Irvine Uncontested Divorce Attorney

Divorce does not always have to be messy and bitter. In ideal divorce situations, the spouses are able to come to an agreement as to the terms of the divorce (i.e., property division, spousal support, child visitation, etc.) with minimal acrimony or court intervention. These types of divorces are known as uncontested divorces, meaning, essentially, that the spouses resolve the issues on their own. Despite an apparent lack of conflict, however, there’s no denying that an Irvine uncontested divorce attorney can help make the process less complicated and is useful should the tide turn. 

Uncontested vs. No Fault Divorce

As a threshold matter, it is important to note that uncontested divorces and no fault divorces are not the same thing. A no fault divorce simply means that the spouse who files for divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse did anything wrong, but merely that the couple cannot get along anymore due to “irreconcilable differences.” In California, all divorces are no fault divorces by default. An uncontested divorce means that the spouses reach a resolution on the terms of the divorce on their own. This is in contrast to a contested divorce, where the spouses are unable to reach an agreement on their own, which often requires a divorce trial.

How Uncontested Divorces Work in California

Uncontested divorces begin the same way as all divorces begin — one spouse files a petition for divorce, which is then served upon the other spouse. The spouse who is served then has 30 days to respond to the petition. The divorce becomes uncontested when the respondent accepts the petitioner’s request or does not respond to it at all (which allows the petitioner to obtain a default judgment). Alternatively, the respondent may file a response indicating that the parties have reached an agreement (known as a stipulated agreement) on the following matters: 

  1. Property and debt division
  2. Spousal support
  3. Child support and child custody (subject to certain legal requirements)

Either the petitioner or the respondent will file this stipulated agreement (along with any other necessary forms) with the court, which will then review it and issue a judgment. 

What About Summary Dissolution? 

In California, the quickest and easiest way to get divorced is through a summary dissolution. However, summary dissolutions are not available to all couples. Specifically, couples requesting a summary dissolution must meet all of the following requirements: 

  • They have been married for less than five years
  • They have no children together born or adopted during the marriage
  • They do not own any part of land or buildings
  • They do not rent any land or buildings (other than where they live)
  • They do not owe more than $6,000 in debts acquired since the date of marriage
  • They have less than $45,000 worth of community property
  • They do not have separate property worth more than $45,000
  • They agree that neither spouse will ever get spousal support 
  • They have signed an agreement that divides the property and debts

Due to the very strict requirements for summary dissolution, most couples in California must obtain divorces the traditional way. 

Contact an Irvine Uncontested Divorce Attorney

For most couples, an uncontested divorce is the quickest, easiest, and least expensive way to get divorced, and is one that the law encourages. For more information about uncontested divorces, including whether an uncontested divorce is right for you, please contact an Irvine uncontested divorce attorney at Seastrom Tuttle & Murphy by using our online form or calling us at 949-474-0800.