Getting Started With Your Divorce Papers
California law aims to make the divorce process simple and not to place unnecessary financial burdens on couples who wish to end their marriages. It is still necessary to follow a certain set of legal formalities, though. Hiring a lawyer is only necessary if the value of your marital property is very high or if your disagreements with your spouse about parenting time are complex. Unfortunately, the self-service websites of the court systems of many
California counties office basic California divorce papers and are confusing, making it easy to get discouraged. They also do not tell you that, in California, it is possible to have a non-attorney legal document assistant professionally prepare your California divorce papers for a lower price than what law firms charge.
Where to Begin?
It starts with the filing of a divorce petition. In the petition, you request that the court dissolve your marriage, and you state your requests about property division and, if applicable, alimony, parenting time, and child support. You must formally serve the divorce papers to your spouse. This usually involves having a professional process server deliver the papers to your spouse in person.
What happens next varies from one divorce case to another, and the California divorce papers required in your case may be different than those required in your friend’s case. Once your spouse has been served with the papers, he or she has 35 days to file a response to the divorce petition. If your spouse disagrees with any of the requests you are making, the response to the divorce petition is the place to do it. If you and your spouse have agreed on the terms of your divorce before filing the initial petition, you have an uncontested divorce, and there is no need for the non-filing spouse to file a response to the divorce petition. If your spouse has requests that conflict with the ones you listed in the initial petition, you have a contested divorce, and you will have to reach an agreement on the terms of your divorce, either through mediation or at trial.
Is There a Faster Way to Get a Divorce?
In California, the simplest divorce cases are eligible for a process called summary dissolution of marriage. A summary dissolution is a legal divorce, ending with a court order dissolving your marriage, but the legal formalities required to get that court order are fewer if you qualify for summary dissolution. These are the eligibility requirements:
Less than five years from the marriage date to the date of final separation
No children together
Marital property valued at less than $45,000
Neither party has separate property valued at more than $45,000
Marital debts of $6,000 or less
Neither party owns real estate
Neither party requests spousal support
Keep in mind, filing a summary dissolution is not faster than a regular dissolution, and there are downsides as well. Also, the California divorce papers required for a summary dissolution from the divorce papers required in a regular divorce. Either way, even if you do not qualify for summary dissolution of marriage, it is usually easier to get divorced if you do not hire a lawyer.
AGillette LDA is the Best Solution for Affordable Divorce