Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation, it’s best to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.
When you and your spouse agree to end your marriage without complications, an uncontested divorce may be an option. The team from Divorce Options San Diego—the experts in San Diego divorce mediation who offer a compassion-based alternative to expensive, time-consuming divorce litigation—explain uncontested divorces and whether you need to attend court hearings when going through the process.
How Is Mediation Preferable to a Contested Divorce?
Hiring a divorce mediator instead of attorneys is an ideal way to avoid having to appear in family court. A mediator can help you and your spouse work out disagreements and prevent the process from being drawn out and acrimonious. Both parties can work out the division of property, child custody, spousal support, and other divorce basics during mediation. You don’t need to hire divorce attorneys when using this method, but you have the option to work with lawyers if that’s your preference. The only time you’d need to attend family court is if no agreement is reached and a judge steps in to order a hearing.
Who Is Eligible?
If spouses have no disagreements about the division of assets, child custody, and other basic divorce issues, they’re generally eligible for an uncontested divorce in California. Keep in mind that even if parties have disagreements, they’re eligible for mediation. Both parties need to sign documents agreeing to divide the assets and debts. If you have minor children but you and your spouse can reach an agreement on major issues such as school, child support, and who will be the custodial parent, you should be able to proceed with an uncontested divorce.
Is Court Mandatory?
If a divorce is contested, both parties have to go to court, unless they work it out with mediation. In this case, both spouses need to attend a hearing and bring along important documentation, such as the marriage license and birth certificates (if child custody is being discussed). If the divorce is uncontested, the parties can file their case without going to court. Even if the case is contested, they don’t have to go to court if they have a good mediator. To ensure your rights are protected, all your agreements need to be signed and filed accordingly. If there are no delays, the judgment can be delivered to you by mail.
Is There a Mandatory Waiting Period?
After petitions for divorce are filed, all couples must abide by California’s six-month waiting period, which was established to give people time to determine if divorce is the best option for their current situation. The six-month period starts from the date a Response is filed or Acknowledgment is received by the court, whichever comes first. In some cases, couples reconcile and stop the proceedings. After the six-month waiting period, an uncontested divorce typically takes a few more months for the court to review all the documents, unlike complicated proceedings that could last up to two years or longer. Sometimes the court decides within a few months. You don’t need to attend hearings during the mandatory waiting period.
Couples looking for an alternative to the enormously expensive adversarial manner in which divorces are usually handled should reach out to the experienced professionals at Divorce Options San Diego. We’re San Diego divorce mediators you can trust to help you dissolve your marriage in a way that’s based on respect and mutual satisfaction. Give us a call today at (858) 281-2628 to learn more.