California couples who are ending their marriages may hope they can do so without going through protracted litigation. In an uncontested divorce, a couple comes to an accord outside of court about issues such as the division of property and then takes the agreement to court to have it approved.
However, even with an uncontested divorce, people should keep a few points in mind. Regardless of how amicable the process may be, they should still do their own research to make sure the other spouse is disclosing all assets and debts. The parties should have separate counsel to help protect their interests. People should fully understand the value of debts and assets they are dividing and should bring in an appraiser if necessary.
If there are issues that cannot be resolved, a mediator might help a couple reach a compromise. It is important to ensure that the divorce is fully resolved before any paperwork is submitted to the court. If it turns out that some issues remain contested, the court might reject the divorce settlement.
Since California is a community property state, one of the first things it will be necessary to do is determine what is marital property. However, a couple is not required to agree to split everything 50/50. They may divide assets in a way that is equitable while still suiting them better than an equal split. For example, one person might be more interested in keeping and maintaining a collection. An attorney might also be helpful in this part of the process by pointing out potential pitfalls. For example, an attorney may point out that the asset a client wants to take is likely to depreciate in value while the one the other party is taking might become more valuable over time.