If you’re like many people, you’ve heard that there are two types of divorces: Contested and uncontested.
But what is uncontested divorce in California, and why does it matter?
What is Uncontested Divorce in California?
An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse don’t fight in court – you come to a resolution on your own.
If you and your spouse have an uncontested divorce, it means that you have agreed on (or you have not disagreed on):
- How to handle your property
- What to do about your joint debts
- Child custody and other parenting issues
- Whether one of you will receive spousal support
In an uncontested divorce, you may not even need to have the court hear your case. You and your spouse, along with your Stockton divorce attorneys, can handle everything without appearing in court.
How Common Are Uncontested Divorces?
Uncontested divorces are fairly common in California – but they don’t always start out that way. In fact, many couples who don’t agree on much (or anything at all) find that after some time has passed, it’s a wiser choice to reach agreements on their own, with or without the help of a mediator. Sometimes the two spouses involved in a contentious divorce decide that it costs too much in legal fees, or realize that the divorce is dragging on for months waiting for a court date; in other cases, the couple realizes that if they don’t eventually agree, the judge will have to decide for them and they may not be happy with the outcome.
How to Handle Property and Debts in an Uncontested Divorce
You and your spouse may be able to negotiate who gets which property and what debts you’re each responsible for paying. If you can reach an agreement, the court will generally accept it – provided that it’s fair and equitable to both of you.
Property you brought into the marriage, or property that came to you through certain means (such as an inheritance) may belong to only you. It’s best if you talk to your attorney about how you and your spouse intend to divide your property before you make any commitments.
Child Custody and Parenting Issues in an Uncontested Divorce
The court will generally determine the amount of child support that changes hands during a contested divorce, but in an uncontested one, parents can agree to a fair amount of child support if the support is actually enough to meet the children’s needs and they:
- Know their child support rights
- Know how much California guidelines say they are entitled to receive
- Aren’t on public assistance and have not applied for public assistance
- Aren’t pressured or forced to agree to it
- Believe that the amount is in the children’s best interests
- Have a judge approve the amount of the payments
Spousal Support in an Uncontested Divorce
If you and your spouse agree to a fair amount of spousal support, the judge may sign off on it. Again, it’s best to talk to your attorney about spousal support if you plan to work out your own agreement with your ex, whether you’ll be the one paying it or the one receiving it.
Do You Need to Talk to a Divorce Lawyer in Stockton?