I HAVE had many clients and prospective clients who would inquire how much is an “uncontested divorce.” Of course, I would ask some questions to determine whether their divorce is “uncontested” such as if both spouses have agreed to all issues of custody, support, property, etc. Unfortunately, many divorces are not as simple as one may wish to think. Whenever there are children, properties, and support, this divorce case is more likely contested. It is very rare that parties will agree to everything prior to seeing an attorney.
However, there are some divorces that are uncontested. These divorces would qualify for a Summary Dissolution or an Uncontested Dissolution. A Summary Dissolution is a relatively straight-forward inexpensive procedure for dissolving a marriage. No formal court hearings or appearances are required and a final judgment of dissolution may be entered within six months after filing a joint petition.
A Summary Dissolution is available only when all of the following conditions exist at the time the proceeding is commenced:
1. either party meets the jurisdictional prerequisites which is a resident of California for at least six months and a county where the petition is going to filed for at least three months.
2. irreconcilable differences have caused the breakdown of the marriage and the marriage should be dissolved.
3. no children—usually this means minor children or children under the age of 18.
4. the marriage must have been no more than five years in duration.
5. neither party has any interest in real property such as a house or lot, with the exception of the lease of a residence occupied by either party if it does not include an option to purchase and if it terminates within one year from the date of filing the petition.
6. there are no debts in excess of $5000.00 incurred by either or both parties during the marriage, excluding automobile purchase balances.
7. the total fair market value of community property is less than $25,000.00 and neither party has separate property assets in excess of $25,000.00.
In addition to above factors, both parties must waive spousal support and they both desire to dissolve their marriage.
With all the factors numerated above, it would be very difficult to fit many divorces under this category. In fact, it is rare which is very disappointing to many prospective clients who wish to save money.
On the other hand, there are uncontested divorces. This means that although the parties have children and property, the parties are able to agree to all issues regarding the children and property. Most often the attorneys are hired solely for the basis of documenting the agreement reached by the parties. Moreover, attorneys rarely get involve in the disputes between the parties since the parties have worked out everything and have negotiated everything for the attorney.
Therefore, if you would like to save money and time, it would best to proceed in a Summary Dissolution or proceed in an Uncontested Dissolution.
Ethelene F. Salas, Esq. is a practicing family law attorney. Ms. Salas is a Filipino-American born in the Philippines, raised in the United States, and speaks Tagalog fluently. The Law Offices of Ethelene F. Salas is located at two locations – the main office at 100 N. Barranca St., Suite 700, West Covina, CA 91791 and affiliated offices at 18000 Studebaker Road, Suite 700, Cerritos, CA 90703. To schedule an appointment with her, please call (626) 858-4646 or visit www.EFS-Law.com.