What many people think of when they hear the word “divorce” is referred to in California as a contested divorce. A contested divorce is sought when a couple cannot settle their divorce issues on their own. The couple goes to court and a judge will issue a binding divorce decree that officially ends the marriage.
However sometimes a couple agrees on all their divorce legal issues from the get-go and want to avoid lengthy and expensive divorce proceedings. In this case, they may be able to pursue an uncontested divorce.
What is an uncontested divorce?
In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse will execute a “settlement agreement” that establishes your agreement on all your divorce legal issues. This avoids the need to go to court and have a judge rule on these issues. The settlement agreement has the same power as a court order.
Who qualifies for an uncontested divorce?
Not everyone qualifies for an uncontested divorce. You and your spouse must agree on all your divorce issues, including property division, child custody and spousal support. If there are any disagreements that cannot be worked out, you may have to pursue a contested divorce. Finally, both you and your spouse must be available to sign off on the settlement agreement.
Is an uncontested divorce right for you?
You and your spouse may mutually agree that ending your marriage is in your best interests, but this does not automatically mean an uncontested divorce is right for you. An uncontested divorce requires a certain amount of cooperation and mutual understanding.
It can help to be represented by an attorney even if you are pursuing an uncontested divorce. An attorney can help you move through the process of obtaining an uncontested divorce and can represent you in court if your uncontested divorce falls through and you must instead take the route of a contested divorce.