What are My California Divorce Options

What are My California Divorce Options?

If you have been considering divorce, you may believe you have no choice but to go through a dramatic court hearing to end your marriage. While fighting with your ex in court is possible, you also have other alternatives for completing your California divorce. If you are involved in a California divorce, you need to know: What are my California divorce options?

Uncontested Divorce

Even though parties may be upset, not every divorce will be high-conflict. There can be situations when both sides agree on their major divorce terms and want to find a way to complete their case without fighting. In this circumstance, the couple may want an agreed or “uncontested” divorce.

In some uncontested divorces, only one party will have an attorney. In others, both sides will work with counsel while they develop an agreement. In an uncontested divorce, the couple usually agrees on how to divide marital property and share time with their children.

If you believe you and your ex will agree on all or most of the issues in your case, you should contact an experienced California divorce attorney to review your options. Your lawyer can help you evaluate your circumstances and understand the ways in which you and your ex can settle your case without going through a contested hearing.

Contested Divorce

When divorcing parties disagree about one or more significant issues, they will have a contested divorce. Not every contested divorce will end in the courtroom, however. The majority of contested California divorces settle without going through a hearing.

Some divorces are high-conflict, meaning the parties are at odds over several matters and contentious towards one another. These cases can potentially go to a final hearing but may still end in settlement. Other cases may involve disagreements where the parties are generally civil towards each other and are willing to negotiate.

Settlement Options


Divorcing parties have multiple settlement options. While the parties can negotiate a divorce settlement on their own (without attorneys), it’s generally not advisable. Divorce law is complex, and seemingly insignificant decisions you make and settle on during your case can have long-term implications. Therefore, you will want to work with an experienced California divorce attorney throughout your divorce and the negotiation process. Your California divorce attorney will have the skills and knowledge you need to help you evaluate your divorce terms and make decisions that support your best interest now and in the future.  


Divorce mediation involves both sides working with a mediator who will attempt to help them settle their disputed issues. Divorce mediators are neutral third parties with specialized training and experience with divorce and family law cases.

In many ways, mediation is like a prolonged negotiation session. The process involves the mediator meeting with both parties to hear their perspectives and goals. They will then go between them to try and help facilitate an agreement.

Some divorce cases have to go to mediation. For example, California law requires that you attend mediation if you and your ex can’t agree on child custody. However, parties can also choose to mediate voluntarily.

Parties are not obligated to settle and generally, what is said during the process remains confidential. However, if you and your ex can settle during mediation, you can sign an agreement that will effectively end your case.

Collaborative Divorce

Another option for your divorce is to use Collaborative Divorce. This type of divorce involves both parties being represented by specially trained Collaborative Divorce attorneys and agreeing to share information and work cooperatively to resolve their disputed issues.

During this type of divorce, the parties work with neutral professionals to clarify the matters in their case and understand one another’s perspectives. For example, parties may use an accountant to understand their finances or a child therapist to make custody decisions. The idea behind the Collaborative Divorce process is to help parties find ways to agree while being mutually considerate and respectful of one another. This type of California divorce is typically a good option for parties who are committed to peacefully resolving their case.

Understanding your California divorce options is essential. The best way to learn more about your marriage dissolution choices is by working with an experienced California divorce attorney. Your divorce lawyer can help you evaluate your case and determine what will work for you and your circumstances.

Contact an Experienced California Divorce Attorney

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced California divorce attorneys who can help you during all phases of your divorce or custody matter. Our firm assists clients along California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin, San Jose, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website.



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