Should You Use the Default Divorce Judgment Process in Your California Uncontested Divorce?

HECK! YES! If possible, you definitely want to use default divorce in your uncontested divorce in California.  It’s a much easier, faster and far less expensive process than a contested or mediated divorce. Default divorce IS the vast bulk of all uncontested divorce in California.

All default divorce is uncontested divorce, but not all uncontested divorce is default divorce. Don’t worry. We’ll explain.

Let’s define uncontested divorce first. Uncontested divorce in California means simply that you and your spouse/partner are not disputing, and are not going to dispute, any issue in your divorce or the divorce itself.

There is a more technical definition of uncontested divorce that requires the Respondent (the spouse/partner who does not initiate the divorce) to make a legal appearance in the case and actually tell the court in writing that the divorce will be uncontested. That specific type of uncontested divorce process is mandatory in all uncontested California divorces if the Respondent is active duty US military.

However, we’ll use the more generic layman’s definition of uncontested divorce, which is simply that there is no Response or legal dispute filed by the Respondent, the party who did not initiate the divorce.

Of course, sometimes an uncontested divorce is just not possible. If you have disputes about issues and those disputes are emotional or high-dollar or if one party (or both parties) is just being unfair, then you can’t use uncontested divorce. 

In fact, not only under those circumstances, but if you have a very high value marital estate (you’re rich!) or a complex divorce (e.g. complex tax or business issues) or if your situation involves either domestic violence or threats of domestic violence, you should not use uncontested (or default) divorce. In such cases, you both need full representation by a divorce lawyer specialist and the case should not proceed on an uncontested or default divorce basis.

 

So What is a Default Divorce in California?

A default divorce process in California is an uncontested divorce (no disputes) in which a non-military Respondent is served with the Petition (and other documents, depending on the facts of the case) that was filed at court to commence the case.

The Petition tells the court and the Respondent what the Petitioner is requesting in the divorce.

Service of process (officially presenting the filed Petition, and usually other docs too) to the Respondent commences the mandatory California 6-month waiting period for the divorce to become final.

That service of documents usually occurs either by the physical direct presentation of the docs to the Respondent or the mailing of them to the Respondent who signs a specific document acknowledging that s/he has been served. The service of docs must be performed by an adult who is not the Petitioner.

Then 31 days must pass from the date of service of docs without the Respondent filing a Response to contest the case.

On the 31st day, or beyond, the Petitioner can file a Request to Enter Default as well as a proposed Judgment. This description is simplified.  There are many other Judgment-connected docs also filed. We’re definitely keeping this simple.

Then, in due course, depending on how efficient your local Family Court is, the Respondent’s default is entered and later the Petitioner’s proposed default judgment is either approved by the court or rejected for some reason, which will be specified. The Respondent’s “default” is that s/he has been served and did nothing legally to object. 

That is essentially (and very simply) what the California default divorce process consists of: file the Petition; serve it on the Respondent; wait 31 days; the Respondent does nothing during those 31 days; submit the default and proposed judgment papers.

There is one further distinction that should be described, even in a simple description of the default divorce process in California.

A default divorce may be either a “true” default or a default with agreement. If the parties have a signed written agreement in which all issues are agreed, the divorce proceeds as a default with agreement. If they do not have a written agreement, the divorce proceeds as a true default divorce.

Be sure to ask your local Online Divorce Lawyer to explain the default divorce process in California and how it will be used in your uncontested divorce.

Online Divorce Lawyer Default Divorce Availability in California

Online Divorce Lawyer service, including the desirable default divorce process, is available in ALL major cities in California, including: Garden Grove, Pomona, Orange, Santa Clarita, Ontario, Costa Mesa, Thousand Oaks, Irvine, Palmdale, Rancho Cucamonga, Corona, Lancaster, Fontana, Riverside, Rialto, Oxnard, San Bernardino, Ventura, Victorville, Murrieta, Temecula, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Escondido, Bakersfield

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Use Online Divorce Whenever You Can

Online divorce is always a wise choice for an uncontested divorce (which usually means a default divorce in California) where the parties are in agreement, there is not a large marital estate, there are no complex legal issues and there is no domestic violence or the threat of domestic violence.

Avoid Unlicensed Online Divorce Mills

However, the whole point of online divorce is to keep your cost down. If you pay $300 to an unregulated non-lawyer online divorce mill and you end up paying for their mistakes forever, that’s NOT a cheap divorce.

Avoid Traditional Divorce Lawyer Churners and Grinders

Traditional California divorce lawyers want to charge you a $3500-$7500+ retainer fee and get rid of that retainer as fast as possible to get you onto the $300-$450 billable hour treadmill.

That’s because they don’t know what else to do.  Churning through client money is the only thing they’ve ever done. And they have not been among the very few competitive California divorce lawyers who have adopted online divorce as an additional service offering to the almost 80% of California divorces that are suitable for uncontested divorce, default divorce and online divorce.

Traditional lawyers will trick you into hiring them by scaring the crap out of you on some issue that COULD happen in your case but almost certainly won’t. 

Then, when they’ve got your retainer money, you have to disclose your assets and debts to them as part of the California divorce discovery process. So they know EXACTLY what cash and assets you’ve got as well as your credit card balances.

All they need to do from that point is churn. If your spouse has a lawyer too, the lawyer dance will be much easier to do.

So the first thing your traditional dishonest lawyer will do after being hired is to file an often completely unnecessary Request For Order when the Petition is filed. Your traditional churner lawyer is not only driving up your costs at this point, but it absolutely critical to the skinning you’re about to get that both sides have a lawyer. 

So the actual purpose of the unnecessary Request for Order is to scrae the crap out of your spouse/partner so that s/he will lawyer up too. 

Then more Requests for Orders, Discovery Requests, Discovery Responses, Hearings, Interrogatories, Postponements, Trial Briefs, etc., etc. until neither one of you has cash or credit left.

Then the traditional retainer lawyers will recommend that you settle your case and tell you what a great job they did.

Don’t fall for this nonsense. There are times when you will need such lawyers (and if your simple uncontested blows up, you will need such lawyers), but not in a simple uncontested (usually default divorce) California divorce.

Avoid unnecessary and dishonest lawyer churners. Know your cost up front.

Get the Best of Both Worlds

Hire a savvy, competitive local California divorce lawyer who offers online divorce to protect your legal and economic interests and safeguard you from the high risks of unregulated online divorce mills and dishonest traditional divorce lawyer churners.

You get all of the protection of using a California divorce lawyer at a fraction of the price of the dishonest traditional divorce lawyer churners. 

And if any problem does arise, or even if your case completely blows up, you already have a California divorce lawyer on your team. You only use your California divorce lawyer when you need your California divorce lawyer. And you only pay for services you need. You do not overpay just because something MIGHT go wrong.

Get the Best of Both Worlds in Your Uncontested Divorce

Online Divorce Lawyer

 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.