The Uncontested Divorce Process
Default Divorces & Uncontested Divorces
In California, if you fail to respond to your spouse’s divorce Petition,
or if you file a Response but reach an agreement, your case will be considered
either a “default” or an “uncontested divorce.”
In a default case, the person that did not file a Response to the Petition
in a timely manner gives up their right to have any say in the outcome
of the case. This means that issues like property division,
spousal support, and other issues will be entirely left up to the other party, subject
to approval by the judge. Most people, however, won’t go this route
because they want to have an active role in important decisions that will
affect their future.
Before signing any agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, make sure
you fully understand everything that you are agreeing to so that there
is no confusion later on. It is also important that you make sure that
your agreement has met all of the necessary legal requirements (for example,
there are a number of considerations for calculating child support, etc.)
It is always a good idea to involve a lawyer before signing an agreement
to ensure that its stipulations are in your best interest.
Creating & Submitting Written Agreements
If more than 30 days have passed and you still have not responded to your
spouse’s Petition for divorce, you can still draft a written agreement
with your spouse even though the case is now in default. Or, you can draft
your agreement after you have responded to the Petition in order to avoid
having to litigate issues related to your divorce.
Whether or not you choose to respond to your spouse’s Petition for
divorce, you can work together to reach an agreement about how you end
your marriage. This can include making decisions about how you will divide
up your assets and debts, whether spousal support is needed, and, if you
have children together, what arrangements for child support, custody,
and visitation are needed.
After creating your written agreement, you must then fill out the final
forms asking the court for a Judgment.
A complete list of the forms you will need to fill out, including a
Request to Enter Default,
Declaration for Default of Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation, any applicable child custody and support forms, and other required forms
can be found online on the
California Courts website.
After you have completed these forms, you should have them reviewed by
an experienced attorney, who can check to ensure that they are completed
correctly before you proceed with your case. Then, you will need to make
two copies of each form. The originals stay with the court, and the two
copies are for you and your spouse. You must then submit all of your forms
to the court clerk, who will then pass them along to a judge for review.
If everything is completed correctly, the judge will sign the Judgment
without the spouses having to appear in court. If not, you may have to
fix the error, or a court appearance may be necessary. Later, you will
receive a copy of your Judgment in the mail.
Whether your case is contested or uncontested,
divorce can be a lengthy and complex process. Contact The Buncher Law Corporation
to speak with an Orange County divorce lawyer at our firm during a consultation.
We’re here to help.