If you are doing your own divorce, you can purchase all the necessary forms at the courthouse for a nominal fee or download the forms for free off the Internet. This may be particularly appealing if the situation is amicable. However, in an effort to safeguard divorcing parties, the California legislature has created a potential paperwork nightmare of required forms that can turn a simple agreement into a complicated and lengthy process. Often times the most difficult part of a divorce is not settling the issues but figuring out which forms are required to turn a simple agreement into a court judgment and finalize the divorce.
What forms do I use? Which boxes do I check?
Using the wrong forms or filling them out the wrong way can cause a simple agreement to be rejected by the court, thereby lengthening the divorce. Especially when the parties agree on everything, they are more likely to try to do the divorce paperwork themselves, only to be overwhelmed by the number and complexity of forms required.
Consider the following:
Even when both parties agree on the terms of the divorce, the court will still require the following:
1) Opening the case with the court requires forms, which must be served on the responding party. Then more forms must be filed proving that the other party was served and received notice of the pending divorce.
2) Disclosures must me exchanged, which involve multiple forms, and ensure that both parties are able to make informed decisions regarding the divorce. Then other forms must be filed showing that the Disclosures were exchanged.
3) Judgment forms must be submitted to the court with the settlement agreement to get a divorce judgment. Additional forms must be submitted with the judgment forms in order for the court to process the judgment forms.
FORMS, FORMS, FORMS!!!
The plethora of forms required is designed to protect the parties, but often they feel overwhelmed by their complexity. This is where a family law attorney can help clarify the process, reduce the stress, and speed up the divorce proceedings.
The Law Office of Andrew J. McCall represents Family Law litigants in Contra Costa & Solano Counties, so, if you know someone who has been trying to do his/her own divorce and is having problems, have him/her contact us to discuss representation or consultation or just help with forms.