a manner giving the sufficient ground for the divorce in the Court. Frequently, the unfaithful spouse denies the adultery fact because for her/him it would be at a significant disadvantage in the event of the marriage termination.

California Residency Requirements to file for the divorce

Not all the courts can give you the divorce papers without any delays. For instance, Los Angeles Superior Court has lots of cases, that mean that you have to wait a little bit longer than with other courts. First of all, if you are ready to get a divorce, you have to inform your spouse that you are willing to do it. In California, it is really necessary.

In California, if you want to get a divorce, both you and your spouse should have lived here, in California, not less than six months. And, according to the law, you have to live in the particular California county not less than three months.  For the Divorce process, you and your spouse do not have to live in the State of California right now. If currently you do not have a residence, you still have a right to begin the divorce process in California, but only in a three-month term of living in California.In special cases, for example, when a spouse, namely husband, does not live in California, but the spouses were married in this state, the couple can have the right to divorce in California.

How to file for an Uncontested Divorce?

1

File the Petition for the court

From the moment you come to the court, your case will be registered and put a number. When you provide the court with all the necessary documents, the divorce proceeding begins.

2

Provide your spouse with all the required papers

Your duty, as a Petitioner, to give another side all the documents. You can do it via post or e-mail. If you occasionally do not know the effectual address of your spouse, you have to tell about this aspect of the court representatives. Unless your spouse is found, the court will announce in media, such as radio, TV, and newspapers about the missing person.

3

Provide the court with extra information

You should also provide the court with all the significant information as common debts, property division, child custody, spousal support, and others. The court must take into account all the tiny issues about your case. Be sure, that you provided the court with everything required.

4

Sign up the Marital Settlement Agreement

It is a particular document, that stipulates that the spouses agree on all the issues, it also clarifies all the significant questions. You can find the sample of it on our website.

5

Get a Final Judgement

In California, the Final Judgement can be only in 31 days after the process beginning. Both spouses have to appear to the court. If one of the spouses fails to come, the judge makes a solution to prolong the procedure or the final termination. Everything depends on your case and circumstances.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce in California

Do It Yourself Divorce (DIY) is the divorce, which allows neither you nor your spouse to need an attorney to regulate all the items of your divorce process.

According to California legislation, a spouse, filing for the divorce procedure, has a liability to provide another spouse with all the required documentation to fill out.

They are:

  • 2 copies of the Petition
  • Summons and  Form FL-105
  • Form FL-120
  • Form FL-105

So many times we mentioned the term “online divorce”, but we have not paid attention to the peculiarities of this notion in California. We will draw our attention to it, but a bit later.

How much does an Uncontested Divorce cost in California?

The Uncontested Divorce takes not a huge amount of money, including all the expenses, such as:

  • The court price
  • The price for the attorney
  • The mediation price

And some others fees depending on your case. Approximately, the price in California fluctuates from $16 000 to $21 000.  

If you prepare all the documents online, you can save much money. In addition, all your documents will not contain any mistakes or remarks, and the packet of papers will be 100% approved by the court.

How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in California?

As a rule, the Uncontested divorce in California takes at least 6 months. The Contested one is much longer. It can last up to 1 year or more, regarding California legislation. All the cases are individual, and the divorce process may vary its terms, but not significantly, for sure.

Now it is a high time to speak about the Forms and Documents you will likely need for the Uncontested Divorce.

Papers and Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in California

  • Petition-Marriage/Domestic Partnership (FL-100)
  • Summons (Family Law) FL-110
  • Proof of Service of Summons (Family Law -Uniform Parentage - Custody and Support FL-115
  • Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) FL-105/GC120
  • Property Declaration (Family Law) FL-160
  • Appearance, Stipulations, and Waivers
  • Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation
  • Judgment
  • Notice of Entry of Judgment
  • The final Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure
  • Stipulation and Waiver of Final Declaration of Disclosure
  • Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Order Attachment
  • Supervised Visitation Order
  • Child Abduction Prevention Order Attachment
  • Additional Provisions — Physical Custody Attachment
  • Joint Legal Custody Attachment
  • Pension Benefits — Attachment to Judgment
  • Retirement Plan Joinder — Information Sheet

The court requires all these documents, but you won't need all of them. Be sure what exactly the court must have from your side and prepare all the papers online.

How to serve your spouse in California

You need to serve your spouse with everything needed, namely, with two copies of the Petition and all the papers as well. You can send the documents via post or the email. Moreover, you can go to your spouse’s location and give him/her all the papers personally. Anyway, if you can’t supply your spouse with the forms, you can inform the County Clerk about this occasion. They will definitely find the right decision.

Online Divorce in California

The term “online divorce” is used when you permit the special website to prepare all the papers and forms online, without the help of the attorney. You pay a stipulated sum of money for the filling out the documentation and for the consultation if required. With such a tool you can be sure that you will get all needed papers on time, fast and accurate. The service price is flat and no additional expenses as well. It cost only $149.

Nowadays, online divorce is considered to be highly popular not only in California but also in the whole world, due to various advantages we spoke above.

Well, now we will speak more in details about the Child Support in California.

Rules for child support in California

Such a delicate question as a child custody must involve special aspects to make a child feel as comfortable as possible.

Here are the main rules of the Child Custody in California:

  1. Both parents have equal rights for the child custody and the childcare. Parents can separately decide some issues like additional courses for the child, a food choice, the doctor care and others. But anyway, they have to make an agreement with each other on all of them.
  2. If parents have some disagreements about anything important for the child, they should take an attorney or ask the other legal body about the advice for the caring.

The  Physical Custody is:

  • Common-both parents take care of the child/children
  • Individual-the child/children should live with 1 parent in most cases and from time to time visits another parent.

In general, when the custody is individual, another spouse visits the child/children or vice versa. It depends on the parents’ agreement.

The judge makes a verdict about the child/children custody, both parents have the equal right to see and take care of their children when and where they want to. When parents terminate their marriage, there can be some grounds to give a child custody to another one.  

Let’s dig into examples:

  • one of the parents leaves the child/children with the other parent
  • one of the parents fulfills child custody without the help of another one, as another one does nothing
  • one of the parents leaves the child/children with the other one and promises to return later.

All the issues, connected with the child custody are extremely difficult to solve, but anyway, to have the patience to agree with your spouse amicably is a kind of an art, isn’t it?

Rules for spousal support in California

The spousal support in California is a really essential part of the whole divorce procedure. Here are the main issues to consider:

  • The income of both spouses  
  • The marriage term
  • The place of child/children living, who they live with
  • The tax rate
  • The health state of both spouses

These and other issues are really significant for the Court in the divorce process. The spousal support can include lots of the items to discuss, such as the marital and the separate property, etc. You should agree with your spouse in advance on the equal shares.

Division of property in California

The property division also plays an important role in the divorce procedure. In terms of legislation, your property belongs to one of the two basic ranks:

  • Your own family property - namely the family patrimony
  • Your matrimonial regime

According to the county peculiarities, the law provides a list of property, included in the family patrimony. If your property is not pointed out in the list, it is not considered to be a family property. You have to realize that property belonging only to your spouse may also be a part of the family patrimony. The value of the property included in the family patrimony is usually divided equally between both spouses. In several cases, the value of the family patrimony is divided into unequal parts, be aware of this fact! Any property that is not included into your family patrimony, is reflexively a part of your matrimonial regime.The value of the property not included in the family patrimony can be divided according to the stipulations of your matrimonial regime. Under the matrimonial regime of property separation, both spouses count the value of his/her property and are entitled to his/her debts by themselves. Yet, in a partnership of acquests, the value of the property and debts are divided between both spouses. Anyway, it is not 100% equal division.

Divorce Mediation in California

The mediation process is a kind of the negotiation with the help of the third party. It can be the court representative, a lawyer or else. Each spouse has an attorney to assist the divorce process. In addition, the mediators know their deal well and no misunderstanding can happen.

The California Family Code needs a mediation for the child custody negotiations. In California, the court will not give you the Final Decree if both you and your spouse did not take part in the mediation procedure. It can be private or with the help of the attorney. It is your choice.  

The procedure of the mediation is really simple:

  • Ex-spouses go to the starting meeting with the mediator to speak about all the issues as for the child custody
  • The mediator points particular time for the meeting schedule convenient for both spouses
  • If you and your spouse agree on all issues, the mediator writes a document-settlement on the terms of each spouse

How to divorce a missing spouse in California

If you want to get a divorce, but unfortunately your spouse is currently missed, you have to provide the court with the evidence that another spouse cannot be found. Through the Service by Publication, you should put a Petition to find your missed spouse. The Court will allow the Publication in the local newspapers to find the missed spouse, only if you have the provings of his/her absence.

In California, you have to do all these actions to find a missing spouse:

  • Search for the spouse wherever he/she can be
  • Search for the relatives and friends of the missing spouse and ask them about the location of the spouse
  • Search for the telephone number of the missing spouse
  • Phone the police officer in your region in order to ask about your spouse location

If all the attempts fail, the Court will help you to find the spouse or have a Decree without him/her. Well, the next our step will be the Default Divorce peculiarities. Please have a look.

The Default Divorce in California

The Default Divorce is a legal and formal termination of the marriage, committed by a court. A Default Divorce takes place when one of the spouses does not respond to the Petition of the marriage termination. If there are no issues for the marriage termination, the divorce can be finished without a court hearing. As a rule, before the Default Divorce process, the couple has already made an attempt to agree on their questions for the procedure, but something went wrong and one of the spouses failed to have an agreement. According to the legislation, a marriage is terminated when the court puts out a Final Judgment and Decree (Certificate of a Marriage Dissolution). This document contains the judge's decisions in the current case. If the case is settled down, the terms of the procedure are included in the judgment process.

Grounds for the Default Divorce

  • Each spouse had a husband or wife living at the meantime of the marriage from which the divorce emerged
  • The impracticable absence of the spouse for the term of at least 1 year
  • The adultery
  • The extraordinary violence or cruelty
  • A deceitful contract
  • The absence of must-have duties
  • The excessive drinking
  • The imprisonment of each spouse in a state or federal correctional institution at the same time of filling out the Petition
  • The culture/Religion/Disease issues
  • The Criminal Conviction
  • The financial Backing
  • The sexual issues

All these grounds implicate the Default Divorce Process with some complications and extra expenditures. The main reason for having the Default Divorce is not to have a response for the marriage dissolution Petition from your spouse. In the USA, the average cost of the default marriage termination is at least $15,000. When it comes to the total cost required for marriage termination, it depends on how you are planning to do it. In California, the cost of the attorney for the Default Divorce, in general, can take about $10,000. But what is the main difference between the Default and the Fault Divorces? We will gladly share it with you.

Default vs No-Fault Divorce

A Default Divorce is a legal dissolution of marriage by the court. The procedure of getting the divorce can vary whether you get the attorney’s help or not. In California, the Default Divorce hearing cannot be applied for at least 31 days after the date the of the Final Petition (and other legal documents) were executed on the Respondent. As you know, the No-Fault Divorce does not a problem of the spouse misunderstanding, because the couple has clear goals for the future and does not want to spoil life of each other.

How can I get a Default Divorce Hearing in California?

If you want to set out a Default Divorce hearing, you should complete the "Application and Affidavit of Default" and file it out with the Clerk of the Court. During the time of your filling out the "Application and Affidavit of Default" with the Clerk of the Court, be ready that you have two (2) copies of the "Application and Affidavit of Default" date-stamped by the Clerk. You must send by e-mail or hand-deliver one copy to your spouse the day that you filled the "Application and Affidavit of Default" with the Clerk of the Court. After you have provided your spouse with it, you should wait for 10 court days.

To file for the Default Divorce you should bear in mind your case and it is better to pay attention to the preparation of the online documents.

Annulment of the marriage in California

In California, we have some possible grounds for the annulment of the marriage. Here they are:

  • The spouses are blood relatives
  • You or your spouse already married another person while he/she was in the legal marriage
  • One of the spouses was not 18 at the moment of the marriage registration
  • One of the spouses is seriously mentally or physically ill, and the couple cannot have sexual relations because of this fact
  • One of the spouses forced another one to marry him/her

As for the children, if they were born in the further annulled marriage, they are considered to be born without a marriage registration at all. In California, during the annulment process, the spouse should separate all the property. After the marriage annulment, the spouses do not have to support each other as well.

Legal Separation in California

In California, in comparison with a divorce process, the legal separation is enforced immediately from the moment of the Final Judgement.

The Legal Separation means that the whole marriage is not finished, and both you and your spouse can’t marry once again or begin a legal cohabitation with another person.

Please have a look. The couple can agree the property division by means of the mediation process or with the help of the court. There can be several hearings regarding the separation process. The same happens to the common debts, the income, the common estate, etc.

Speaking about children, both spouses have to decide on issues of caring, visiting the child, the sum of money, given to the child support. All the matters are approved or rejected by the Superior Court.

Keep in mind please, that legal separation is not the end of your marriage and individual cases must be led by the legal bodies.

The Same-Sex Divorce in California

The Same-Sex Divorce is the divorce procedure, that allows people with the same gender get a divorce. Couples with the same gender can get the same-sex divorce only if there are some jurisdictions that allow the same-sex marriages in particular states.  

In California, the process of the same-sex divorce is a little bit different from the standard divorce procedure. The spouses should also terminate their domestic cohabitation, as it is considered to be the same as the legal marriage in the California State.

For the Same-Sex couples there are many pros in California, here are they.

Benefits for the Same-Sex Divorce

1

You have individual rights of any divorced couple

There are plenty of rights that are presented to the divorced couple, for example:

  • the right for the child custody
  • the right for supporting  a disabled member in the family ( if there is one)

And a lot of other rights that make your divorce completed and legal. The same-sex divorce, as any other one, is executed according to the state legislature of the county you are currently living.

2

Parenting and child custody lawfulness

In case of the Same-Sex Divorce, it is important for both spouses to save normal or acceptable relations after the marriage and to keep children from all the divorce quarrels and misunderstandings.

The validity of the same-sex divorce allows parents to solve all the issues and to have equal rights for the child custody.

Parenting is an essential part of any divorce procedure, so to install every basic item of the whole process, both parents should equally care about the children. For the same-sex divorce we need to wait also for approximately one year, depending on the case, so file for the Same-Sex Divorce with us and you will omit lots of the problems!

Military Divorce in California

The procedure in general as for the city residents of California state. You can read the information above. The only one problem is to serve your spouse with the Petition for the divorce procedure. You can send it by Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office address even overseas. If it is a problem to send the documents via post, you can phone the military office, duty station or the station commander to help you with the delivery of the documents.

How to divorce a spouse in a jail in California?

First of all, you need to speak with a Court Clerk about your case. You can send all the needed documents, (see above) for the divorce to your spouse by post or deliver them by yourself. The procedure takes the same time as the regular divorce case. You have to agree with your spouse all issues and stipulate all the misunderstanding in order to find especially your case.

Divorce filing fee

In general, you have to pay for the divorce process approximately $20 000 including the attorney cost, additional expenses, as we spoke with you above. The price can variate due to the case. With the preparation of the online papers, you can pay twice less. As we have already understood.

You can pay for the divorce either by credit card or cash for the particular account, for 7 days after delivering a Petition to the court. In different courts, the price and waiting time can vary. You should check all the information before beginning the process.

Can a filing fee be waived?

In California, the fee for the divorce can be waived.

You have to get a Sheet on Waiver of the Superior Court Fees, fill out all the forms, online or by yourself, sign the Request to Waive Court Fees (Form FW-001) under penalty, obtain the Forms required at the California Court, make 3 copies of all the documents about the Waiver, and the final step will be to file for the Court all the needed documents with the Waiver as well.

NB! You CANNOT send the documents to the court by email!

How we can help

We can help you with all the issues and peculiarities of the document preparation in California. Online papers preparation and consultation is everything you need to be approved by the court and finally to get the Divorce completed.

Trust us and we will help you anyway!

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