Will I Have To Go To Court For My California Divorce

Will I Have To Go To Court For My California Divorce

Hi! My name is Tim Blankenship, owner of SCV Legal Doc Assist. We are licensed and bonded legal document assistant firm specializing in divorce.

Today, I want to talk to you about how to avoid court when going through the divorce process in California. Many of the calls we get from our clients ask us “Tim, why have to go to court?”, and that all depends on a couple of things and there are some things we could do to help prevent you having to go to court.

Many times, when you go through an uncontested divorce case, the courts or the self-help centers, will want you to deal what’s called a ‘default judgment’.

A default judgment is where only one spouse participates in the divorce, the other spouse does not respond nor do they enter into an agreement.

We’re finding in many cases on these default judgments because the other party has not been involved whatsoever, the judge will often times ask the one party that’s initiated the divorce to come into court to explain the distribution of assets and debts.

Now, I will talk to you about another way of going through the divorce process that accomplishes exactly the same thing with a much less likelihood of having to go to court.

This is called the hybrid judgment. The hybrid judgment is very similar in that the other party will not file a response. However, the other party will enter into a written agreement.

Now when the court sees this judgment, they realize, while the other spouse did not respond, they’re still participating and have entered into an agreement and that agreement has been authorized. When that’s the case, even if the assets and debts have not been distributed evenly, that agreement has been authorized.

When that’s the case, even if the assets and debts have not been distributed evenly, they understand that there has been an agreement and that the parties have the best interest in mind of each other, they will not generally ask you to come to court when you have entered into an agreement in the judgment.

If you have further questions about the hybrid judgment or how to avoid going to court during divorce, please give us a call at 661-281-0266.

Uncontested Divorce Cases Taking Longer In Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles divorce courts are under some severe strain right now.  With budget cuts, layoffs and court closures, we are really seeing an impact on the level of service we are getting from the courts.

What we are finding is that the California divorce cases are taking much longer than they did in the past.

We are not just talking about cases that go to trial and have to see a judge, we are talking about your everyday uncontested divorce cases with self represented divorce clients that never step foot in the court room.

We are specifically talking about the time it takes for the court to review and approve a final judgment in a divorce case.

When you are representing yourself in your divorce, it is just a matter of getting the paperwork through the system.  The final judgment is the last thing that you submit to the court.

The process of the court reviewing and approving the final judgment has always been long, however we are seeing a steady increase in the time it takes to review the divorce judgments.

First it was 3 months, then four.  Now we are seeing it routinely take 6 months and longer.  Now with the layoffs still so fresh from happening, I bet we will see even longer delays.

This can be a frustrating process.  Especially for those folks that have attempted to do their entire divorce on their own.  They are submitting them, only have it rejected 6 months later when they have completely forgotten about it an assumed everything was fine.  Especially since they did not hear anything for so long.

We recommend (if time is a concern) that you submit your final divorce judgment just as soon as you have completed all the paperwork for your divorce.

You don’t have to wait 6 months before submitting your divorce case for final approval.

You can submit your case within 30 days of your spouse being served (if you are doing a default or hybrid style divorce) or immediately if going by way of uncontested divorce.

You case is going to sit in a pile of other divorce judgment in line for review anyway.  You might as well get your case in line as early as possible.

More Layoffs Announced For LA Courts | Divorce To Take Longer

It was announced this week that the Los Angeles Superior Courts were going to get rid of more than 500 jobs this week.

Here is the numbers.

  • 511 Jobs cut by the end of this week.
  • 177 people to lose their jobs.
  • 139 people will receive demotions and pay cuts
  • 223 people transferred to new work locations

For those of us in the business of divorce, this will most certainly result in slower service, longer waits for cases to be heard and for divorce cases to be approved by the court.  Hard to think it could get worse.  As it is now, it takes up to 6 months to get a divorce judgment approved…

Since 2008, some courts have closed and there have been almost 900 people let go.

So as the level of service goes down, the costs to get divorced go up.  What an amazing business model.  If anyone else ran their company like this, they would not last long at all.

So what does this mean for those going thorough a divorce?  First of all that 6 month waiting period or “cooling off” period you hear about simply won’t matter.  There will be no way to complete your divorce in 6 months anyways.  The file will never see a judges eyes in that time-frame.

For those in a hurry to finalize their divorce, one recommendation is to get your judgment in as soon as possible.  For those who work with us and have mostly amicable divorce cases, we can complete your paperwork in 30 days and submit it to the court.  Then, at least, we are in line for approval.  Don’t make the mistake of waiting the 6 months before submitting your divorce judgment.

So it will take longer to get divorced in Los Angeles County.  Let’s hope this is the last round of layoffs for the Los Angeles Superior Court system.  Only time will tell what these layoffs translate as far as service is concerned.