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How Does the Uncontested Divorce Process Compare to a Contested Divorce?


Uncontested Divorce in California

In a California uncontested divorce case, a divorce petition has been filed, but there are no important issues in dispute. Parties should create a written agreement that addresses all the important issues, including the division of assets and liabilities, and child custody and support. The agreement must be filed with the court and a judge must approve in order for the divorce to be final.

Even an uncontested divorce cannot be granted until 6 months have elapsed since the divorce petition was served on the other spouse. Always consult an attorney to ensure the written agreement meets all legal requirements regarding residency, jurisdiction, and proper service.

Default Cases

In a default with agreement case, no response is filed but there is a written agreement between the spouses. A related type of case is default without agreement. This is where the other spouse has not filed a response and the court processes the divorce without the participation of the non-filing spouse.

Summary Dissolution

A divorce is also called a “dissolution” in California. Another type of uncontested divorce case is the summary dissolution. This option is available to couples that have been married less than 5 years, have no children or real property, and very few assets or debts. If all requirements are met, the couple does not need to go to trial or any hearings. During the 6 month waiting period after the joint petition is filed, if either party wants to dispute an item, they can demand a court hearing.

Although this process can be more convenient for certain couples, it also limits their ability to appeal the terms of the divorce to a higher court.

Contested Divorce in California

Contested divorce cases occur where the parties cannot reach an agreement on one or more key issues of a divorce. If any unresolved issues remain after the parties have tried to reach a solution by mediation, negotiations through attorneys, or other methods, they will be litigated in court. Contested cases typically take longer to conclude, as they involve court litigation and often multiple hearings.

Consult an Experienced Divorce Attorney in California About Your Options

Do you have questions about which type of divorce is right for you? Contact a Fresno and San Diego divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Rebecca Medina or call us at 559-324-5427 in Fresno or 858-285-4315 in San Diego today.

Rebecca MedinaAbout the Author: Rebecca Medina

Rebecca Medina is an experienced Family Law attorney, mediator and Collaborative Divorce Lawyer serving the Fresno and San Diego areas. She handles cases ranging from complex divorce matters to child custody, spousal support, prenuptial/postnuptial agreements, QDROs and uncontested divorce cases. She was rated “Clients’ Choice” by Avvo.

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