WASHINGTON – There are lots of things you can do in one day. You can go to a yoga class, see a movie, take a hike on a local trail — and even get a divorce.
That’s correct. A court room in Sacramento, Calif. is making it possible to get a divorce in one day, assuming the proper paperwork is filed and all parties are in agreement of splitting the assets.
Superior Court Judge James Mize saw the program grow out of necessity. According to Mize, the state is experiencing a loss of assets, money and resources. So it had to figure out the best way to serve its citizens without costing any extra money.
“It’s very simple,” Mize says. “We have no money.”
Mize called on local attorneys and law students and asked them to volunteer their time and skills by helping litigants push through and complete the paper work required for the dissolution of marriage.
The program, however, helps more than California’s finances. It also helps the couples who go through the often lengthy and frustrating process.
“We have people in the court hugging the volunteers that helped them and then hugging the person they are divorcing. Just because they can now get on with their lives,” Mize says.
Many California divorce cases have been in the state’s court system for years.
“Seventy-two percent of the folks we deal with in family court are self- represented,” Mize explains. “They do not have attorneys and will not get attorneys.”
According to Mize, the program, which became permanent on April 12, is being considered in other California counties and may be adopted nationwide.