In California, a divorce is usually initiated when one party sends the other party a summons and petition for the divorce process to move forward. The summons provides some details on matters such as what you can and can’t do with your assets, property, etc. and prevents you from leaving the state with your children. This document should be reviewed carefully, as it is imperative that you follow the guidelines established within.
After you receive and read the summons and petition, you might be wondering what happens next. Many of our clients don’t always realize that they have several options available during this stage of the divorce process. Their next course of action will determine whether the proceedings continue as an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce, or a default divorce. For this post, we’re taking a look at these three as we provide you with an overview of your options once you have been served with divorce papers.
An uncontested divorce is a straightforward process: you file a response to the summons while agreeing to some or all of the terms proposed by your partner. Neither of you plans to fight over any issues and have agreed to move forward with the divorce or legal separation.
In contrast, a contested divorce is where you file a response to the summons while contesting the terms proposed by your partner. In this scenario, since you are both unable to come to an agreement, the family law courts will step in and you will move forward with the “traditional” divorce proceedings that people often imagine.
A default divorce is where you don’t respond to the petition for divorce or separation. After 30 days of no response, the divorce is considered default. In this scenario, most of your spouse’s petitions or requests are likely to be granted, and you essentially give up your right to be part of the divorce proceedings. In general, we advise against taking this route as even though it is simple and generally low cost, the risks of having yourself removed from the proceedings are too high. In general, you should always consult with a qualified legal professional before choosing to respond to or ignore divorce petitions.
Talk to a Proven, Reputable Family Law Attorney in CA
We at the R & S Law Group, LLP hope that this post provided you with a clearer picture on how contested, uncontested, and default divorces differ from one another. If you want to learn more, we invite you to reach out to the skilled family law attorneys at R & S Law Group, LLP. Call us at (949) 825-5245 to schedule a free initial consultation.