10 Signs that an Uncontested Divorce is Right for You
There are two types of divorce in the state of California, “contested” and “uncontested.” Both contested and uncontested divorces are very common in the Golden State. A case is “contested” when you and your spouse disagree on one or more issues, such as property, finances, debt, child custody, child support or spousal support. Although no divorce is ever truly “uncontested,” the term applies when the parties don’t have any disagreements that require resolution in court. If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, consider limiting your costs by pursuing an uncontested divorce.
If a majority of the following signs apply to your situation, then an uncontested divorce may be right for you:
1. Both parties agree that a divorce is the best option for them.
If one party does not agree that they want to end the marriage, then uncontested divorce is probably not the right solution. Most couples haven’t finalized decisions on every issue of their finances, debt and property, but both parties must be ready to engage in the divorce process. The divorce process entails several hard deadlines, and if one party isn’t ready to comply with the necessary requirements, your case can be dismissed, adding another round of filing fees to the overall cost
2. You agree to terms of payment for court filing and fees.
Initiating any court procedure costs money, from civil suits to probate and divorce. Parties will need to be prepared to pay the $430* filing fee or they will not be able to file a case. Both parties will have to pay the $430* fee whether they are filing a petition or responding to one. However, the parties may choose to proceed by default, rather than responding to the petition, which may avoid the second $430* fee. Of course, the court does offer waivers for parties with income below a threshold set by the court. You can learn more about fee waivers on the California Courts website.
3. You agree on a date for filing the initial divorce petition.
In California, it takes at least 6 months for a judge to grant your divorce, due to the statutorily required waiting period. If you plan to proceed uncontested, you should agree with your spouse on a timeline for when you will start and complete this process.
4. You are able to communicate openly with your spouse.
Uncontested divorces rely on open communication. You do not have to agree on every term from the beginning, but the ability to communication rationally and openly with the other party will allow you to compromise, negotiate and settle on terms that both parties agree are fair.
5. You agree on how to divide your assets and finances.
If you and your spouse have joint bank accounts, stocks, credit accounts, etc. you will have to determine how you will spilt those assets. Under CA law, everything earned or purchased during a marriage is considered community property. Before proceeding uncontested, you must ensure that each party will receive a fair division of the community’s assets.
6. You agree to how to divide your property, including real estate and personal property.
As discussed with the assets above, you and your spouse will need to agree on how you will divide your real estate and personal items such as furniture within the home. Often, parties will divide the community financial assets in a way that compensates one another for any differences in property ownership resulting from this division.
7. You agree on how to divide your debts.
Along with dividing your property and assets, you must determine how any debts accrued during the marriage will be divided. Parties will often match debts along with property being granted, i.e. a spouse keeping real estate purchased during the marriage will often also take sole responsibility for the mortgage.
8. You agree on terms for spousal support/alimony.
When a couple legally separates or divorces, the court may order 1 spouse or domestic partner to pay the other a certain amount of support money each month. This is called “spousal support”, it is sometimes also called “alimony.” If you wish to proceed uncontested in a divorce with your spouse, you need to be in agreement as to terms for spousal support.
9. You agree on the amount or duration of child support.
Same as with spousal support, both parties must agree as to the amount and length of payment for child support.
10. You agree on child custody and how you will share parenting time and responsibilities.
Couples with young children preparing for divorce must work together to determine how they will share their time with their child along with the numerous other childcare responsibilities that parents face such as school field trips, doctors appointments and after-school sports or activities.