Divorce can be complicated and painful, even in the simplest cases. And it can get even more difficult when children are involved and the divorcing spouses have to deal with making custody and child support plans. Or when they have significant shared assets and must reach a resolution that both spouses can agree to in terms of property division, spousal support payments and other complex matters. Fortunately, there are certain steps you can take to make the divorce process easier so you can get your divorce finalized quickly and efficiently and move on with your life. At (619) Divorce, our San Diego uncontested divorce lawyers are committed to helping clients get the best possible outcome in their divorce, even in the trickiest of cases where one or more key issues are at play. Contact our law firm today to find out how we can help you through your uncontested divorce.
Table of Contents San Diego Uncontested Divorce
Experienced Uncontested Divorce Lawyer in San Diego
Whenever possible, divorcing spouses typically choose an uncontested divorce rather than putting themselves through the stress of a long, dragged out contested divorce that they end up having little control over. Unfortunately, divorce is, by its very nature, a complicated and emotional process, and knowing what choices to make in your divorce case can be incredibly challenging. For that reason, a knowledgeable divorce lawyer can be an extremely valuable resource in any divorce case, even one that is uncontested. Too often, we see spouses go into an uncontested divorce thinking they can reach a mutually acceptable resolution, only to discover that they disagree on one or more hot-button issues, like spousal support or the division of property. Conversely, we have also seen divorces that begin as contested cases and end up uncontested, once the spouses realize that they are better off reaching an agreement on their own and avoiding a hearing altogether. Our lawyers at (619) Divorce specialize in a wide variety of divorce cases and have the expertise necessary to assist you at every stage of the divorce process, whatever the circumstances of your case. Read more about uncontested divorce vs. divorce.
What Makes a Divorce Uncontested?
Before a divorce can be finalized in San Diego, all issues relating to the divorce must be resolved, either by default (the respondent doesn’t respond to the divorce petition before the deadline), by agreement (uncontested divorce settlement agreement) or through contested court proceedings (hearings and/or trial). Some people assume that an uncontested divorce simply means both spouses agree to end their marriage. While that is a small part of it, in order for a divorce to be uncontested, the spouses must also come to an agreement on all divorce-related issues, such as spousal support, division of property, child custody and visitation, and child support. If they can’t resolve some or any of these issues on their own, through mediation or with the help of their attorneys, the divorce will be considered contested and a hearing will be held to make a ruling on any remaining disputes. The state of California is fairly accommodating when it comes to divorce cases. For instance, the law does not require that both spouses agree to a divorce. Either spouse can decide to end their marriage and the other spouse cannot prevent the process from moving forward by refusing to participate in the case. In any case where a spouse served with divorce papers (the respondent) does not file a response within 30 days, the result will be a default judgment, not a dismissal of the case. In other words, the divorce case will proceed, and the respondent will have given up his or her right to participate in the case.
The Basics of San Diego Divorce
Each county in California follows the same basic divorce process, but there are certain forms and procedures that may be specific to San Diego County, which is why it is always a good idea to consult a qualified San Diego divorce lawyer when considering a divorce. An experienced lawyer can help you with the divorce paperwork and answer any questions you may have about filing for divorce, responding to a divorce petition, negotiating a divorce settlement, finalizing a divorce or any other important matters. Every uncontested divorce case in San Diego involves unique facts and circumstances and will take a different length of time to resolve. The divorce process can take several months if the divorce is uncontested, or it could take much longer if there are complex issues that you and your spouse can’t agree on, like spousal support payments or a child custody arrangement. For all divorces in San Diego, whether contested or uncontested, there is a mandatory six-month waiting period before the divorce becomes final. That means you will have to wait at least six months from the date the respondent is served with the divorce papers or files a response to the petition for your divorce to be finalized.
Residency Requirements for San Diego Divorce
In order to get a divorce in San Diego, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state of California for six months and in San Diego County for at least three months before the divorce petition is filed. If you want to get a divorce in San Diego, but neither you nor your spouse meet the residency requirements, you still have options. You can go ahead and file for a legal separation first and then revise the petition later to ask for divorce once you meet the residency requirements.
Grounds for Divorce in San Diego
When it comes to divorce, California is a no-fault state, which means neither spouse must prove any wrongdoing on the part of the other spouse in order to get a divorce. Under California law, there are only two legal grounds for divorce: “irreconcilable differences,” the most common reason, which simply means the spouses can’t get along, and “incurable insanity,” which can only be used with proof, such as medical or psychiatric testimony showing that the spouse was incurably insane at the time the petition was filed, and remains so.
Where to File for Divorce in San Diego
If you decide to get an uncontested divorce in San Diego, you can begin the process by filing a petition for divorce with the Superior Court in San Diego County and serving your spouse with copies of the petition and paperwork. If your spouse has already filed a divorce petition, that makes you the respondent. If that is the case, you have just 30 calendar days after being served to formally respond to the divorce by filing the proper response form(s). In San Diego, it doesn’t matter which spouse files the divorce papers first. The court doesn’t give any preference to the person who files the divorce petition, known as the petitioner, nor any disadvantage to the respondent. After the petition and response are filed, you and your spouse will be required to prepare and file a number of documents before your divorce can be finalized, which is why having a reputable divorce lawyer to consult is useful.
What a San Diego Divorce Lawyer Can Do for You
Uncontested divorce is the least complicated of the two main divorce options in San Diego. Even so, the uncontested divorce process can be stressful and confusing, especially if you and your spouse have children, significant assets or debts and/or valuable community property. Divorce is a life-changing event and the more you know about the divorce process and how it will affect you, the better prepared you can be. If you are thinking about filing for divorce or if your spouse has already filed a divorce petition in San Diego, our knowledgeable divorce lawyers at (619) Divorce can help. We have represented clients in uncontested divorces for more than a decade and we know what it takes to make the process go as smoothly as possible and avoid any unnecessary delays. Although California law says that you can represent yourself in your uncontested divorce, we always recommend at least consulting with a San Diego divorce lawyer so you have a clear understanding of your rights and can get objective legal advice about your divorce case. Whether you need help gathering the proper divorce forms, accounting for marital assets or negotiating a divorce settlement with your spouse, we are here to help. We will also help you litigate your case if there are certain issues that you and your spouse can’t agree on and you end up going to court. This process may be necessary to resolve disputes regarding spousal support, child custody, property division or other sensitive matters relating to your divorce. For more information about uncontested divorces in San Diego, or to speak to an attorney about your case, contact our firm today and schedule a free initial consultation.
Contact Our San Diego Divorce Lawyers for a Consultation
Getting a divorce can be draining, both emotionally and financially. However, you can save yourself a great deal of time and money by hiring an experienced San Diego divorce lawyer to handle the details of your case for you. At (619) Divorce, our divorce attorneys have extensive experience handling uncontested and contested divorces in California, San Diego, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Orange County, Fresno, Riverside, San Francisco and we will walk you through every step of the process so you can get your divorce finalized as quickly and painlessly as possible.