California is a “no-fault” divorce state. A no-fault divorce will be given when one spouse or domestic partner states that the couple cannot get along. This type is referred to as “irreconcilable differences.”
Similarly, the divorce will go through even if one of the spouses doesn’t participate in the entire divorce process. In this situation, the judge will pass a “default” judgment, and the divorce will be considered valid.
The divorce process in California requires at least one of the spouses to have been a resident for at least six months before filing the divorce petition. You must also live in the county where you file the divorce petition for at least three months before filing.
Summary Dissolution: The Easy Divorce
If you are a couple who have been married for less than five years, don’t have children, own no real estate, and have relatively limited property and debts, you may qualify for a summary dissolution.
You and your spouse must file an agreement to the court detailing how you will divide your property and debts, together with a joint divorce petition and other required forms. A summary dissolution takes less time and requires fewer procedures and appearances, unlike a regular divorce.
Divorce Process: Mediation
Sometimes, a judge may require a couple to go through a mediation process before they hear a case.
This process will allow you and your partner to come to an agreeable settlement with the help of a neutral third-party. The mediator listens to both of you and helps craft a mutually beneficial decision. By going through mediation, couples can resolve issues in any area of a divorce, including child support, spousal support, property division, and more.
Mediation has many benefits, such as reduced costs and more flexible sessions. It is a quicker process than going through a court trial. Therefore, it is a preferred method of divorce.
However, if you cannot come to a complete agreement, you can still settle on agreeable terms in certain areas and then proceed to litigation with any remaining issues.
Divorce Process: Litigation
When couples can’t settle a divorce through the mediation process, the case will go to trial before a judge. A divorce trial can involve dispute settlement ranging from assets to child custody to child and spousal support.
The first step in a litigation process is for a person to file for a divorce. This person can do this without the consent of their partner. The person filing for divorce does not need to show their partner has been at fault for some action inside the marriage.
In other words, a person will not be treated with any prejudice during the decision even if there was some amount of fault, such as an affair.
Once the person filing for divorce has concluded the appropriate paperwork and filed with the court system, their partner must be notified or served the divorce papers. Sometimes a person cannot be found to serve their papers.
If this is the case, there are several ways the court can help you, including the judge entering a default divorce judgment. Here is where the person being divorced can choose to respond. Once a person has been served divorce papers, they may respond by filling out the appropriate forms and returning them to the party.
Once the appropriate papers have been filed with the right sources, the divorce process can continue. The couple will enter into one of the previously mentioned processes, mediation or litigation. It is only when one or both of these processes occur that a judgment can be finalized. Once this process is complete, the couple is then divorced.
Contact A California Divorce Attorney To Help You Through The Process
The legal process of divorce in California can be very complicated. Californian-based family law attorney, Bruce A. Mandel, will assist you throughout the divorce process, such as filing, mediation, litigation, and settlement.