A divorce may be contested or uncontested. The difference lies in the spouses’ abilities to agree on settlements for various issues. Many advantages exist to an uncontested divorce, such as avoiding a lengthy trial and maintaining control over the outcomes. Still, this path might not be ideal for couples who cannot work together or have a history of domestic violence or dishonesty.
And while an uncontested divorce is resolved by the spouses coming to mutual agreements, it may be beneficial for parties to be represented by family law attorneys. With legal counsel, the spouses can make informed and confident decisions.
Exploring the Different Types of Divorce
Going through a divorce can be emotionally arduous, as it involves ending a relationship. If you live in California and are thinking about getting a divorce, there are two main types to consider: contested and uncontested.
In a contested divorce, one or both parties disagree on matters such as child custody, spousal support, or property division. As a result, the divorcing couple must take the matter to court for a judge to decide.
On the other hand, an uncontested divorce occurs when both parties can agree on critical issues without court intervention. Uncontested divorces are an efficient and cost-effective way of dissolving a marriage.
Examining the Criteria for an Uncontested Divorce
The process of an uncontested divorce in California can be a straightforward, amicable way for couples to end their marriage. Several criteria must be met for spouses to pursue this type of divorce.
At least one of the spouses must have met the residency requirement by living in the state for at least 6 months and the county for at least 3 months before filing for divorce.
For the divorce to remain uncontested, finding common ground is essential. Because of this, both spouses must be able and willing to compromise and recognize that their future might not look exactly as they anticipated. The situation also requires that both spouses have mutual respect and are able to listen to each other’s different perspectives.
Lastly, both spouses must mutually agree on the terms of their divorce and sign all necessary paperwork.
With both spouses focusing on moving forward and progressing beyond their quarrels with as little bitterness as possible, they may be able to find amicable resolutions.
Strategies Used to Negotiate Disagreements in an Uncontested Divorce
With a peaceful resolution in mind, couples may discuss their issues and work together on an agreement directly. This entails compromise. Both parties must be willing to come to a decision by considering the other’s point of view.
Alternatively, some couples may turn to mediation to reach an amicable outcome. This process involves a neutral third party listening to both spouses’ wants and facilitating constructive conversations. The mediator does not make decisions. They only try to keep discussions on track.
Through conversations together or with the help of mediation, the couple creates a marital settlement agreement that they then present to the court for approval.
Assessing the Various Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is an option that allows couples to end their marriage in a respectful, mutually beneficial way. It can provide peace of mind and minimal disruption to life as well as save time, stress, and money compared to more expensive and lengthy court proceedings.
Let’s explore some of these advantages in a bit more detail.
The Legal Benefits
First, an uncontested divorce can allow the couple to maintain a certain level of privacy that may be lost in a contested divorce argued in court.
Second, uncontested divorces do not need to be resolved at trial. Thus, while the spouses may need attorneys to help through the earlier stages, they do not need legal counsel for litigation.
The Procedural Benefits
The process of an uncontested divorce is much quicker than that of a contested one. A contested divorce can take anywhere from a year or more to resolve. In contrast, an uncontested one can be settled in as little as a few months.
Additionally, an uncontested divorce gives the couple more control over the outcome of their situation. They get to decide on the settlements that best fit their family’s needs without relying on a judge with limited knowledge of their circumstances to make orders they might disagree with.
The Financial Benefits
Divorcing couples can save money with an uncontested divorce. Because the spouses agree to work out the details between themselves, they do not have to go to trial, allowing them to avoid court fees.
Potential Complications that May Arise in an Uncontested Divorce
While uncontested divorces can be incredibly beneficial when couples agree on the division of assets, support obligations, and other matters, this avenue is not recommended in some situations.
A spouse may want to avoid an uncontested divorce if domestic abuse is involved. The abusive spouse might try to control the situation or manipulate the other spouse to agree to things that put them at a significant disadvantage.
Additionally, in matters involving dishonesty or a narcissistic spouse, other problems may arise. For instance, the spouse might hide assets, preventing the equitable distribution of property.
Seeking Legal Help for Your Case
If you’re considering filing an uncontested divorce in California, it might be a good idea to consult a family law attorney. While you don’t necessarily need legal counsel to file for this type of divorce, a lawyer can provide valuable assistance during each stage. They can answer your questions and help complete the required forms. Additionally, they can advise on negotiations and review settlements to protect your rights and best interests.
At Claery & Hammond, LLP, our Los Angeles attorneys deliver trusted legal representation. Schedule a consultation by calling us at (310) 817-6904.