California divorce details
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Uncontested vs Contested Divorce
If the spouses fail to come to an agreement regarding the following issues, then their marriage is a contested one:
- Child support and custody
- Alimony payments
- Value of marriage assets
- A division of debts and property
- Division of debts and property
A Contested divorce has many difficulties and may cause misunderstandings. Furthermore, it is far more expensive.
The extra issues of a Contested Divorce are:
It costs more than an Uncontested Divorce.
Cases are managed on an hourly basis, starting from $210 per hour. There is also a Court Fee that needs to be paid within 10 days after the start of the process.
2. It is time-consuming
The time that is spent in the court is too long. There are also several issues in a 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 to 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 United States, especially in the state of California.
The main principle of such a divorce procedure is that neither you nor your spouse has any misunderstandings or issues. You both need the Final Decree as soon as possible. Child custody, spousal support, and all other questions are also stipulated.
Grounds for an Uncontested Divorce in California
The grounds for such a divorce are as follows:
1. Termination of the marriage without a reconciliation period
This is the most popular ground for a divorce in the State of California. No one has to explain the reasons for the divorce or assets division in the case you have been living separately for the 12-month period.
Sometimes it can be very difficult to prove to the Court that you and your spouse have been living separately for a long period of time under the same roof due to financial issues. The judge may ask you to provide some evidence of this.
2. Adultery Occurrence
This one is clear and quite apparent. The unfaithful spouse admits to adultery, giving sufficient grounds for a divorce in the Court. However, there are many cases where the unfaithful spouse denies the adultery because it would put them at a significant disadvantage in the event of a marriage termination.
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California Residency Requirements to file for the divorce
Not all the courts can provide you with the divorce papers without any delays. For instance, the Los Angeles Superior Court has many cases, causing you to wait a little longer than other courts. First of all, if you are ready to get a divorce, you have to inform your spouse of it. This is especially necessary in California.
If you want to get a divorce in California, you and your spouse need to have lived there for at least six months. Furthermore, it is required that you lived in the particular county in California for no less than three months. You and your spouse do not have to be residing in California at the time you file for a divorce. You still have the right to begin the divorce process as long as you have lived in California for at least three months.For example, if a spouse does not live in California, but the couple were married in the state, they have the right to divorce in California.
How to file for an Uncontested Divorce?
1. File a Petition for the court
The moment you go to court, your case will be registered and assigned a number. After you provide the court with all the necessary documents, the divorce proceeding begins.
2. Provide your spouse with all the required documents
Your duty as a Petitioner is to provide the other party with all the required documents. You can do it either via postal mail or email. If you do not know the effectual address of your spouse, it is required that you report this information to the court representatives. Unless your spouse is located, the court will announce a missing person’s report through media such as the TV, newspaper, and radio.
3. Provide the court with additional information
You should also provide the court with all the significant pieces of information such as: common debts, property division, child custody, spousal support, and several others. The court must take into account all the small issues regarding your case. Make sure that you provide the court with all the required information.
4. Sign the Marital Settlement Agreement
This specific document stipulates that the spouses agree on all the outlined issues. It also clarifies any significant questions the spouses may have. You can find a sample document of it on our website.
5. Receive a Final Court Judgement
In California, the Final Judgement can only be made 31 days after the process starts. Both spouses must appear in court. If one of the spouses fails to appear, the judge decides whether to prolong the procedure or make a final decision. Everything depends on the case and its underlying circumstances.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in California
Do It Yourself Divorce (DIY) is a type of divorce process that allows you to regulate all the items of the divorce process without the need of hiring an attorney.
According to California legislation, the spouse filing for divorce has the liability of providing the other party with all the required documentations:
- 2 copies of the Petition
- Summons and Form FL-105
- Form FL-120
- Form FL-105
We mentioned the term “online divorce” many times but have not yet gone into the peculiarities of this notion in California. We will draw our attention to it in a bit.
How much does an Uncontested Divorce cost in California?
An Uncontested Divorce does not cost as much as a Contested one. Below are some of the expenses associated with it:
- Court price
- Price for an attorney
- Mediation price
There may also be additional fees depending on your case. Approximately, the price in California fluctuates anywhere from $16,000 to $21,000.
If you prepare all the documents online, you can save a lot of money. In addition, all your documents will be free of any mistakes and will be 100% be approved by the court.
How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in California?
As a rule, uncontested divorce in California takes at least 6 months. A contested one can take much longer, sometimes up to a year or more, in regards to California legislation. All the cases are handled individually and the terms of the divorce process may vary.
Now we will discuss the required forms and documents you will need to for an uncontested divorce.
How to serve your spouse in California
You need to serve your spouse with all the required documents. You can send the documents either via postal mail or email. Moreover, you can also physically hand them over.. Either way, if you are unable to supply your spouse with the required forms, you can inform the County Clerk of the situation.
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Forms 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
- 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
You won’t need all of them, but make sure to know what exact documents the court needs so that you can prepare them online.
Online Divorce in California
The term “online divorce” is used when you permit a special website to prepare all the papers and forms online, without the aid of an attorney. You pay a stimulated amount for filling out the documents and for any consultation, if required. With such a tool you can rest assured that you will receive all the required papers on accurately on time. The cost of service is a flat $149 with no additional costs.
Nowadays, online divorce is considered to be highly popular not only in California but also around the world, due to various advantages we spoke above.
We will now discuss in more detail in regards to Child Support in California.
Rules for child support in California
A delicate topic such as child custody involves special aspects in order to make the child as comfortable as possible.
Here are the main rules of Child Custody in California:
- Both parents have equal rights to child custody and childcare. They can separately decide on some issues such as: additional courses for the child, food choice, healthcare, or others. However, they must come to an agreement on all matters regarding the child.
- If the parents have any disagreements in regards to child custody, they should seek advice from an attorney or other legal entity.
Two Types of Physical Custody:
- 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 custody is individual, one parent visits the child/children or vice versa. It all depends on the parents’ agreement.
The judge makes a final verdict in regards to child custody and both parents have equal rights to see and take care of their children when and where they want. When parents terminate their marriage, there can be some grounds to give child custody to one of them.
Let’s dig into some examples:
- one of the parents leaves the child/children with the other parent
- one of the parents fulfills child custody without the aid of the other parent
- one of the parents leaves the child/children with the other one and promises to return later.
All of these issues are connected to child custody and can be extremely difficult to solve. Thus, having the patience to negotiate amicably with your spouse is a form of art on its own.
Rules for spousal support in California
Spousal support in California is an essential aspect of the divorce process. Here are the main points to consider:
- Income of both spouses
- Marriage term
- Place where the child/children live and who they live with
- Tax rate
- Health state of both spouses
These and several others are significant issues to consider in Court during the divorce process. Spousal support can include many items to discuss. You should agree with your spouse in advance on these.
Division of property in California
The division of property also plays an important role in the divorce procedure. In terms of legislation, your property belongs to one of two basic ranks:
- Your own family property - namely the family patrimony
- Your matrimonial regime
According to county peculiarities, the law provides a list of property included in the family patrimony. If your property is not listed, it is not considered to be a family property. It is important to keep in mind that property belonging to your spouse may also be included as part of the family patrimony. The value of property listed in the family patrimony is usually divided equally between both spouses. However in some cases, the value may be divided unequally, so beware! Any property that is not included in your family patrimony is a part of your matrimonial regime. The value of these can be divided according to the stipulations of the matrimonial regime. Under the matrimonial regime of property separation, both spouses count the value of each of their properties and are entitled to the debts individually. Yet, in a partnership of acquests, the value of property and debts are divided between both spouses unequally.
Divorce Mediation in California
The mediation process is a type of negotiation involving the help of a third party such as a court representative or lawyer. Each spouse has an attorney to assist them with the divorce process. In addition, the mediators are knowledgeable on the cases and can help clear any misunderstandings.
The California Family Code requires mediation for child custody negotiations. The court will not give you the Final Decree if both you and your spouse have not taken part in the mediation process. It can either be done privately or with the help of an attorney.
The mediation process is quite simple:
- Both spouses attend a scheduled meeting with the mediator to discuss all the issues regarding child custody
- The mediator schedules another meeting time convenient for both spouses
- If both spouses agree on all the issues, the mediator writes up a document-settlement under both parties’ terms
is quick and easy
How to divorce a missing spouse in California
If you want to get a divorce but your spouse is currently missing, you need to provide the court with evidence indicating that the spouse cannot be found. Through Service by Publication, you should file a Petition to find your missing spouse. If you are able to provide sufficient evidence, the Court will publish a missing person’s report in the newspaper in order to locate the spouse.
In California, you must complete all the following actions to search for the missing spouse:
- Search for the spouse wherever he/she might possibly be
- Contact the relatives and friends of the missing spouse and ask them
- Contact a local police department to ask about the whereabouts of the spouse’s location
If all attempts fail, the Court will help you to locate the spouse. If worse comes to worst, the Court will give the Final Decree without their presence. Next, we will discuss the peculiarities of a default divorce in California.
Default Divorce in California
Default divorce is a legal and formal termination of a marriage committed by the court. A default divorce takes place when one of the spouses does not respond to the Petition of marriage termination. If there are no issues concerning marriage termination, the divorce can be concluded without a court hearing. For a default divorce, the couple must have made an attempt to agree on the issues for the procedure but couldn’t.. According to 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 regarding the current case. If the case is settled, the terms of the procedure are included in the judgment process.
Grounds for a Default Divorce
- Each spouse had a husband or wife living at the time of marriage from which the divorce emerged
- The impracticable absence of a spouse for a term of at least 1 year
- Extraordinary violence or cruelty
- A deceitful contract
- The absence of non-negotiable duties
- Excessive drinking
- Imprisonment of a spouse in a state or federal correctional institution at the same time of filling out the Petition
- Cultural/Religious/Disease issues
- A Criminal Conviction
- Financial Backing
- Sexual issues
All these grounds implicate that the default divorce process comes with certain complications and extra expenditures. The main reason for having a default divorce is because it does not require you to get a response for the marriage dissolution Petition from your spouse. In the USA, the average cost of a 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 average cost of an attorney for a default divorce is $10,000. But what is the main difference between default and no-Fault Divorces? We will discuss this in more detail next.
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 depending on whether you get an attorney’s help or not. In California, the default divorce hearing cannot be applied for at least 31 days after the date 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 with the Clerk of the Court. When you file the "Application and Affidavit of Default" with the Clerk of the Court, be prepared with two (2) copies of the "Application and Affidavit of Default" date-stamped by the Clerk. You must send one copy to your spouse the day that you file the "Application and Affidavit of Default" with the Clerk of the Court. After you provide your spouse with a copy, wait up to 10 court days.
It is important to pay attention to the preparation of online documents when considering filing for a default divorce.
Annulment of marriage in California
In California, there are possible grounds for the annulment of a marriage:
- The spouses are blood relatives
- You or your spouse is already married another person while he/she was in a legal marriage
- One of the spouses was not 18 at the time of marriage registration
- One of the spouses is seriously ill, either mentally or physically, and the couple cannot have sexual relations because of it
- One of the spouses forced the other for marriage
As for the children, if they were born after an annulled marriage, they are considered to be born without a marriage registration at all. During the annulment process, the spouses should separate all their property. After the marriage annulment, the spouses do not have to support each other as well.
Legal Separation in California
When compared to the divorce process, legal separation is enforced immediately the Final Judgement is given.
Legal Separation does not terminate the marriage. It just means that both you and your spouse cannot marry again or start a legal cohabitation with another person.
The couple can agree on property division by means of mediation or with the help of the court. There can be several hearings regarding the separation process. The same process occurs for common debts, income, and common estate.
In terms of children, both spouses need to decide on certain issues such as childcare, child visits, and financial aid. . All matters are then approved or rejected by the Superior Court.
Please keep in mind that legal separation is not the end of your marriage and that individual cases must be led by legal bodies.
Same-Sex Divorce in California
Same-Sex Divorce allows couples of the same gender to get a divorce. They can get it only if there are jurisdictions that allow same-sex marriages in particular states.
In California, the process of same-sex divorce is a little bit different from the standard divorce procedure. The spouses need to also terminate their domestic cohabitation, as it is considered to be the same as a legal marriage in California.
There are many pros in terms of the divorce procedure for Same-Sex couples in California.
Benefits for the Same-Sex Divorce
1. You have individual rights just like any other divorced couple
Same-Sex, divorced couples have just as many rights as any other divorced couples:
- The right to child custody
- The right to supporting a disabled member in the family (if there is one)
There are many more that make your divorce complete and legal. Same-sex divorce, just like any other, is executed according to the state legislature of the county you are currently living.
2. Parenting and child custody lawfulness
In case of Same-Sex Divorce, it is important for both spouses to keep normal or acceptable relations to keep the children from all the quarrels and misunderstandings.
The validity of same-sex divorce allows parents to solve all their issues and have equal rights to child custody.
Parenting is an essential part of any divorce procedure, so both parents should equally care about the children. For same-sex divorce we need to also wait for approximately one year, depending on the case. So file for a Same-Sex Divorce with us now and omit many of your problems!
Military Divorce in California
This procedure is pretty general and quite similar to any other standard divorce process. Reference any of the content above for more information. The one thing to keep in mind is that you need to serve your spouse with the Petition for divorce procedure. You can send it either via the Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office address overseas. If there are issues sending the documents via post, contact the military office, duty station, or the station commander for help in delivering.
How to divorce a spouse in jail
First, you need to speak with a Court Clerk about your case. You need to then send all the required documents(reference above) for the divorce to your spouse. The procedure takes about the same time as a standard divorce. You have to agree with your spouse on all the issues and clear any misunderstandings.
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Divorce filing fee
Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using DivorceFiller.com. This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.
Can a filing fee be waived?
In California, the fee for a divorce can be waived
In order to do so, you need to obtain the Request to Waive Court Fees form. Fill out the form, sign it under penalty, and make 3 copies of it. Then, file it at the Court along with any other required documents.
IMPORTANT NOTE! 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 preparing divorce documents in California. Online documents preparation and consultation is everything you need to be approved by the court and finally complete your divorce.
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