The Quickest Way to Get Unhitched in California
No matter whether you are a heterosexual couple or a same-sex couple, there is just one way to get divorced quickly; complete the divorce process as quickly as possible!
California’s Divorce Process
Agree on all of the divorce issues with your partner.
Agreeing on the following issues can reduce, or even eliminate, any delay in your divorce.
- Division of Property: Any property that was owned by each partner separately before the marriage stays their property throughout, and, at the end, of the marriage. However, any property acquired during the marriage is community property in California. All community property is split 50/50 in California divorces. Usually this is easily done with bank accounts, or dividing up household items, but splitting a house or a car in half is more challenging. If you and your partner can agree on how to split up the assets in a fair and even fashion, then the court will not have to weigh in on the issue and you’ll save a ton of time.
- Division of Debt: Again, any debts acquired before marriage remain the personal property of each partner. And any debts acquired during the marriage must also be split evenly upon divorce. For example, if you and your partner own a home with a mortgage and/or any credit cards, the balances on those accounts must be split evenly so one partner is not burdened with more debt than the other.
- Alimony and/or Spousal Support: Alimony and spousal support is usually for circumstances where one partner worked while the other cared for the home and/or children. Once the marriage is dissolved, the non-working partner will not have the monetary income that was provided for their work in the home, so sometimes alimony and spousal support are required to maintain that lifestyle.
- Child support and Custody of Children: Agreeing on who will be the custodial parent and how much visitation and parenting time the non-custodial parent will be granted, as well as the monetary support required to raise any children within the marriage can save oodles of time and hassle. Note that all states require child support payments for the non-custodial parent. Check with the IRS for these minimal requirements before agreeing on child support payments to avoid extra delay.
Locate, complete, and file the proper forms.
Most states have approved forms that can be filled out to complete the necessary steps for divorce. Your local County Court Clerk’s office will have the necessary forms. Note that Court Clerks cannot provide legal advice, so if you have questions on how to fill out the forms or about the process, contacting a divorce attorney will be your best and quickest option. Each county also has different fees required for processing the forms and the County Clerk’s office can tell you exactly what the fees are for each form.
Attend all necessary hearings and meetings.
Most of the time, if the divorce is uncontested, meaning both partners agree on all of the terms of divorce, there are no formal hearings. However, there may be required meetings, and some counties do require an appearance by both partners before the divorce can be finalized. Make sure you arrive on time to any meetings or hearings, dress modestly and conservatively, and show respect by waiting to speak until your turn, addressing others as Sir, Madame, Mrs. or Your Honor. Missing a hearing or annoying the judge will delay your divorce.
Attend and complete any required classes, courses or tests.
The County Clerk can provide you with information about any required classes, courses or tests, and their mandatory completion date.
Wait the mandatory waiting period.
Each state has a mandatory waiting period for divorces. This allows for each partner to fully appreciate and be afforded the legal rights available during a divorce. In California, no matter how you complete your divorce, you must wait 30 days after completing the process for the divorce to be finalized.
File the Final Decree or Decree of Dissolution.
Once the mandatory waiting period is over, you may file the Final Decree or Decree of Dissolution form. Each county has its own forms, so check with the County Clerk for the correct form and fees.
Wait for the Decree.
Once the judge signs the Final Decree or Decree of Dissolution, the divorce is final. The court will not necessarily send you this final decree, so check with the court approximately two weeks after filing to obtain a copy if one does not arrive by mail.
Of course, the fastest way to get through the process of divorce is to contact an experienced divorce attorney. Contact the experienced divorce attorneys at Gastelum Law today for the quickest way to complete your divorce.