California has a no-fault divorce law, which means that neither party in the divorce needs to prove wrongdoing in order to dissolve the marriage. Essentially, the spouse seeking the divorce need only state that the two spouses have irreconcilable differences.
State law requires one or both of the parties to have lived in California for at least six months prior to filing for divorce and in their county for three months prior to filing. There is no requirement for one party to have the other party sign the divorce petition unless they respond to it.
What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce occurs when the spouses or domestic partners agree on issues like property division and money. This may involve mediation or another dispute resolution process.
Some parties choose this process because it can save time and is less expensive than other options. The parties may also find that by participating in a divorce process outside of court, it limits the emotional toll of the proceedings.
What is a contested divorce?
Sometimes when the parties cannot agree on a divorce settlement, they can only resolve their issues through litigation in a contested divorce.
A contested divorce occurs when a spouse or domestic partner files a petition for divorce and the other party disagrees with what they are asking for. This can be because they agree with some requests, but disagree with others or because they disagree with the entire request.
The court will set a trial date and the parties may be required to participate in a settlement conference before the trial. During the trial, the court may make a decision about the distribution of marital assets and debts, among other issues.
A contested divorce can be difficult for all of the parties involved. An experienced attorney can offer advice to spouses and domestic partners about how to protect their rights and the interests of their children, how to file divorce paperwork and provide representation in court.