Case Study by Bill Schaaf, Walnut Creek
Divorce is never easy, but a recent Divorce for a Walnut Creek client was finalized in six months. This relatively simple solution went a long way towards helping our client get on with her life.
“Zoe”, who lives in Pleasant Hill, came in to our office for assistance with her Divorce. Zoe is 32, has a good job as an account executive with a national publication, and had been married to Bobby, 34, the operations manager for a manufacturing company, for nearly two years. Like many busy professionals these days, they met online and were delighted to discover their shared interests. They quickly fell into a pattern of spending their weekends together.
The couple had attended a number of weddings together over the last year, and they were at that age when young couples begin to think about settling down. They set a date and married in the summer of 2015. Bobby moved into Zoe’s home that she’d inherited from her parents, and they began their new life together. But almost from the beginning, their relationship was troubled. While they’d spent considerable time together before marriage, they found that actually living together was challenging. They were soon quarreling, tried counseling, but finally admitted that they they’d married for all the wrong reasons, and in less than a year, Bobby moved out and left no forwarding address.
Zoe wanted to divorce and get on with her life. There were no kids, no support issues, no property issues or community assets. When Bobby moved out, he simply packed up his belongings and took them with him. (While California is a community property state, Zoe’s home was deeded to her before she met Bobby, and she made no effort to include him on the title after they were married.)
Zoe knew that Bobby wouldn’t want to be part of the Divorce process, but she also knew where he could be served. She filled out our workbook, we prepared the initial paperwork and one of Zoe’s friends served Bobby the Divorce papers. Bobby didn’t file a Response within the required 30 days, so we were able to file a “true default” judgment for Zoe, which was signed by the judge and filed with the court. Bobby never had to sign a thing, and Zoe’s Divorce became final within six months of her initial office visit.
According to California law, if someone does not respond to his/her spouse or partner’s petition for Divorce, the case will be considered a “true default” judgment. In a “true default” case, the spouse is giving up the right to have any say in in the Divorce. A true default judgment is uncommon because, unlike Bobby, most people are stakeholders in their marriages—they have emotional and economic investments—there are kids and property to divide–so this kind of simple solution is somewhat unusual. In most cases, even if the Divorce is uncontested, both parties work together to make decisions about custody, a parenting plan and division of property.
Are you contemplating divorce? Call California Document Preparers at one of our three Bay Area offices today to schedule an appointment. You can also jumpstart the process with our easy-to-use, secure online storefront–we’re still available by phone and email if you have questions. Our dedicated family law specialists are helpful, compassionate and affordable.