Getting a Divorce in Orange County California Without an Attorney, is it wise?
Is it Wise, Getting a Divorce in OC California Without an Attorney? As with most legal situations, it is always advisable to consult with a qualified divorce attorney during your divorce at the very least. However, depending on how you decide to handle your divorce following your initial consultation, you may be perfectly fine without an attorney, or with very little contact with one.
In theory, a divorce should be simple: you and your spouse should be able to divide up your debts and property, divide up your time with your children, agree on decisions for their lives, and make sure that everyone in the family is financially supported. Unfortunately, it’s not usually that easy - and that is where divorce lawyers come into play.
Remember that a divorce can be one of the most stressful experiences in a person’s life, and a divorce will affect almost all aspects of your life, from your financial situation to your family and friends to your living situation, and potentially your career. It is always better to consult a professional than to leave your entire life to chance.
However, you do have some options if you and your spouse want to attempt to work out your issues together without an attorney, or at least outside of the courtroom.
Decide How You will Handle Your Divorce in CA
While it is smart to handle some of your divorce on your own and to do research online, it is always helpful to discuss the specifics of your divorce with an attorney who can make sure that you understand how the law relates specifically to your family situation. A divorce lawyer may have some insight that you didn’t find online, or may know something about your local courts that can help your case.
One of the most stressful parts about hiring a divorce attorney is finding one that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Take advantage of the free initial consultation that many lawyers offer to discuss your case and your options for how to handle it. Let the lawyer know what you budget is, and ask what alternatives you have to taking your case to court.
Usually, a litigated divorce by trial is a last resort when all of your other options have been exhausted. Ask your attorney about a summary dissolution, settling your divorce outside of court, or using a form of alternative dispute resolution. These options may help you save money, or allow you to settle your divorce with little or no assistance from an attorney and minimal legal consequences.
Summary Dissolution in OC California
If you wish to divorce without an attorney at all, a summary dissolution is probably your best option. However, it can be difficult to qualify for one in California. Because it is a divorce, you must meet the residency requirements for divorcing in California, as well as the following criteria.
• Your marriage lasted for less than five years;
• You have no children together, whether born or adopted during or before the marriage, and neither party is currently expecting;
• Neither of you own land or buildings in part or whole;
• Neither party rents any land or buildings, except the current home;
• As a couple you do not owe more than $6,000 in debts that were acquired since the date of marriage;
• As a couple, you currently own less than $40,000 worth of property that has been acquired since the date of marriage;
• Neither party owns separate property worth more than $40,000;
• Both spouses agree to forego spousal support permanently; and
• The parties have agreed on how to divide their property and debts and signed an agreement.
Unfortunately, unless you meet every one of the above criteria, you cannot file for a summary dissolution in California, and you will probably need to consult with an attorney.
Alternative Dispute Resolution in Southern California
Using a form of alternative dispute resolution to resolve your divorce can be a way to get a divorce without a lawyer, or with little assistance from one. There are two main types of alternative dispute resolution in California: divorce mediation, and collaborative law.
If you choose to use divorce mediation to settle your divorce, you and your spouse or partner will work with a divorce mediator (a neutral third party) to resolve the issues in your divorce and create your own divorce agreement. Once you have agreed on the terms of the agreement, it may be submitted to the judge for approval, and it can become the final divorce decree.
In this situation, your mediator may or may not be a lawyer or retired lawyer; however, the mediator cannot provide legal advice to either party. You and your spouse may both choose to consult an attorney outside of mediation, and it is generally advised that you do so. However, consulting an attorney in mediation is not absolutely necessary.
Collaborative Law/Collaborative Divorce
In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse will both need to hire separate divorce lawyers. The two of you and your lawyers will work together outside of court to come to terms on a divorce agreement, which can be submitted to the judge for approval.
Litigated Divorce in OC California
Before, Getting a Divorce in OC California Without an Attorney? Obtain a FREE CONSULTATION!
Table of Contents
- 1 Getting a Divorce in Orange County California Without an Attorney, is it wise?
- 2 Decide How You will Handle Your Divorce in CA
- 3 Summary Dissolution in OC California
- 4 Alternative Dispute Resolution in Southern California
- 5 Before, Getting a Divorce in OC California Without an Attorney? Obtain a FREE CONSULTATION!