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Frequently Asked Questions About Uncontested Divorces

What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce is one in which only minor disputes exist in matters of custody, visitation, support or asset distribution. In other words, the parties have decided, for the most part, how they will divide everything and how child custody will be handled. The uncontested nature of this dissolution process takes the decision making power out of the judge’s hands and puts it back into the hands of those most affected by the outcome. It minimizes a degree of polarization and hostility that often accompany the more conventional divorce.

How long does the divorce process take?
In California, the soonest a marriage can be dissolved is six months from the date one spouse receives the formal notice that the other spouse has filed papers with the court requesting the divorce.

Do we have to appear in court?
Not necessarily. It is possible to complete the dissolution process without attending any hearings or appearing in court.

Does the Family Law Center represent either party if we should go to court?
No. The Family Law Center offers the services of a mediator who is a licensed California attorney. In this role as mediator she is not acting as an attorney for either party nor is she acting as an attorney for both parties. Instead, it is her role as your mediator to provide each party, in the presence of the other, with the information necessary to allow each of you to make informed decisions regarding legal issues and to come to an amicable agreement.

What is a Martial Settlement Agreement (commonly referred to as a “MSA”)?
A MSA is a binding and somewhat complex agreement between the husband and wife outlining their respective obligations and responsibilities following the dissolution (divorce.) It is usually incorporated into, and becomes part of, the Judgment of Dissolution, sometimes called divorce decree, entered in the case.

Although the Family Law Center does not represent either party, you will be encouraged to seek an independent attorney for consultation, advice on complex issues, such as tax and valuation considerations, or for a review of your MSA and related legal agreements.