Generally, divorces can proceed 1 of 4 ways:
- “True Default” Divorce: Do nothing approach. You can do nothing, which would allow your spouse to proceed without your participation in a so-called Default Divorce proceeding. This choice may seem like a good option, especially if you and your spouse are in agreement as to how to proceed, but there are some important limitations. First, the orders in the divorce judgment will be limited to only those items that are requested in your spouse’s petition. Second, you and your spouse can only divide community property and debt equally.
- “Default” Divorce with Agreement: Cooperative Approach. You can enter into a written agreement with your spouse regarding the division of your assets and debts, custody arrangements and all other matters, and your spouse will file this agreement with the Court. If you elect to enter into a written agreement with your spouse regarding the division of these items, you can choose not to file a response with the Court (thereby saving the filing fee of approximately $450). If you elect to proceed in this manner, the Court will deem your case to be a “default” divorce by agreement, meaning you and your spouse have agreed to all of the matters that need to be agreed to and do not need the Court’s assistance in making any decisions. This approach doesn’t necessarily mean you and your spouse agree on everything now. It just means that you are going to try to work together to figure out your issues.
- Uncontested Divorce: Collaborative Approach. You can, within 30 days of receiving the Petition from your spouse, file a Response with the Court to your spouse’s Petition for Divorce, pay the filing fee (approximately $450) and work together with your spouse to come to agreements. While this approach is similar in nature to the default divorce with agreement, it does allow more flexibility if you choose to enter into agreements that are filed with the court (a “Stipulation and Order”). This can be useful in cases where you expect to come to an agreement but don’t have one at the moment, particularly for issues like temporary child custody, child support, and temporary spousal support. On the other hand, this option does require you to pay a filing fee and complete and file additional paperwork–including some forms and information requiring you to provide extensive financial information and documents–on your own.
- Contested Divorce: (Fight It Out In Court). You can, within 30 days of receiving the Petition from your spouse, file a Response with the Court to your spouse’s Petition for Divorce, pay the filing fee (approximately $450) and, if you and your spouse are at-odds with issues that need to be resolved quickly utilize the services of the Court to obtain immediate temporary orders, or work out any issues that you and your spouse disagree on (whether by a trial or otherwise).
Need more information?
There are a variety of places you can go for more information about divorce. Check out our knowledge base for more information on the divorce process. You may also wish to consult with an attorney or a mediator. Or, you may decide to go the DIY route and handle your divorce on your own or using a Licensed Document Assistant like Separate.Us. Separate.Us empowers you to handle your own family law matter without having to rely on attorneys–saving you time and money.
We can help you to:
- Fill out your divorce documents online (without getting an attorney involved);
- File those documents with your local Court (no standing in line at the Court!);
- Serve the documents on your spouse;
- Track important court deadlines and keep documents organized;
- Pay for Court fees via credit card;
- Easily connect with attorneys or other professionals on an as-needed basis and pay for only the time you use; and
- Keep the process moving forward by identifying next steps.
For more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.