Do I Need a Divorce Attorney in Orange County?
Going through a divorce or separation is an exhausting experience both physically and emotionally.
Many people hesitate to seek legal representation and everyone has their own reasons for this. Some may want to avoid appearing offensive while others might not believe they need a lawyer. Still, others might simply say they cannot afford a divorce attorney.
Hiring a divorce attorney can help simplify an otherwise complicated legal process. Divorce attorneys in Orange County know all the local legal codes and can help you understand your full range of rights.
Remember that according to California state law, all divorces are subject to a six month waiting period before finalization after filing the initial paperwork.
Most law firms offer free consultations so it can’t hurt to at least discuss your case with a lawyer.
Divorce attorney in Orange County explains divorce options.
Each divorce is entirely unique. California offers many different options to fit your specific needs.
Consider how well you communicate with your spouse when deciding which route is best. It is important to discuss these options with a divorce attorney in Orange County so you fully understand the legal process and all the implications.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
If you and your spouse communicate fairly well, you might opt for a lower-pressure alternative dispute resolution option.
These options provide legally-observed guided conversations that ultimately lead to some mutual agreement. The great thing about alternative dispute resolutions is that a judge does not get involved. This puts you and your partner in complete control.
- Mediation: You and your spouse meet with a specially trained mediator who typically has a background in law or psychology. The mediator with facilitate a conversation between you and your partner in a private room without lawyers present. However, you should still seek a lawyer’s advice prior to signing any documents or meeting with the mediator.
- Collaborative Divorce: A collaborative divorce is similar to mediation in that it also takes place outside the courtroom. Lawyers are, however, present during these meetings. They may advise their clients throughout the process with the goal of reaching a mutually beneficial conclusion.
In all forms of alternative dispute resolution, the goal is to get both parties working together outside the courtroom. Divorce attorneys in Orange County may help guide the process and offer advice, but the ultimate agreement is left up to the two parties instead of a judge.
Divorce attorney explains – Summary Dissolution
This is another divorce option in California that does not involve a judge or courtroom. It moves a little quicker than other divorces as well. Unlike other divorces, couples must fill out a joint petition for a marriage dissolution. Couples must also meet certain criteria to qualify for a summary dissolution:
- The marriage lasted less than five years as indicated on the legal marriage license and divorce paperwork.
- Neither spouse may be pregnant. The couple must not have acquired any children during the marriage either through birth or adoption.
- You and your partner did not acquire over $5,000 in debt over the course of the marriage. (This excludes auto loans.)
- As a couple, you did not acquire more than $25,000 in property.
- Neither of you may own separate property totaling over $25,000 per person.
- You and your spouse must both agree never to seek spousal support.
- One party must have lived in California for six months and the county you’re filing in for the past three months.
Couples opting for a summary dissolution must fill out paperwork together and sign a property division agreement.
Many couples find themselves in a contested divorce after trying alternative dispute resolutions. Contested divorces take place in a courtroom with the ultimate ruling coming from a judge.
These divorces can become long, messy, expensive, and stressful. You’ll find yourself in a contested divorce if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on any one of four factors:
- Division of property and debt
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support
If you and your spouse simply cannot agree on something, you may wind up in a courtroom. Make sure you meet with a qualified attorney in Orange County to protect yourself during a contested divorce.
Legal separation differs from divorce in that both parties must agree to separate and neither party may remarry. To initiate a divorce, only one party must file divorce paperwork to get the ball rolling.
This option also comes with its own set of criteria couples must meet in order to qualify. For example, whether married or in a domestic partnership, either you or your spouse must currently live in California. One spouse must have lived in California for six months at the time of filing paperwork.
Similar to a divorce, you and your spouse must reach an agreement regarding property, children, and assets either inside or outside the courtroom.
Annulments are a highly sought after option because they are faster than divorces and instead render the entire marriage invalid.
In order to qualify for an annulment, your situation must meet strict criteria:
- Either you or your partner were under 18 at the time of marriage.
- One party was already in another legal marriage or domestic partnership before the marriage in question.
- Either you or your party was forced, coerced, or deceived into the marriage.
One party must have proper evidence to prove that at least one of the above situations applies to their marriage.
Meet with an Orange County Divorce Attorney today.
Whether you and your partner communicate well or are always at each other’s throats, divorce is not a simple process. Even couples who get along well might not fully understand the paperwork and implications of the legal process.
If you’re going through a divorce or separation, it is important to meet with a qualified attorney in Orange County. Contact Yanez & Associates 24/7 for a free consultation at 714-971-8000.