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The 3 Types of Uncontested Divorces

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2021 | Divorce, Uncontested Divorces

In California, there are three ways that a San Diego court will consider your divorce to be uncontested. In this article, we explain all three types of uncontested divorces, so you can make an informed decision and decide if you need to schedule a free consultation with Stephen Smith. Here are the three options for an uncontested divorce:

  • Summary Dissolution
  • Default Case with a Written Agreement
  • Default Case without a Written Agreement

After reading this article, you can decide if you need to schedule a free consultation with Smith Family Law to discuss your situation and explain your options. We see intelligent people try to handle their own divorce but make one simple mistake. The mistake results in a contested divorce, and financially could be a lot more than hiring Stephen Smith to handle your divorce from the start.

Uncontested Divorces by Summary Dissolution

A summary dissolution is a type of uncontested divorce where the spouses agree on key issues; however, there are severe restrictions on who can file. If you have children or a lot of property, a summary dissolution is not for you. You must meet these requirements:

  • Either you or your spouse must have lived in California for the last six months and for the last three months in the county where you plan to file for a summary dissolution. (There is an exception for same-sex couples.)
  • You do not own land or buildings.
  • You do not rent land or buildings outside of your residence, and you do not have an option to buy or lease for longer than one year.
  • You do not owe over $6,000 in debts acquired since you got married (with some exceptions, such as car loans).
  • You have less than $45,000 in property acquired during your marriage.
  • You do not own separate property worth over $45,000.
  • You must agree that neither spouse will get spousal support.
  • You must sign an agreement that divides your property and debts.

In other words, summary dissolution is for couples whose situation is not very complex. You and your spouse may agree on all aspects of your divorce, so an uncontested divorce seems simple. Simple mistakes often are the result of not following the proper legal process. At Smith Family Law, we are experts in the legal divorce process. If you and your spouse change your mind on just one primary issue of your divorce, you may end up in a contested divorce where a judge will decide on the issue for you. Our goal is to prevent that from happening when possible.

Uncontested Divorces by a Default Case with a Written Agreement

If you and your spouse do not fit the restrictions of a summary dissolution, a default case with a written stipulated agreement may be the answer. A stipulated agreement is where the spouses agree in a notarized document on all the main aspects of the divorce, such as division of property, child custody, and spousal support. If one spouse files for divorce and the other spouse does not respond within 30 days of being served, the divorce is considered uncontested. Even though the spouse did not respond, the judge will be guided by the stipulated agreement.

In this situation, you need an experienced San Diego divorce lawyer to help you develop the agreement to ensure both parties get what they agreed is fair, and there are no nasty surprises later. Your divorce attorney will also file all the proper documentation the court needs in the correct format before it can declare your divorce final.

Uncontested Divorces by a Default Case without a Written Agreement

The third kind of uncontested divorce is where a couple does not have a stipulated agreement.  One spouse serves the other with divorce papers. If the recipient spouse does not respond within the allotted 30 days, the divorce becomes uncontested.

When a spouse does not respond in a timely fashion, they may have given up their rights to address the court later about key issues such as property division. Unless the spouse who filed the divorce asks for something outrageous, the judge will usually give them what they request, absent any opposition from the other spouse. If you are served with divorce papers before deciding not to respond, discuss it with an experienced lawyer. At the very least, have an attorney review your partner’s divorce petition to see what you are giving up by not responding.

How to Schedule a Free Divorce Consultation with Smith Family Law

Schedule your consultation by calling (619) 431-3131 Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. You may also fill out our contact form or utilize our live chat anytime on our website.