Uncontested Divorce in California
When a couple chooses to divorce, they frequently have a difficult time coming to agreements about key issues, such as child custody and the division of assets. Because of this, divorces are often highly contentious and can lead to lengthy and costly court proceedings. However, that is not always the case.
Many spouses are able to reach amicable agreements on their own regarding vital aspects of a divorce. These couples may be eligible to file for an uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorce in California offers a simpler and more affordable marriage dissolution. The divorce attorneys at McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau, LLP, serving Stockton, CA, Central Valley, CA, and surrounding areas, are happy to help their clients determine if an uncontested divorce is the right choice for their unique situation.
Who Can File for an Uncontested Divorce?
There are certain eligibility requirements that must be met if a couple is going to file for an uncontested divorce in California, also known as a “summary dissolution:”
- At least one spouse must have maintained residency in California for a minimum of six months, and they must have at least three months residency in the county where the divorce will be filed
- The couple must not have any minor children, nor can they be expecting a child
- The reason for the divorce must be noted as irreconcilable differences
- The couple must have been married for less than five years at the time of their separation
- Neither spouse owns any real property
- The couple has less than $6,000 in debt between them (not including car loans)
- Total marital assets are less than $43,000 and neither spouse has individual assets worth more than $43,000 (vehicles not included)
- Neither spouse is seeking alimony
Will I Need to Appear in Court?
If a couple is eligible to file for an uncontested divorce, they will not need to attend a court hearing. Instead, they need to fill out and sign a settlement agreement that stipulates how the spouses have agreed to divide or transfer any debts or assets.
The settlement agreement, and a joint petition for a summary dissolution, will be filed with the court. When the petition is submitted, a filing fee will also be due. In addition to submitting all the required documents, each spouse will provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope. These will be used to send each partner the final judgment of dissolution, which will provide the official date of the divorce.
Do I Need an Attorney?
State law does not require couples filing for an uncontested divorce to work with an attorney. However, it is always a good idea to have a family law attorney look over paperwork to ensure that all requirements have been met. Our lawyers can also review a settlement agreement to confirm that all assets and debts have been accounted for. A quick overview is not costly, and it can save a couple from being denied the dissolution they seek on the basis of a technicality.
Contact Our Attorneys
If you are seeking a divorce, the family law attorneys at McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau, LLP can be of great assistance. To discuss your situation with our legal team and find out if an uncontested divorce may be right for you, send us a message at your earliest convenience or call our practice at 209-477-8171.