What Are the Main Types of Divorce in California?

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When you said your wedding vows, you most likely were not thinking about a future divorce settlement. Still, sometimes marriages do end. Even in the case of an amicable split, emotions may run high. You may struggle to see the legal and practical details clearly.

A trusted divorce attorney can help guide you through the least disruptive type of divorce for you and your family so you can begin your new life.

Before you start an online search and type the words “divorce lawyers near me,” you may find it helpful to know a bit about the different types of divorce available to California residents.

No-Fault Divorce

If your marriage has been on shaky ground, you may be accustomed to playing the blame game, with you and your spouse trying to pin fault on each other for a variety of situations. If you have reached the stage where you no longer feel like the marriage can survive, fault does not have to play a part.

In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse needs to show cause or assign (or accept) blame for the relationship’s demise. Even if your spouse engaged in misconduct like infidelity or abuse, you will not need to prove it to the court.

If either you or your spouse seeks a divorce, the court will permit it as no-fault. Typically, one of you would state incompatibility or irreconcilable differences with no possibility of resolution. Since the change in California law in the 1970s, divorce may be easier and more efficient, at least from a procedural standpoint.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce bears no resemblance to the terrible divorce cases on TV dramas.

In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse agree about all features of your settlement including custody issues, visitation rights, division of property, and financial terms.

Even if you and your spouse promise to proceed in good faith, an experienced divorce lawyer can provide solid advice on issues that never crossed your mind, like alimony or future income. No matter how friendly the split, you will benefit from having a divorce attorney who puts your rights first.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce represents the other side of the coin. If you and your spouse are likely to engage in battle over every issue from child custody to unused wedding gifts, you will go through a contested divorce.

These tend to be the most lengthy, complex—and expensive—divorces, with proceedings ranging from mediation to a courtroom trial. In these highly adversarial situations, divorce lawyers for you and your spouse will take the lead on discussions to come to a settlement that will allow you to start over.

Simplified Divorce

A simplified divorce, sometimes called a summary dissolution, provides a way to legally dissolve short, simple marriages.

To take advantage of a simplified divorce, you must have been married for less than five years and have no children. You or your spouse must have resided in California for at least six months and in the county where you file for three months or longer.

Other conditions include:

  • No joint ownership of buildings or real estate
  • Less than $40,000 of individual property (not including cars) owned by either spouse
  • No more than $40,000 of joint property (not including cars) obtained while married
  • Less than $6,000 of debt together

If you meet these requirements, you may find that this form of no-fault, uncontested divorce will work for you and set you on the path to a second chance in six months and one day from the date the respondent is served with the petition and summons.

Other Divorce Options in California

The State of California offers a few other options for couples who will benefit from ending their marriage.

Mediation features a third party who helps settle differences over details outside of court. Both you and your spouse will need to agree on all terms for custody, support, and division of property. The mediation method, both non-binding and voluntary, will not work for everyone.

Collaborative divorce requires an amicable relationship where you and your spouse may reasonably come to an agreement on terms. Each party retains an attorney who is knowledgeable in and committed to collaborative law. The lawyers negotiate and craft a mutually acceptable agreement for you and your spouse to sign. The drawback to the collaborative process is that, if negotiations fall through, you would need to find a new divorce attorney or family lawyer to represent you in the next stage of your divorce.

You may also consider legal separation if you are considering divorce but not ready to take the final steps.

Contact Seabrook Law Offices in San Jose, California

When issues of separation or divorce arise, so do stress and a range of intense emotions. In addition to divorce as a legal issue, it is a highly emotional process for both the adults and children in the family. We understand that even doing a search for the phrase “divorce attorney near me” may be a tough step.

Our knowledgeable team at Seabrook Law Offices believes in giving you a second chance and helping you protect your children’s best interests during this difficult time. Often, the parents are hurting and they don’t realize what a dangerous time it can be for their kids. We encourage parents to tread very carefully.

We will help answer your questions surrounding divorce, custody issues, and family law matters so you can get a fresh start at a new life. Contact us online or call our Seabrook Law Offices in San Jose, CA, at 408-560-4487.

Copyright© 2021. Seabrook Law Offices. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Seabrook Law Offices
6840 Via Del Oro, Ste. 265
San Jose CA 95119
Phone: 408-560-4487

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