Here are the steps to an uncontested divorce. As explained previously, (What is an uncontested divorce ), there are various types of uncontested divorces available in California. I am a divorce attorney in the city of Long Beach, California and I file these uncontested divorces mostly in Long Beach, and the rest of Los Angeles County as well as Orange County. Nevertheless, the same procedure is available through out the state of California. Although we call them uncontested divorces, to the courts in California; the type of uncontested divorce I am writing about are known as hybrid defaults. Below are the steps:
Prepare and file the Petition and Summons
Normally, I, or any competent family law attorney, will prepare the Petition so that it includes everything that is wanted by both parties in the final judgment of divorce. This means;
- listing all the property and debts and specifying who gets what property and who pays which debt.
- Specifying custody (i.e. legal and physical custody) and visitation and the resulting parenting plan
- Whether there will be child and spousal support and to the extent possible: how much it will be
- Whether either party will contribute towards the other’s attorney fees and costs.
- Whether either party wishes to restore his or her name to her or his former unmarried name
Serve the none filing party with the Petition and Summons package
I find that this is best accomplished by having the other party come into the office to receive the paperwork. It is less threatening than being personally served at home or work and makes them part of the process.
Prepare and serve Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure
The Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure (PDD), are the documents that reveal to the other side what you know about the your financial affairs and the finances of the marriage. You can’t get divorced in California without at least one side doing them and for the hybrid default type of uncontested divorce that I recommend – both sides must do them. The court is notified that this has been done by the filing of the Declaration regarding service of the Declaration of Disclosure; which, despite the long name, is a short form.
File Default and Judgment with the court
A judgment is prepared based on the Petition and any changes from the Petition that both parties agree to. Both parties sign the judgment, but the non-filing party signature must be notarized.
Receive judgment from court signed by judge
The date that your marriage ends will be no earlier than six months after the date that the non-filing spouse was served with the Petition package. So even if you have a judgment of divorce in your hands you are not be divorced until the date the judge specifies on the judgment