- Do we have to go to court to get a divorce?
- What if my spouse and I can’t agree on all the issues; do we have to go to court?
- Do my spouse and I have to be in agreement to come to mediation?
- What if my spouse won’t come to mediation?
- What is collaborative divorce?
- Do I have to retain an attorney? Should I?
- How long does it take to get a divorce?
- Does my divorce have to be completed within a certain time?
- How long must I live in California to qualify for a California divorce?
- I have lived in California for less than six months; can I still get a California divorce?
- Do both of us have to live in California to qualify?
- My spouse lives out of state; can he/she use your service also?
- I don’t know where my spouse is; can I still get a divorce?
In the vast majority of cases, you do not have to go to court, but it really helps to get expert advice from Divorce Helpline, so that you understand your rights, get help negotiating with your spouse and learn how to avoid the courts.
The answer is “yes”; you will have to go to trial before a judge unless you are able to reach agreement. However, about 95% of all cases are able to reach agreement and settle without the need to go to trial. A Divorce Helpline attorney can help you calm down your situation, answer your legal questions, and help you work out a plan to move toward agreement so that your case can go smoothly and inexpensively. Our attorneys can assist each of you separately by consulting with you and answering your legal questions, or you and your spouse can work together with one of our attorney-mediators. Our mediation method for working out divorce issues is extremely successful; it combines the safety of a neutral meeting place with the skills and knowledge of a trained mediator and problem solver. This can be done in person or on the telephone.
No, you just have to agree to try it. Mediation works in most cases. .
If you ask your spouse to come to mediation, very often the answer will automatically be “no.” Your spouse might be worried that you have identified the mediator, and think it will be impossible for the mediator to be neutral. If you think that you would like to try mediation, give our offices a call at 1- 800-359-7004 and speak to a Divorce Helpline consulting attorney about the best way to invite your spouse to mediation. There are lots of ways to encourage your spouse to mediate. We’ll help you to identify what’s best for you. Perhaps you’ll end up writing your spouse a letter — or perhaps you will ask us to contact your spouse and invite him or her to attend mediation with you.
Collaborative divorce involves two clients and two attorneys who work together to reach a fair settlement of all the issues. Collaborative cases do not go to court. Generally there are private meetings with your attorney, as well as four-way meetings in which there is negotiation of all the financial issues and custody. The result of the collaborative law case will be a settlement that is the best possible result for both parties. Collaborative divorce is similar to mediation in that it takes place outside the court process, but it is different from mediation in that each party has their own attorney who can advise them separately and meet with them individually.
Retaining an attorney is almost never a good idea, because it essentially forces your attorney to take your case and push it through the court system. This creates expenses that really have nothing to do with your actual divorce, but become necessary to pay for the court “process” itself.
When you hire an attorney, he or she will ask you for a retainer fee. This rarely covers the total costs involved, so it seems to get used up quickly and you are required to put up another retainer just to keep things going. We receive calls all the time from people who have spent $10,000 to $15,000 in retainers, have used up all their savings, and still haven’t gotten their divorce completed!
Fortunately, you do not need to retain an attorney (or go to court) to receive expert legal advice and obtain a fair settlement. Our attorneys work on a “use us as you need us” basis.
Getting good practical legal advice and a personalized “road map” are always recommended to at least start your divorce properly and also help you through any hurdles you may encounter. Our attorneys empower you with the knowledge and options you will need so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family.
California law requires a minimum of six months before you can legally be an unmarried person. Generally, all of the paperwork can be completed in much less time. You can, of course, take longer than the six months if you need it.
Normally you have up to five years to complete the divorce. If not completed within this time, the court will usually close your case.
Note: You can change your mind and end your case at any time without completing the divorce.
General residency requirements are six months in California and three months in the county of your residence or that of your spouse.
Question – I have lived in California for less than six months; can I still get a California divorce?
Yes, there is a way to do this. Simply call and talk with one of our attorneys who will explain how it works and what we can do for you.
Only one of you needs to meet the California residency requirements (see above) to qualify for a California divorce.
Absolutely. As long as you qualify for a California divorce, we can work by phone and by mail with your spouse living in another state or even another country.
Yes. The law makes provisions for those who cannot find their spouse. Simply call and talk with one of our attorneys, who will explain how it works and what we can do for you.
If you are interested in finding out more about our services, or if you want to set up an appointment, please call our friendly customer assistance representative at Divorce Helpline, 1-800-359-7004.