Filing for divorce can be a lengthy process, but a new program set to begin Saturday at the San Diego Superior Court is promising to help eligible ex-couples complete a simple divorce in only one day.
The “One Day Divorce” pilot program officially goes live Mar. 1 at San Diego’s Downtown Family Court.
According to the San Diego Superior Court, the program is available to litigants who do not have attorneys and represent themselves in court. They must also have no contested issues surrounding their divorce.
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Hence, a simple, clean break could warrant an equally simple, speedy resolution.
Here’s how it works: After the initial filing and serving of the petition, eligible litigants sit down with a family law expert who will discuss the terms of the couple’s proposed divorce settlement agreement of the default judgment process. Then, the couple completes the forms necessary to finalize the divorce.
If all of the necessary paperwork and disclosures are completed, the litigants can appear in court that very same day to receive their final judgment, and, if all goes well, they can leave the courtroom with the final divorce judgment in their hands.
The San Diego program is modeled after the successful One Day Divorce program first created by Judge James Mize of the Sacramento Superior Court. With the help of a grant from the San Diego Bar Foundation, the court is now able to provide this option to the public and implement the program locally without a direct cost to the public, the San Diego Superior Court said.
San Diego Superior Court Presiding Judge David J. Danielsen had this to say about the option:
“In a time when budget cuts are forcing courts all over California to limit services to the public, judges from the San Diego Superior Court, court professionals, and the legal community are leading efforts to innovate improvements to the administration of justice in Family Law.”
According to court officials, in California, 72 percent of family law litigants do not have lawyers. Still, simple divorces can be complicated for litigants representing themselves and because of this many cases languish in the court system for years.
San Diego Superior Court Family Supervising Judge Maureen Hallahan said this new option could provide a solution for that.
“One of the biggest complaints about family court is that the process is too complicated and takes too long to complete. The ‘One Day Divorce’ program was created to help solve these problems,” she said.
To learn more about One Day Divorce and additional requirements, and obtain a screening form, visit this website.