Get the Best of Both Worlds in your California uncontested divorce - the convenience, low cost and self-empowerment of online divorce PLUS the security and peace-of-mind of a California online divorce lawyer on your team.
Uncontested Divorce Definition
A Californiauncontested divorce is a California divorce in which you and your spouse will NOT be contesting or disputing any issues in the divorce, including the divorce itself.
You may also hear or see the term, “default divorce.” A default divorce is an uncontested divorce in which the non-military other party (the party who did not file the case) is served with divorce papers and does nothing, thereby allowing the party who filed the case to wait 31 days after the date of service to apply for the “default” of the other party and an approval by the court of a default divorce judgment that conforms to what was requested in the original filing that was served on the other party.
All default divorces are uncontested divorces, but some uncontested divorces, mostly where the other party is active duty US military, are not default divorces.
Uncontested Divorce Should Almost Always Be Online Divorce
Because the California uncontested divorce procedure is relatively simple, compared to a lawyer-negotiated, mediated or litigated process, online divorce presents itself as a good fit for any California uncontested divorce.
In a typical California uncontested divorce process, there will be three separate batches of California state and local county divorce documents.
All California counties have their own local forms that augment the state’s Judicial Council documents. Most uncontested divorces will require one or more local forms.
In most California uncontested divorces the three batches of uncontested divorce papers would consist of:
a first filing batch that places your request for a divorce and other requests for court orders on record at your local Superior Court and gets you a case number that must appear on all subsequent documents in the case;
a second batch that satisfies California’s strict property/debt/income disclosure requirements and that is NOT filed at court but is served (presented to) in a specific way on your spouse together with one set of copies from the first filing batch; and
a third and final and larger batch of documents, filed at court at least 31 days after batches one and two are served, and that contains a request for entry of your spouse’s “default” and entry (approval) of a default judgment that makes the divorce final 6 months plus one day from the date the other party was served and potentially contains many other court orders, requested in the first filing batch, regarding issues in the divorce.
If there is at least one minor child of the marriage, many more divorce documents are included in the divorce process than if there was no minor child. However, those additional divorce papers still fit into the three batches described above.
If you have recently made the difficult personal decision to end your marriage or domestic partnership in California on an uncontested basis, ALMOST all such divorces can and should be handled through online divorce.
Online divorce is cost-effective, convenient and self-empowering to you. Nothing more than online divorce is needed in almost all uncontested divorces. Anything more than online divorce will be unnecessarily expensive, time-consuming and completely frustrating to both parties.
However, in the following types of cases, you definitely need a traditional full-representation divorce lawyer, even if the divorce is technically uncontested:
contested cases: – you and your spouse are going to be fighting about something – anything, even minor or silly stuff;
complex cases: – your divorce contains some issue like a complex tax issue, the existence of a family trust, an interest in a complex business entity, or a special needs child who may need lifetime support; (this is obviously not an exhaustive list);
high dollar value marital estate: – there’s no specific limit; use your judgment, but lots of zeros on the end of values of property makes everyone nervous; certainly if you are over a $5M net marital estate, you have a high dollar case;
domestic violence or the threat of domestic violence: – such cases require special handling; you need a full-representation lawyer who has that experience and knowledge, even if, as is common, such cases are uncontested; your health is too important to ignore this;
Don’t kid yourself on this decision. You know your case better than anyone at this point. So don’t ask a traditional lawyer who offers only full-representation, a large retainer and a $450 billable hour treadmill if your case needs a traditional lawyer who offers only full-representation, a large retainer and a $450 billable hour treadmill. You already know the answer.
Lawyers are generally honest professionals, but not when it comes to placing your interests above their incomes. They are in an extremely competitive industry where there are way too many lawyers in relation to the demand for their services. They all want to remain in business because they all believe genuinely that they are all swell and doing great work. They will even tell you so. Look at their websites.
Traditional lawyers are trained, knowledgeable and experienced only in how to churn ALL divorce cases to very high cost, They will tell you, with full sincerity, when they have finished unnecessarily draining your cash and assets that they have done a wonderful job for you. They will claim they have saved you from numerous terrible legal consequences – none of which would likely have occurred.
The choice between an unnecessary traditional lawyer and the much better fit of online divorce can be a difficult one, even if you are certain that your divorce will be uncontested. It is always easy, as any traditional lawyer will tell you, to imagine that your spouse will be untrustworthy during the divorce process.
You should make that decision on your own. If you suspect that your divorce fits one of the above excluded-from-online-divorce descriptions, you should assume that it does. And make that decision without the biased professional advice of a traditional churning lawyer.
Using the simpler and cheaper online divorce process for one of those categories is definitely false economy and can actually increase your long-term cost in your case. Don’t risk it.
What to Avoid in Online Divorce For Your California Uncontested Divorce
In the UK, since September 2021, ALL divorces must be online divorces, whether they are uncontested or not. All UK divorces must be handled by lawyers (solicitors). There is no non-lawyer online divorce in the UK.
In the US, when the Internet kicked in around 1999, the American Bar Association and its 51 state and DC counterparts completely failed to recognize the potential for online divorce and the consequent dangers of not controlling the online divorce industry from the beginning. In short, US bar associations completely failed their duty to protect American legal consumers. As a result, many divorce consumers have been harmed in their divorces.
When the US bar associations failed to control online divorce, the usual type of conman filled the vacuum. Many of those providers are completely ruthless and legally untouchable as they are located in India, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Mexico. Price fraud and incompetence are rampant in the unregulated non-lawyer online divorce industry.
There are presently two types of price fraud or trickery you should be aware of in non-lawyer online divorce:
Since summer, 2021, there has also been a disappointing price fraud trend from 2 California-based non-lawyer providers. These are competent firms – unlike the India/Ukraine group. They are both fronted by hot-shot Hollywood lawyers, but they are not law firms. They each have multiple uncontested divorce packages at different prices, which is great. They each have a very attractive $99 DIY package. And then the next packages up are $1000. Beyond that, their packages go as high as $4500. The difference between their $99 and $1000 packages should be enough to mak eyou suspicious. The problem is that the $99 teaser fee does not include any client support. You cannot ask questions of a caseworker, and you WILL have questions. You get to use their online software only, but otherwise you are on your own. You have to figure out many normal and natural questions yourself. So when you screw up your case or simply cannot proceed because you don’t know how, they will up-sell you to their $1000 package.
You should avoid both of these non-lawyer price frauds.
How To Proceed
This article has application mostly to California uncontested divorce, but many of the considerations laid out above apply to uncontested divorce anywhere in the US.
If you have made the decision to proceed in your divorce, and you are certain that your case will be an uncontested divorce, you should aim at using online divorce for reasons stated above.
You should avoid non-lawyer online divorce for reasons of price fraud and trickery alone. See above.
However, bear in mind that the scope of this article has not included anything but a passing mention of the huge problems of incompetence in the completely unregulated non-lawyer online divorce industry. Almost all non-lawyer providers are clueless. They have no idea what they are doing. They pretend to be knowledgeable about divorce procedures in all 3000+ counties in the US.
They have no idea about your local court’s rules of court or policies. They will screw up your case, and you will then need a traditional full-representation lawyer and much more money to correct the problems in what should have been a simple uncontested divorce. Remember also that most non-lawyer online divorce providers are located outside the US and are well beyond the reach of your local District Attorney or the FBI.
So, does your state even have online divorce lawyers? Most states don’t yet have online divorce lawyers. We see a few in Florida and New Jersey and perhaps a few other states are just beginning on this inevitable trend. Online divorce lawyers are certainly a key developing trend in the US.
Bear in mind that lawyers using email and zoom and sending you a 25-page questionnaire to complete by hand and return by email so that someone can type out your forms is NOT online divorce.
As of 2022, a genuine online divorce lawyer should offer all of the following:
an included preliminary case strategy session by phone or zoom or similar
simple and clear flat-fee packages and pricing so that you know your cost up front
secure sign-up process
a secure interactive online divorce interview you complete from the comfort of your home or office (cost-reducing and empowering – you are the source of all data in your case – fewer mistakes)
all data sent and stored over an encrypted connection to a physically secure server within the US
password protection for your data and email notifications of all accesses to your private data
daily incremental data backups
built-in context sensitive help system that includes video helpers, free support calculators and helpful pop-ups
immediate downloads of fully prepared state and local county divorce papers – no snail mail delays or ridiculous “shipping costs”
professional document review of all fully prepared divorce papers
includes Marital Settlement Agreement where applicable
includes request to waive court costs based on low income, child custody and visitation/parenting plan, child support, spousal support, division of property/debt and name change all either at no additional cost or at clearly specified additional cost so that you always know what your cost will be if your case remains uncontested
service of process upon your spouse or referral to appropriate process servers
full compliance with state disclosure laws
e-filing at courts where available
obtaining of final divorce judgment with all court approved orders
If You’re Going To File Your Case in California, You Are in Luck
Online Divorce Lawyer has you covered. We are working on expansion to other states, but we have been in full operation in California since 2018.
We have full uncontested divorce lawyer coverage statewide.
All Online Divorce Lawyers are independently owned law firms staffed by California licensed attorneys.
We are happy to announce our partnering in California, as of 2021, with 1-800-DIVORCE, the best and most memorable legal brand in the world.
You’ll never forget your lawyer’s phone number. And in the future, when a friend or colleague needs similar services, you’ll be able to say, “Just call 1-800-DIVORCE. They took care of me.”
Call 1-800-DIVORCE to be connected to your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer (in California, you’ll be connected to your local Online Divorce Lawyer).
Learn More About Online Divorce Lawyer
Get the Best of Both Worlds in Your Uncontested Divorce
A very few local divorce lawyers are fighting back against incompetent, often fraudulent, out-of-state online divorce mills. Those unlicensed divorce mills do not know your state’s laws, rules of court, or local court policies.
Local Online Divorce Lawyers use unbundled services, cost-reducing wicked-cool online divorce software, cloud computing, and other cost-effective, virtual law practice techniques.
And unbundled lawyer packages mean that you only use the lawyer where you decide you need the lawyer. You avoid the very expensive retainer and billable hour nonsense. You also know exactly what your fee will be up front.
Take advantage of these trends in your own uncontested divorce hiring decision. Get a cheap divorce while protecting your legal and economic interests. And have the insurance policy of a local lawyer on your team. If your case blows up or becomes in need of additional legal services, you already have a local divorce lawyer who knows your case.
Typically, the Online Divorce Lawyer procedure means that the local divorce lawyer will provide a 20-30 minute strategy session and then will prepare and review all of your divorce papers for an affordable flat fee. You will then file your own divorce at your local court (It’s easy.) With an Online Divorce Lawyer, you will only pay for the legal services you need and agree in advance.
If you pay $300-3000 to an online divorce mill and then pay for their mistakes forever, that’s NOT a cheap divorce.
Online Divorce Lawyer is smart divorce for your difficult times. Divorce better and move on. Get the best of both worlds with a local Online Divorce Lawyer.