File for Divorce in Santa Cruz County, California (CA) | Divorce in Santa Cruz County
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Divorce in Santa Cruz County

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Disclaimer: Online Divorce is not a law firm and its services, website and forms are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Online Divorce provides access to computer-aided self-help services at your specific direction. Online Divorce's website and written instructions provide general information about the divorce process only; we cannot give you any specific advice, opinions or recommendations as to your selection or completion of forms or your particular legal rights, remedies or options. OnlineDivorce.com is a website that provides access to self-guided online questionnaires. Online Divorce does not sell blank forms. You may be able to download blank forms from a government website depending on your state.

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Online Divorce in Santa Cruz County

divorce in Santa Cruz County

Please note: OnlineDivorce.com in Santa Cruz County, California is a divorce document preparation service. It has no authority to provide legal advice, so all the information below is for informational purposes only.

For spouses who have agreed to proceed through the divorce process without a trial and arrange an uncontested divorce in Santa Cruz County, Online Divorce is the easiest way to complete legal forms without undue costs or effort.

If your dissolution case is uncontested and amicable, there are many options for arranging an inexpensive dissolution process and minimizing stress and conflicts including collaborative and mediated divorce. Spouses who can reach an agreement on finances, property and other important issues of the case can even proceed without a lawyer using a do-it-yourself divorce in California.

For all these divorce options, using OnlineDivorce.com to fill out divorce papers in Santa Cruz County is the perfect way to begin the procedure. OnlineDivorce.com provides step-by-step guidance through the process of divorce in Santa Cruz County, CA.

Family Law is state-specific in the U.S., and even different counties within the state may have specific regulations concerning the filing procedure and court filing fees. OnlineDivorce always takes local rules into account when generating divorce forms. OnlineDivorce.com provides printable forms that are guaranteed to be approved by the court.

Our service prepares the necessary documents within just two days. You do not even need to leave your home to receive the completed paperwork kit, and the price is fair with no hidden fees.

Thousands of people have already used OnlineDivorce.com to obtain a dissolution of marriage in a quick and affordable way. Filing for divorce in Santa Cruz County can be easier than you could ever imagine.

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Valid grounds to get divorce in Santa Cruz County

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When filing for divorce in Santa Cruz County, California, the spouse who initiates the case has to fill out a Petition for divorce. This document must contain an official ground for dissolution of the marriage, chosen among those provided by the Family Law of the state.

California Family Code, Sec. 2310, does not have any fault-based grounds for divorce. In Santa Cruz County, California, grounds for divorce include:

  • Permanent legal incapacity to make decisions (also known as "Incurable Insanity"). This ground must be proven by competent medical or psychiatric testimony.
  • Irreconcilable differences, which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.

Since California is a no-fault state, irreconcilable differences cover the rest of the reasons and problems leading to the separation, and neither spouse needs to prove the other's fault before the court.

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Custody of the child in Santa Cruz County

Custody of the child in Santa Cruz County

Divorce in Santa Cruz County, CA, with children implies that custody issues should be resolved either by the parties themselves or by the court.

Child custody includes legal and physical custody:

  • Legal custody means an authority in making important decisions for the child (like health care, education, and welfare).
  • Physical custody determines with whom the child shall live.

California Family Code, Sec. 3010 - 3012, states that judges will award custody based on what is in the "best interest of the child."

To decide what is best for a child, the court considers the following factors:

  • The age of the child.
  • The health of the child.
  • The emotional ties between the parents and the child.
  • The ability of the parents to care for the child.
  • Any history of family violence or substance abuse.
  • The child's ties to the school, home, and his or her community.

Both sole and joint custody, as well as any combination thereof, like joint legal custody with sole physical custody, may be ordered depending on the circumstances of the case.

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Rules for child support in Santa Cruz County

Both parents are responsible for supporting their children, regardless of whether the parents are married or not.

To determine the amount of child support in Santa Cruz County, there is a statewide formula, which takes into account the following:

  • Each parent's earning capacity.
  • Each parent's income.
  • How many children the parents have together.
  • How much time each parent spends with their children.
  • Tax filing status of each parent.
  • Support of children from other relationships.
  • Health insurance expenses.
  • Retirement contributions.
  • And other factors.

To calculate the exact amount for a particular dissolution case, the spouses should use the California Guideline Child Support Calculator. The guideline amount is presumed to be correct in the majority of cases.

Additionally, Santa Cruz County has a local child support agency aimed to help the divorcing parents with all facets of the child support process.

Rules for spousal support in Santa Cruz County

Rules for spousal support in Santa Cruz County

According to California Family Code, Sec. 4320, spousal support may be ordered by the court to be paid to either spouse after the court considers all of the following circumstances:

  • The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage.
  • The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, etc. by the supporting party.
  • The length of the marriage.
  • The age and health condition of each spouse.
  • The needs of each party based on the marital standard of living.
  • The education level, earning capacity, financial perspectives of each party.
  • Separate property of each spouse.
  • A plea of nolo contendere.
  • Any history of domestic violence.
  • Peculiarities of the custody arrangement.
  • The ability of supporter party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party.
  • And other factors that the court determines as fair, following the California Family Code, Sec.4320, 4324, 4330.

Uncontested Santa Cruz County divorce with children

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Property division in Santa Cruz County

Property division in Santa Cruz County

Typically, in Santa Cruz County, the property is divided in a divorce the way the parties agree. If the spouses cannot reach an agreement, the property is divided equally by the Superior Court within the Judgment of Divorce.

Following the California Family Code, Sec. 2581, the courts presume that any property jointly acquired by the couple during the marriage is community (marital) property unless the following is provided:

  • A clear statement in the deed or other documentary evidence of title by which the property is acquired that the property is separate property.
  • Proof that the parties have made a written agreement that the property is separate property.

Additionally, the court has the latitude to give one spouse an asset of the community estate to effect an equal division of the marital estate. The court does not consider marital fault, but in the case of financial infidelity or misconduct, the court may also award, from one spouse's share, an amount the one spouse deliberately misappropriated to the detriment of the other party.

Separate property is not subject to division in a dissolution in Santa Cruz County and within the state of California as a whole. Separate property includes all of the following:

  • All property owned by the person before marriage.
  • All property acquired by the person after marriage by gift, bequest, devise, or descent.
  • Any rents, issues, and profits of the property mentioned above.

Mediation support in Santa Cruz County

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution which implies that the spouses work jointly under the guidance of an impartial mediator. The goal of mediation is to try to reach an agreement on the essential terms of the dissolution and create a stipulation or a parenting agreement.

In California divorce, mediation sessions can be requested by the spouses voluntarily or ordered by the court. For example, if the couple has a minor child, but they cannot agree on a parenting plan, they will be required to participate in divorce mediation (Family Code, Sec. 3170).

Additionally, judges may order parenting classes. Parents must take the type of course – in-person, online, or video – as is requested by the court.

How to file for divorce in Santa Cruz County | Step-by-Step

1

The couple has to meet residency requirements to obtain a divorce in Santa Cruz County, California. According to the California Family Code, Sec. 2320, at least one of the spouses must have resided in California for at least six months and lived within the Santa Cruz County where the proceeding will be filed for the last three months.

2

In Santa Cruz County California, divorce, legal separation, and annulment cases are handled by Family Courts of Superior Court. These courts also hear related matters like child custody and support, alimony, property distribution, etc.

3

The plaintiff (petitioner) has to collect and prepare the required forms, fill out the divorce papers, and file a Petition for Divorce with the court clerk's office.

4

The petitioner should make at least two copies of all the forms. One copy will be for him or her and the other copy will be for the other spouse (called a defendant or respondent in a case). The original forms stay with the court.

5

The plaintiff must deliver copies of documents to the defendant. However, there are specific rules on how to serve divorce papers in Santa Cruz County, CA. Any adult person who is not involved in the case qualifies to serve the summons via certified mail or in person. This option is the most comfortable and cheap. Another option is to hire a county sheriff or professional process server. The process of serving divorce papers in Santa Cruz County must be confirmed by a signed Proof of Service of Summons form. This form must be filed with the court by the server.

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Contested Divorce

Average prices start at $2000

Offline and inconvenient process with attorney representation for each spouse. Costly attorney fees resulting in unforeseen expenditures. Lengthy and expensive option.

  • Attorney availability impacts completion time
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Other websites for filling out divorce documents use flawed software technologies to complete your divorce documentation.

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Filing fees for divorce in Santa Cruz County

When the plaintiff applies for divorce, he or she is obliged to pay a court filing fee. The average initial filing fee is $435, but the exact amount of the filing fee, for each individual case, also depends on what additional court services are used.

Although the cost of divorce varies based on numerous factors, the court filing fee is a mandatory expense for all.

A person who cannot afford the filings fees may apply to have the fee waived by filling out and submitting a Fee Waiver form.

How long will it take?

The question of how long does it take to get a divorce in Santa Cruz County, CA, is quite tricky to answer since the time needed to finalize a divorce depends on the circumstances of each individual case. Nevertheless, if both parties agree on all issues, the divorce process is usually fast and easy.

In an uncontested divorce, one date is strict and clear. The state of California has a mandatory waiting period. According to Family Code, Sec. 2339, the length of the divorce process cannot be less than six months from the date of service of a copy of summons and Petition or the date of appearance of the respondent, whichever occurs first.

Contested divorces are typically much longer than no-contest cases. Using an attorney and going through litigation are major factors that can significantly increase the length of the divorce proceeding.

DIY-divorce is often the fastest way to get a divorce in Santa Cruz County, especially if the marriage was short and the spouses do not have minor children or marital property disputes. However, filing for divorce in Santa Cruz County by yourself may be very complicated if the spouses need to fill out a lot of forms and review lots of documents.

Each divorce case is unique, so it is impossible to predict how long a divorce will take.

Filing for divorce in Santa Cruz County | Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a divorce cost in Santa Cruz County?

The cost of any dissolution in Santa Cruz County starts with a court filing fee, which is charged at the time of filing for divorce.

All the other possible expenses vary greatly depending on whether the case is contested and whether the spouses use the assistance of professionals such as lawyers, counselors, mediators, financial experts, or other specialists.

In an uncontested divorce case where the only issue the couple has to resolve is the paperwork, the cost may be limited to the cost associated with any service used to assist with the paperwork (like OnlineDivorce.com) and the court filing fee.

How do you file for divorce in Santa Cruz County without a lawyer?

Filing for divorce without a lawyer is a viable and entirely legal option, especially in an uncontested case. Santa Cruz County courts provide self-help guidelines for spouses who want to proceed on their own. Each county in California has a location for Self-Help and Family Law Facilitators. And for those who want to save time and effort, there is OnlineDivorce.com, which allows you to resolve all the paperwork issues without leaving home.

What forms are required for an uncontested divorce in Santa Cruz County?

The divorce forms required to be filed to start a divorce process in California include:

  • Petition — Marriage/Domestic Partnership
  • Summons (Family Law)
  • Proof of Service of Summons (Family Law — Uniform Parentage — Custody and Support)
  • Property Declaration (Family Law)

If the spouses have minor children, the following forms must be filed along with the Petition:

  • Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)
  • Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application Attachment

In the process of divorce, many additional legal forms may be required, depending on the case circumstances.

Can I file for legal separation in Santa Cruz County, California?

The answer is yes. Legal separation is another way to terminate the marriage. It implies that the spouses divide their rights and liabilities just like in a divorce process, but remain legally married. A legally separated couple is not eligible to remarry or enter into a new domestic partnership.

Legal separation in California is very similar to divorce. The spouses are required to fill out similar forms and resolve the same issues as in a divorce (property division, custody of a child, alimony).

Legal separation may be transformed into divorce whenever desired by one of the spouses, even without the consent of the other partner.

When is it allowed to remarry after a divorce?

Either spouse is allowed to remarry after the court issues a Final Divorce Decree. California Family Law does not have a mandatory waiting period or any other restrictions for the remarriage of newly divorced people. However, a copy of the court order may be needed in some cases to obtain a new marriage license.

Divorce in Santa Cruz County online

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Here is how OnlineDivorce.com makes completing divorce papers easier:

  • We provide the full divorce packet required by the local court - clients do not need to drive to their local courthouse to get the blank forms or search for the right divorce forms online. In rare cases, local county forms can vary in color, paper material, size, or bar code, so they may need to be obtained directly from the county clerk's office.
  • We complete the necessary forms for clients based on their answers given in a simple guided online interview - clients do not need to understand family law or read through complicated instructions to figure out how to fill out the forms themselves.
  • We give detailed, easy to follow step-by-step instructions for filing a divorce with the court - so the client knows exactly what to do to get his/her divorce finalized.
  • We provide unlimited technical support - if a client needs assistance through the online process, he/she can always reach out to us via phone, email, or live chat, and we'll do our best to help.
  • We save our clients time and money - if divorcing spouses agree regarding the terms of their divorce, they typically don’t have to pay thousands to a lawyer to handle their divorce forms and don't need to spend hours trying to do it all by themselves.
  • We guarantee 100% court approval on divorce papers prepared through our website or your money back - we have 20 years of experience in completing divorce forms so clients can be sure the court will accept their documents without issues.

Divorce Courts in Santa Cruz County, California

Santa Cruz County Superior Court
Court Address:
701 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, California 95060
Phone:
831-420-2200
Clerk Hours:
8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Monday - Friday
Superior Court
Court Address:
1 Second Street, Watsonville, California 95076
Phone:
831-786-7200
Clerk Hours:
8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Monday - Friday