In the state of California, there are several “types” of divorce – but they all lead to one thing: the dissolution of your marriage. The types of divorce people discuss usually refer to the process that leads to the divorce decree.
Types of Divorce in California
When people talk about the different types of divorce, they’re generally referring to things like:
- Fault-based and no-fault divorce
- Uncontested divorce
- Contested divorce
- Collaborative divorce
Let’s take a deeper look at each of these types of divorce.
Fault-Based and No-Fault Divorce
California is a no-fault divorce state, which means you don’t have to prove that one party or the other did something wrong in order to end your marriage. Instead, you simply have to tell the court that you and your spouse can no longer remain married because you have irreconcilable differences.
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that a spouse’s mess-up – like infidelity, for example – will have an impact on the outcome of the divorce. However, that’s not true. Cheating won’t affect the way the courts decide to divide your property or anything else, except in very rare circumstances (such as if your spouse spent all your family’s money on his or her fling, or if your spouse engaged in sexual acts in front of your children).
An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties are able to agree to all – or at least most – of the major issues involved. That includes things like:
Sometimes couples are able to agree to these things through mediation (which can be part of a collaborative divorce, as well), but sometimes they go back-and-forth without assistance and reach agreements on all the major issues on their own.
In an uncontested divorce, when both spouses agree on big issues, the judge will generally sign off on the couple’s arrangement – as long as it’s fair to both parties and the children involved. If it’s not fair to everyone (at least reasonably fair, that is), the judge isn’t going to agree and will most likely tell the parties to reach a new agreement or make decisions for the couple.
Related: What is divorce mediation?
A contested divorce is one in which the parties can’t reach agreements on the important issues. For example, if a couple is fine with dividing property but can’t agree on who gets the kids and when, the custody part of the divorce is contested.
It’s almost always better for couples to reach these important decisions on their own. If you and your spouse can’t agree, you’ll end up forcing the judge to decide – and usually, that happens after spending a lot of time in court (and a lot of money on lawyer’s fees). Litigating is typically more stressful than dealing with your spouse for a limited amount of time, too.
However, there are some cases in which it’s absolutely necessary to litigate. When one spouse is completely uncooperative and won’t budge (and won’t work with a mediator), for example, you don’t have a choice. In that case, you need an exceptionally tough Stockton divorce attorney in your corner.
Collaborative divorce, while it’s not right for everyone, is the type of divorce that leaves both parties feeling reasonably satisfied with the outcome. In a collaborative divorce, the two spouses agree to work together to find solutions for all the major issues. Sometimes they work with mediators, and sometimes they don’t – but the bottom line is that a collaborative divorce requires input and a lot of give-and-take from both parties.
Related: Divorce mediation checklist
Do You Need to Learn More About These Types of Divorce?
If you’re in Stockton and you’re considering divorce – or if your spouse has already filed for divorce – we may be able to help you.
Call us right now at (209) 546-6870 to schedule a consultation with divorce attorney Anna Maples. We’ll answer your questions about child custody, child support and other matters, as well as refer you to local professionals if you need help that we can’t provide, such as divorce counseling or asset management.