Uncontested Divorce in Santa Monica
If you’ve made the difficult personal decision to terminate your marriage or domestic partnership in Santa Monica, California, you should hope that your case will be an uncontested divorce in Santa Monica.
An uncontested divorce simply means a divorce in which you and your spouse/partner are not (and will not be) contesting any issues – including child custody, visitation, parenting, child support, spousal support or the division of property and debt. It does not have to mean that you are friends or that either of you is happy about the divorce. It just means that there will not be any court contest in the case. Stated differently, the spouse/partner who did not file the case will not file a Response to contest the case and will not tell the court that there is at least one issue in dispute.
An uncontested divorce in Santa Monica also does not have to mean that there are absolutely no issues that are not in agreement between you and your spouse/partner. Often there will be issues in dispute between parties in an uncontested case. However, they are either minor issues or at least issues that you and your spouse will resolve between you without a Response being filed at court by your spouse/partner.
If you do have an uncontested divorce in Santa Monica, the reason you are fortunate is that you will be able to take advantage of both of the two best uncontested divorce industry trends of the last 20 years – online divorce and unbundled legal services. Let’s look at each of those trends with reference to uncontested divorce in Santa Monica.
Online Divorce in Santa Monica
What exactly does online divorce mean? It means that you will use a secure (encrypted) Internet connection to access your own password-protected online divorce account to enter all of the data in your case from the comfort of your own home or office. You will not be handed the dreaded 30-page hard-copy questionnaire and told to fill it out by hand while you are in a lawyer’s waiting room. You will be able to enter your case data at your own pace from any Internet-connected device.
Built into the online divorce interview will be a full context-sensitive help system. You will be able to complete your online divorce interview in multiple sessions. Each time you log out, your data is securely stored using state-of-the-art database security – both physical and electronic. When you log back into your account, your data will be there waiting for you.
An online divorce will also mean that you will be able to edit and change your data at all times up until your case has been filed at your local Superior Court. Once your case has been filed at Superior Court, you will still be able to change most of your case data, including your financial data, but there will be certain legal and practical limitations on changing some data that is already part of the Superior Court record.
After you’ve finished the online divorce interview, you click a button to check your interview. The system will check all pages for completion, making you aware of any pages that still need attention. Secondly, the interview will check any time-critical aspects of your case to make sure that there is no approaching critical time limit, based on the facts of your case, such as a child’s impending 18th birthday. Thirdly, the interview check will prompt you to indicate that there have been no changes to major issues since you completed the interview. Once those three checks have been completed successfully, you simply click on a button that says, “Proceed to Attorney Review.”
At that point, your Online Divorce Lawyer will be activated by email to check your online divorce interview, download the appropriate batches of completed legal docs and contact you to make arrangements with you for a case strategy discussion and a doc review. Check with your Online Divorce Lawyer how this will be done. Sometimes this will be a face-to-face meeting. Sometimes, this will be done by Skype or email and phone.
Once the case has been reviewed and the completed legal documents downloaded, reviewed and signed and dated by yourself, your uncontested divorce will be ready to be filed at your local Superior Court.
Watch Our Introductory Video on Online Divorce Interviews:
Unbundled Legal Services in Santa Monica
What are unbundled legal services? They are services provided by a lawyer, mostly in areas of consumer law, such as uncontested divorce, where the lawyer is not hired on a full traditional basis to perform every single act required to accomplish a final legal goal, such as to obtain a divorce. Instead, you, the divorce consumer, do all of the leg work in your own case but hire the lawyer only to provide services in the areas where you need that lawyer’s skill and knowledge.
Unbundled legal services are sometimes called limited legal services or limited scope representation. These are all the same thing. Unbundled legal services are not new. The State Bar of California was issuing rules and providing materials on unbundled legal services as far back as 2001. However, lawyers have been slow to take advantage of unbundled. Part of the reason is that unbundled services have been seen by many lawyers as nothing more than an opportunity to make less money for providing fewer services.
That type of thinking is why lawyers are generally not considered good business people. Such a lawyer would quote a $7500 fee for an uncontested divorce to 20 target clients a month and not be concerned when only one person hires them. In such a situation, the lawyer has spent perhaps 5 hours prospecting clients and has grossed $7500 without actually having done any legal work.
Far better is for that lawyer to add another option and to tell the target client about the two options upfront. “My flat fee for an uncontested divorce in Santa Monica is $7500. That’s where I do everything for you: a 30-minute face-to-face consultation, document preparation, case review, strategy discussion, a legal rights checkup, filing at the local Superior Court, service of process on your spouse, extra phone calls at $250/hour with a minimum of 15 minutes per call and walking through your final judgment to the judge for approval and signature. However, as I realize that divorce is usually a period of financial difficulty for most people, I’ve added a less expensive option, namely an unbundled document review service in an uncontested divorce for $1200. This includes an online document generation service, document review and a 20-minute telephone case review and 2 follow-up email responses (more can be bought). You would handle your own filing at Superior Court and arrange your own service of process on your spouse under my direction.”
Because there are people who want to pay a lawyer $7500 to do everything, in this scenario, 1 of those 20 people will still not be put off by the price and will still pay that $7500. However, as the $1200 (or thereabouts – each law firm is independently owned and operated) is comparable to the total fees charged by some online divorce mills and is a much better value, those 19 targeted clients will not just walk away forever. 2 or 4 of them will recognize the deal and will take that $1200 service to have a local lawyer on their team.
So now, the lawyer has still spent 5 hours prospecting, but with the two options offered, he’s got one client at $7500 and maybe 3 at $1200. That’s $11,100 in gross income for the same amount of prospecting.
This is just an example, of course, but it is a realistic example. Considerations like this are why more and more divorce lawyers in Santa Monica are building unbundled services into their menu of options for an uncontested divorce.
Avoid Unlicensed Unregulated Out-of-State Online Divorce Mills – They Are a Disaster!
About 2 dozen online divorce mills have controlled the online divorce industry since the beginning of the Internet. All but one or two are outside California. Two are in India. They are unlicensed, unregulated and completely unaccountable. They are a disaster. See our comparison table. They claim to be able to handle uncontested divorce in every one of the 3000+ counties in the US – an impossibility. They make many mistakes. They do not know the rules and policies of your local Superior Court. Only a local lawyer will know California law and the rules and policies of your local Superior Court and even the practices of individual local Superior Court judges. Hiring an unlicensed online divorce mill will be like the blind leading the blind.
Additionally, those 2 dozen online divorce mills are full of fraud – all kinds of fraud. There are price fraud, up-selling and testimonial fraud.
For Many, an Uncontested Divorce will also be an Online Divorce. Watch Our Video on Online Divorce Fraud. This Could Be a Feature Length Movie, but We've Kept It Short. You'll Get the Idea:
Thanks for reading and I hope this has helped get you on the right track for your uncontested divorce in Santa Monica.
So how do you take advantage of (1) wicked-cool online divorce apps while using (2) competitively-priced unbundled legal services offered by a local lawyer and (3) avoid the fraud swamp of online divorce mills? Easy! Get the Best of Both Worlds. These are all licensed California lawyers who are competitively priced when compared to out-of-state online divorce mills. And you won’t get cheated.
Either of the following 2 options will get you hooked up: