What is a Uncontested Divorce in San Fernando Valley

hand shakeAn uncontested divorce is when both spouses are in full agreement on the issues and terms of their divorce. The terms would include division of all assets and liabilities, Spousal Support if appropriate, and if children involved, Child Support and the creation of a Parenting Plan.

BY AGREEMENT OR BY DEFAULT – “Uncontested Divorce” can take two paths (1) where both spouses agree on all issues concerning the divorce, including –but not limited to– the division of marital assets, property and debts, child custody, child support, and spousal support (alimony), or (2) where one spouse is taking a deliberately passive role and refuses to or does not engage in the process. Often times, a passive spouse, who was served a “complaint for dissolution” will fail to file a response in the allotted 30-days.

Just because your spouse does not want to do participate – in the divorce process, that does not mean that you have to remain legally married. There are sometimes initial difficulties getting the divorce process started if your spouse is actively avoiding being served the initial “divorce papers,” which is legally referred to as service of process.1

1What is “Service of Process?” California state law requires that when you sue a person, partnership, corporation, or the government, you must give formal notice to the other side that you have started the legal process. The legal way to give formal notice is to have the other side “served” with a copy of the paperwork that you have filed with the court. This is called “service of process.” In “service of process” a third person (NOT you) is the one who actually delivers the paperwork to the other side. The person who does this is called the “server” or “process server.”

The “server” or “process server” can be:

  • A friend or relative;
  • A coworker;
  • A county sheriff or marshal;
  • A professional process server; or
  • Anyone over 18 who is NOT part of the case.

Fortunately – we have lots of experience in Service of Process.

Uncontested Divorce by DefaultUNCONTESTED DIVORCE BY DEFAULT – If your spouse chooses to not participate in the court process, the non-responsive spouse is considered the “defaulting party,” and forfeits most any say in the outcome. certain Issues can often still be reduced to a legally enforceable agreement even where one spouse is non-cooperative and in default. Essentially, you call all the shots and –within reason– get most everything your way.

When someone defaults and refuses to participate – marital matters can often be worked into a legally enforceable settlement agreement. We will prepare all of the legal filings and make any court appearances that are necessary to help you complete your divorce and get on with your new life.

Best to Have an Attorney – Even in an Uncontested Divorce

Even if all the pieces line up – and you are looking at an uncontested divorce, you should consult with an experienced divorce lawyer who will coach you through creating your written settlement agreement to be certain what you have in your final settlement agreement is what you really want, as you will have to live with that agreement for years to come. Once finalized, it is very difficult to go back and make changes.

UNCONTESTED DIVORCE PROCEDURES – Couples wanting to file for dissolution of their marriage are required to follow specific procedures and be in total agreement about the divorce terms. Uncontested divorces may also include some complicated issues such as: terms of divorce, property division, inheritance matters, child custody, and child and spousal support terms.

As divorce lawyers for 30 odd years – you might be surprised at all that we’ve learned. Our experience can often help those doing an uncontested divorce with some golden nuggets of options to consider that will save both parties future regret, stress, money and taxes in the coming years. Seriously? Yes…

You might be surprised that there are many creative ways – to structure spousal support, child support, and property division so that each spouse get the results that fit their new life like a glove AND offer each party a better deal financially because, left to their own limited experience will overlook future tax benefits and/or ugly tax consequences. Doing it wrong could cost you thousands of dollars paid to the tax authorities that would otherwise remain in your wallet or purse. It could be in your best interest to have a consultation and possibly some oversight. Call us!

Do I Have to Appear in Court?

Will I have to appear in family court? – The answer is generally no. However, if you have a case where your spouse is in default –that is– they have chosen a passive “screw it” stance, and your case includes division of property such as a family home, and/or children, the judge may want you to appear in court to ask you some questions before the judge will feel comfortable in “signing off” on your dissolution paperwork. If going to court is uncomfortable for you, we can be there beside you, or if that is still stressful, we will be happy to attend your default hearing as your legal representative.

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take to Complete?

An uncontested divorce can take as little as four or five weeks to complete and submit all the required paperwork to the court. Then, typically, the court will take an additional four to five weeks to process and return the final paperwork. Upshot, the paperwork process is a straight-forward uncontested divorce can take from 6 to 10 weeks on average, but you will not be legally single again for exactly 6 months for you to be single again.

California Has a 6-Month Waiting Period

California Has a 6-Month Waiting PeriodCalifornia has a 6 month waiting period. The clock starts on the date you serve your spouse with your divorce papers —not as some think— when you file your petition. However, both of those steps must occur before the clock begins ticking. If you filed your petition on January 1st, but your spouse cannot be properly served until February 1st, the the clock did not start until the 1st of February.

Let’s continue our scenario using these dates. – Your spouse returns to California from out of state and accepts service (as expected) on February 1. You work as a team to prepare, submit, and get your uncontested divorce paperwork approved and returned from the court which enters a decree of dissolution in exactly 2 months on April 1st. You will both be legally single on August 1st —not on July 1st which would be 6 months from filing the petition.

Nemiroff & Cohen – Protecting Your Rights – Reducing Your Stress!

To resolve all of these issues that are part of the uncontested divorce process, you need a qualified and experienced divorce lawyer on your side. Lauren Nemiroff and Gail Cohen are both Board-Certified Family Law Specialists with the experience that makes a difference for our clients. We have helped literally thousands of people in the San Fernando Valley successfully emerge from a divorce, even when the process appeared overwhelming at first. Divorce will not always be easy, but with us on your side, you’ll have the support you need to be confident going forward.

Schedule an Appointment with a Certified Family Law Specialist Today

Call Nemiroff & Cohen, LLP at (818) 901-8900 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with a caring and experienced family law attorney.

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