Couples with divorce attorney

What Is an Amicable Divorce?

The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer  May 10, 2024

The often-disgruntled path of divorce doesn't always have to involve conflict. For many couples, an amicable divorce offers a less contentious and more respectful way to end a marriage, focusing on mutual agreement and cooperation.  

An amicable divorce, also known as an uncontested divorce, refers to a process in which both spouses see eye-to-eye on the terms of their divorce such as property division, alimony, child custody, and support. And if any misunderstandings do come up while drafting their agreements, they're able to work together to achieve a fair resolution that benefits everyone involved, without the need for too much legal intervention.  

But, because any divorce involves legal procedures and decisions, it's still wise for both parties to consult with their respective attorneys and follow the necessary steps to ensure a successful and sustainable outcome. 

At The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer, we have guided numerous clients throughout San Jose, Fremont, Hayward, Alameda County, Santa Clara County, and Pleasanton toward peaceful resolutions in what could otherwise have been highly stressful situations.  

How Does the Amicable Divorce Process Work?

The process of an amicable divorce begins with both parties agreeing to file for divorce together or one party filing with the full support of the other. Then, you'll begin drafting a marital settlement agreement that outlines all agreed-upon terms regarding asset division, child custody, support arrangements, and any other relevant matters. It's essential that this agreement is comprehensive and leaves no room for future disputes—a divorce lawyer can help you ensure this.  

Once the agreement is drafted, it must be submitted to the court for approval. During this time, the court may request additional documents or clarifications to ensure the agreement serves the best interests of all involved, especially any children from the marriage.  

After the court's review and approval, the divorce decree is issued, officially ending the marriage. This process emphasizes cooperation and communication, aiming to minimize emotional strain and financial burden on both parties. 

Do You Qualify?

For a married couple to get an uncontested divorce in California, here are the requirements they need to meet, according to California Family Code, §2320

  • Either or both partners should have been living in California for at least six months before filing for divorce. 

  • They also need to have been residents of the county where they're filing for three months. 

  • They must agree on everything about the divorce, like who gets what and arrangements for any kids. 

  • Both partners are willing to sign all the necessary papers and move forward without needing a court trial. 

If you satisfy these qualifications and are ready to take the next step, contact our divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer in Santa Clara County, California. We'll help you get set up with what you need to achieve an amicable divorce and ensure that your rights are protected in the process. 

How Much Does an Amicable Divorce Cost?

An uncontested or amicable divorce process is much more affordable than a contested divorce. Because both partners are cooperating and coming to agreements on their own, there's less need for litigation, saving time and money. Additionally, the legal fees are typically lower since there's no need for extensive court appearances or negotiations between attorneys.  

In California, the cost of filing for divorce is $435. After that, fees may include any attorney fees and other necessary expenses such as mediation or counseling. The average cost for an uncontested divorce in California is around $4,000, but the total cost of your amicable divorce will depend on the complexity of your situation and the rates charged by the professionals whom you have involved in the process. 

To provide some context, contested divorces in California generally incur costs of $17,500 when children are not involved. However, when custody and support agreements come into play, this figure rises to an average of $26,300, reflecting the additional time and procedures required. 

Other Benefits of the Uncontested Route

The pros of an amicable divorce extend far beyond the cost-saving measures discussed above. Here are some additional benefits to note:  

  • Less emotional turmoil: Divorces can be emotionally draining, especially when they involve conflicts and disagreements. By working together towards a mutual agreement, an amicable divorce can help both parties move forward with less emotional turmoil. 

  • More control over the outcome: In an uncontested divorce, both parties have more say in the final outcomes of their agreements rather than leaving it up to a judge's discretion. This can lead to more satisfactory results for both parties. 

  • Better co-parenting relationship: For couples with children, an amicable divorce helps maintain a cordial and cooperative co-parenting relationship, which ultimately benefits the wellbeing of their children.  

  • Faster resolution: As there's less need for court involvement and litigation in an amicable divorce, the process can be completed much more quickly than a contested divorce. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we both use the same attorney for our amicable divorce?

It's generally not recommended for both parties to use the same attorney due to potential conflicts of interest. Even in the most cooperative divorces, each person's legal interests can differ.  

It's recommended for each party to have their own attorney to ensure their rights are fully protected, though both attorneys can work closely to facilitate an amicable resolution. 

How long does an amicable divorce process take in California? 

The duration of an amicable divorce in California can vary depending on the specific nature of the marital assets, agreements regarding custody, and the court's schedule.  

However, a mandatory six-month waiting period is required from the date the other spouse is served with papers before the divorce can be finalized. The entire process could be concluded shortly after this period if all agreements are promptly reached and submitted to the court. 

What if we agree on most things but have a few unresolved issues?

In situations where couples agree on most aspects of their divorce but have lingering unresolved issues, mediation can be an effective tool.  

Mediation involves a neutral third party helping the spouses negotiate and come to an agreement on the outstanding issues. This process supports the pursuit of an amicable divorce by fostering cooperation and communication, allowing couples to maintain control over the outcome of their divorce. 

Go Forward With Support and Guidance

For those considering an amicable divorce in California, know that there are resources and support systems designed to assist you.  

At The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer, we're dedicated to offering comprehensive support for those seeking an amicable, respectful end to their marriage.  

If you're looking for a California divorce attorney to help you through the collaborative divorce process, or need advice on child custody in an amicable divorce, we're here for you. Reach out to our firm today; we have locations in Morgan Hill and San Jose, and we’re proud to serve families throughout Fremont, Hayworth, Alameda County, Santa Clara County, and Pleasanton.