You used to have to run to Reno to get a “quickie” divorce, but if a Sacramento judge has his way, California may become the new “quick divorce” home state.
Judge James Mize has designed a divorce program that will allow participants to receive a decree in as little as one day. The program was designed to help those who cannot afford a divorce attorney to quickly obtain a legal end to their marriages. However, critics say that there are many pitfalls to the proposed program.
Attorneys and law students are volunteering their services to help couples reach divorce agreements quickly and to prepare all of the necessary paperwork to petition for and receive a divorce decree the same day. While this sounds good in theory, many are concerned that in practice it may prove disastrous for the parties.
For those who have no property and want nothing from each other, a “quickie” divorce may work. Much like an annulment, a quickie divorce with no property settlement is something of a “reset” button, undoing what may have been an ill-advised marriage. On the other hand, when property settlement and especially child custody is involved, the issues are much more complicated and simply may not work with the “quickie” format.
Other experts worry that divorcing couples will not receive the best legal advice. For example, a man might be tempted to obtain a fast divorce to cut costs associated with hiring an attorney. However, he might find later that he had agreed to pay his former spouse much more money than he needed to; he may also find that his visitation with his children is very limited.
In most cases, it is best to consult a professional divorce attorney prior to obtaining a legal dissolution of marriage. A divorce attorney can advise you on your rights and help you understand exactly how much money you may pay to your former spouse as well as how child custody may be worked out. While divorce attorneys are not free and their fees may seem steep, the money spent on a good attorney is often repaid many times over when compared to the financial and emotional distress experienced for the rest of his life by a man who has been taken advantage of in divorce court.