Most divorcing spouses in California prefer an uncontested divorce over a contested divorce. Not only do contested divorce cases tend to be more expensive and time-consuming than uncontested divorce, they also typically result in a judge telling the divorcing spouses what their child custody and visitation arrangement will be. No parent wants to leave the fate of their child in the hands of a judge. Even in an uncontested divorce, however, child custody issues aren’t always as straightforward as you might think. The best way to protect your rights as a spouse and parent and ensure that the best interests of your children are being served in your divorce case is to hire an experienced California uncontested divorce and child custody lawyer. Our lawyers at (619) Divorce know what it means for children to be involved in a divorce and we will do everything in our power to help you resolve your divorce and child custody issues as reasonably and painlessly as possible. We care about the outcome of your case and we are here to help.
Skilled Uncontested Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer
If your child custody rights are at stake in your California divorce case, it is imperative that you consult a reputable divorce lawyer with experience handling a wide range of child custody cases. Even if your divorce is considered “uncontested,” meaning you and your spouse have agreed to end the marriage and reach a resolution regarding the terms of your divorce, things can quickly get ugly when child custody comes into play. It is not uncommon for uncontested divorces to suddenly become contested when one spouse decides that the child custody agreement you had written up isn’t fair. In cases such as this, it is in your best interest to have a lawyer in your corner who is familiar with your case and can fight to protect your rights. Whatever the circumstances of your specific case, if child custody is at issue in your divorce, you want a skilled California divorce lawyer on your side who can explain your rights under the law and ensure that the agreement you are signing is one you approve and can comply with now and in the future. At (619) Divorce, we have experience handling a wide variety of divorce cases in California, helping clients resolve their divorce and child custody issues in an efficient and satisfactory manner. With more than a decade of experience in divorce and family law, you can count on (619) Divorce to handle your divorce and child custody case with the utmost compassion, discretion and attention to detail.
Uncontested Divorce and Child Custody Issues
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
Under California law, an uncontested divorce is a divorce in which the spouses do not disagree on the terms of their divorce. There are two ways in which an uncontested divorce can play out. In one scenario, the two spouses see eye to eye and come to an agreement about how their property will be divided and how they will share custody of their children. In the other scenario, one spouse files a petition for divorce and the other spouse fails to respond to the petition during the required time frame. If this it the case, the judge can issue a default judgment in favor of the spouse who filed and approve the terms he or she has requested. Whichever category your divorce case falls under, it is important to consult an experienced attorney who can explain every option available to you under the law so you can make an informed decision about how you will proceed.
Child Custody in an Uncontested Divorce
Many parents getting divorced in California agree to an uncontested divorce because they feel they can work out an equitable agreement with one another and want to avoid putting their children in the middle of a contentious divorce. In any California divorce case where child custody is an issue, the divorcing parents are urged to work together toward a mutually acceptable agreement that serves the best interest of the children. If the divorcing parents aren’t able to agree on a child custody sharing plan, the case will be considered a “contested” divorce and a court hearing will be scheduled. California Family Code section § 3170 mandates that divorcing parents in California pursue counseling prior to the court hearing in an attempt to reach a resolution without the court getting involved. If the parents are able to reach an agreement on their own through private counseling, the court hearing may be cancelled. If no agreement is reached, the court will hear both sides of the dispute and make a recommendation for child custody. Whatever the court decides in terms of child custody is final and binding.
Determining Child Support in Divorce
If you are getting a divorce and you and your spouse have children together, you could also end up being responsible for child support payments, depending on your income, your spouse’s income and your children’s needs, among other factors. According to California Family Code § 4053, both parents, whether they are married, were never married or are divorced, are responsible for the financial support of their children. If your spouse has primary custody of your children and makes $1,000 per month, and you, as the non-custodial parent, make $5,000 per month, you may be required to pay child support to help cover your children’s living expenses. Child support is inextricably linked to child custody and parents who are getting a divorce in California will have to consider how much child support will be paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. Typically, when a judge issues a child custody order in a California divorce case, he or she will also issue a child support order. Parents can agree to a support amount on their own, but the court will have to approve the agreement. That means, if you and your spouse can come to an agreement on child custody, child support and any other issues, you may be able to keep your divorce case from going to court and being decided by a judge.
Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce
Compared to contested divorces, uncontested divorces tend to be less stressful and emotional for everyone involved, including any children whose custody is at issue. Too often, we see contested divorces tear a family apart and there is often no coming back from that, especially for children who get caught in the middle. The following are some other benefits of an uncontested divorce when child custody is involved:
- You and your spouse can agree on what is best for you and your children, without the intervention of a judge.
- You can cut down on any expenses you may incur from your case going to court.
- You and your spouse can come to a quicker resolution rather than waiting weeks or even months for your case to be decided.
- You can keep your divorce out of the public eye by avoiding litigation.
- You and your spouse can maintain a friendly or at least civil relationship, to the shared benefit of yourselves and your children.
- You can prevent your children from feeling like they are in the middle of your relationship problems.
How an Experienced Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer Can Help
There are a number of major, life-changing issues that can arise during a divorce case, one of the most critical and potentially contentious issues being child custody. No parent wants to lose custody of their children in a divorce and child custody disagreements are often what make divorce cases so long, dragged out and costly. However, even if you and your spouse are able to reach a mutually acceptable agreement with regard to the custody of your children, it is important to have a California divorce lawyer review the agreement before you sign it. The child custody agreement may require you to comply with certain legal requirements, in which case it is imperative that you understand these requirements in full, so you can follow the rules and avoid putting your child custody or visitation rights at risk. If the resolution you reach in your divorce involves the payment of child support, you will also want to have your attorney review the support agreement to ensure that it is in line with California guidelines.
Consult Our California Divorce and Child Custody Lawyers Today
Going through a divorce in California can be difficult enough on its own. Unfortunately, for spouses who have children together, a divorce also means they must make a decision regarding child custody and possibly child support as well. Every divorce case in California is unique and you will likely have specific questions about how your divorce could affect your child custody rights and other important aspects of your life. Whatever caused your divorce, it would be helpful to speak to an attorney who can give you answers based on your specific situation. Contact (619) Divorce today for a free uncontested divorce and child custody consultation.