Please note that all online divorce platforms are not the same. Much of the content below does not apply to BlissDivorce. BlissDivorce is the only complete online divorce solution, including property division, child custody, spousal support, and AI-powered Digital Divorce Mediation™.
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Divorce can be a complicated and emotionally difficult process. Considering the high costs of hiring legal representation, you are also probably familiar with how time-consuming and costly it can be. But how to file for divorce in California without a lawyer? Can you process the divorce by yourself?
Online platforms like BlissDivorce have emerged as invaluable sources for couples seeking to file for divorce without lawyers and navigate the process independently.
So, let’s get into this guide to help you get started.
Requirements for Getting a Divorce in California
In the US, different states have different requirements that you need to meet so that you can dissolve the marriage. Therefore, filing for divorce requires at least a basic understanding of the state laws. According to California laws, at least one spouse must have been a state resident for the past six months to file for a divorce.
You also must reside in the county where you plan on filing for a divorce for three months before the divorce. California is a ‘no-fault’ divorce state, so your divorce grounds should be no-fault. This means that almost all divorce cases are based on ‘irreconcilable differences’. When filing for a divorce, you and your spouse must settle child-related issues and disclose property division, among other matters.
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How to Get a Quick Divorce in California Without a Lawyer
Many have a common misconception that hiring lawyers and engaging in lengthy legal battles is the only option for divorce. Filing for a divorce without a lawyer is possible but requires careful attention to legal procedures and documentation.
Do I need a divorce lawyer if we agree on everything? Of course you don’t. You might not need one even if you face some disagreements. There are plenty of options, such online divorce platforms that can help you get a legal separation without attorney.
Such an option is our Bliss Divorce end-to-end divorce service, where you and your spouse can efficiently complete the divorce process independently. You don’t need a representative – all terms, such as property and asset division and child custody, can be easily worked out in a humane manner using the BlissDivorce platform.
This is known as a ‘pro se’ divorce and is possible for couples who meet specific criteria and are willing to navigate divorce by themselves. Let’s proceed with the necessary steps involved in this process.
Gather essential documents
Divorce in California is simplified as the state enables couples to navigate the process independently. This means you don’t need to hire a lawyer and pay expensive fees to file for a divorce and finalize it.
In fact, most cases can be easily settled by preparing and filing proper documentation. One of the most crucial aspects of filing for a divorce is ensuring the documents are accurately filled out and submitted.
To be ready to fill out the forms, you’ll need documents such as your marriage certificate, financial records, titles for property and motor vehicles, proof of inheritance or proof that assets were received as a gift, and any arrangements you have made regarding child custody, property, and spousal support.
Get the Process Started
The first step in the paperwork process is to fill out the petition (California form FL-100) and file it with the court.
Once the court has approved your petition, you need to serve the summons on your spouse, which notifies him or her that you have filed for divorce. This is possible through a third party or a process server. Once this is settled, you must file the forms at the county courthouse.
A significant thing to note in California is that once you serve the summons, your spouse has 30 days to respond. Otherwise, the petitioner can ask the court to decide the case without their input based on the information the petitioner provides. This is called a default divorce
You will be charged a fee when you file the petition, unless you request the court waive it due to hardship. In most counties you can file the forms via e-filling or email or take them to the court clerk.
Fill out the forms
Navigating a divorce can be complicated, especially for those without expertise. You need to approach this carefully and ensure you agree to all divorce terms, as all of the decisions are legally finalized. If you are having trouble reaching an agreement, consider using BlissDivorce’s AI-powered Digital Divorce Mediation™ tools.
Once you’ve reached an agreement and gathered the essential documents, you must complete and file a number of divorce forms, in the proper sequence. After taking care of the petition and summons, you will need to complete and exchange detailed financial disclosures (forms FL-142 and FL-150). Then you can prepare the final paperwork, including the judgment, affidavit of receipt of disclosure, child custody agreement, spousal support forms, etc. For more complicated cases you may want to prepare a marital settlement agreement (MSA).
But how to do all this in California without a lawyer? Luckily, BlissDivorce has documentation professionals who specialize in divorce paperwork. They will take care of preparing all these documents for you based on the agreement you and your spouse worked out in our online platform. This ensures documents are prepared quickly and reliably, and meet all of the court’s requirements. We even submit the forms to the court for you.
BlissDivorce empowers individuals going through divorce or separation to take control of their legal matters. It is an affordable option compared to the high fees that come with hiring a lawyer.
Ensuring legal compliance
Legal procedures and requirements can vary from one state to another. Our platform, BlissDivorce, is designed to be jurisdiction-specific, ensuring the documents comply with the laws of the user’s respective state.
Online platforms such as ours recognize this diversity and offer tools for customization, allowing users to address specific issues regarding vital divorce matters. They enable flexibility, ensuring the documents reflect the spouse’s needs and priorities. This minimizes the risk of filling errors that could delay or complicate the divorce.
Filing for an uncontested divorce can help you avoid going to court. You may need to attend court hearings if the judge notices errors, feels the terms are unfair to one party, or the state requires you to appear and finalize it. Once the court approves the settlement agreement, you will receive a final divorce certificate, officially ending your marriage.
Uncontested and Contested Divorce
Every divorce is unique and has its own circumstances and considerations. During a divorce, both parties must exchange financial disclosures that include income, expenses, assets, and debts. This ensures fair property division.
Divorce can be uncontested, meaning both parties agree on crucial matters regarding the divorce, such as child custody and support and asset distribution. A contested divorce, on the other hand, occurs when the spouses disagree on some or all issues within the divorce.
At BlissDivorce, we give separate logins so that you and your spouse can work together or separately if you don’t get along. Our platform is designed to handle complex as well as simple cases. If you and your spouse cannot agree, you can use our AI-powered Digital Divorce Mediation™ tools to resolve disputes, or meet over Zoom with one of our experienced mediators to help reach a settlement.
While we allow users to go through the divorce process independently, we recognize the importance of conflict resolution. Our platform offers resources and guidance on mediation and enables couples to find mutually agreeable solutions to crucial divorce-related matters.
More about getting a divorce in California
The court of California imposes a six-month waiting period for couples seeking divorce. It begins once the respondent receives the summons. Even if the court issues a final judgment, it won’t be official before six months plus one day from the date the summons is served.
The Benefits of Getting a Divorce Without a Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer for divorce proceedings can be a financial burden. These legal practitioners charge up to a $700 hourly rate for their time. Platforms such as BlissDivorce are a cost-effective alternative. They allow individuals to save on legal fees while accessing resources and guidance to navigate divorce effectively.
Flexibility and privacy
Couples who file for a divorce on their own maintain control over the decision-making process. They can negotiate and tailor agreements based on their situation and needs. Generally, court proceedings are open to the public. This means that your personal matters can become part of the public records. A divorce without a lawyer can provide a greater level of privacy.
It is known that traditional divorce can be time-consuming. You will need to adapt to the lawyer’s schedule, attend meetings, and, in some cases, attend court dates. Plus, the legal proceedings can cause delays.
In comparison, pursuing a divorce online can lead to a fast resolution. You can use online resources to do things based on your terms at the pace you want. This can lead to reaching an agreement more quickly.
During a divorce, emotions are often high as you negotiate terms that will be the best for your children and essential matters, which can be overwhelming. When you and your spouse hire a lawyer, you begin a legal argument, which can add stress and tension.
However, our online platform provides the tools and environment for both spouses to come to terms with their divorce.
Hopefully, we have cleared your concerns on how to file for divorce in California without a lawyer. Doing so is possible, but you need to approach the process with careful attention to detail.
Filing for a divorce begins with gathering and preparing paperwork, submitting it to the court, and serving it to the other spouse. Online platforms like BlissDivorce can streamline the divorce process, reducing time, money, and stress.