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AttorneyTom
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My wife and I decided to live apart because of differences.

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My wife and I decided to live apart because of differences. This was in 2001. She didn't want to sign divorce papers for her own reasons. Our 3 children are living with her and I've been giving her child support since then. We have a written agreement saying we don't want this and that and each others bills are our own. It's not signed by a judge but notarized.

1. Isn't there some law if you live apart for a period of time it's considered being divorced?

2. Is there a way to get divorced without her signature?

3. Is there a cheaper way of doing this without a lawyer?



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Thank you for your question.


1. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, there's no such thing as a common law divorce. Living apart, by itself, will not result in divorce.

2. Yes. It's possible to get divorced without another person's consent. However, that constitutes a contested divorce and can be time consuming and expensive. That said, one spouse cannot keep another spouse married if the other spouse doesn't wish to be and a court can enter a divorce decree even when one spouse doesn't wish to get divorced. It's better and cheaper when both parties can settle and agree to matters in good faith.

3. Yes. Anyone can represent himself in any legal proceeding. However, cheaper isn't always better. There's a lot at stake in a divorce and having legal representation is prudent. However, the California self-help center is located at the following link for people who represent themselves.
http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/


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Sincerely,

T-USA


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