Anaheim Hills Divorce Attorney
With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our team is highly qualified to provide legal services for your most difficult family circumstances.
Anaheim Hills Divorce Lawyer
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Divorce Lawyer in California?
Every California divorce comes with its own goals and needs. The cost of hiring a family law attorney will vary depending on those needs. Contact our firm to learn more about how much your divorce could cost.
When Should You Hire a Divorce Attorney?
Although filing for divorce can be an emotionally charged time, approaching the divorce process with an attorney ensures you can successfully navigate even the most complex issues and make informed decisions for your family’s future. It is legally possible to pursue a divorce without an attorney, but lack of representation can seriously undermine your ability to obtain a positive outcome in your case, especially if your spouse has retained an attorney. California’s divorce laws can be confusing to interpret, and even seemingly minor mistakes can interfere with the progression of your case. An attorney can explain your rights, ensure you adhere to all legal requirements during the divorce process, and draft a fair, reasonable divorce order.
At DeArmey Law, we recognize that every family is unique and requires compassionate, individualized legal counsel to achieve the optimal outcome in a divorce case. Our team can work with you to understand your family dynamics, discuss your concerns, review your options, and identify any potential complications that may arise. With this information, we develop a legal strategy that meets your long-term goals and makes the divorce process as painless as possible. If you decide to pursue mediation, we can facilitate civil communication between you and your spouse and streamline the negotiation process. Still, we prepare every case as if it will go to trial, so we are fully prepared to litigate your divorce if necessary and aggressively advocate on your behalf during any court proceedings.
What Are the Requirements for a Divorce in California?
In California, you have several options for legally dissolving a marriage, each of which has its own specific requirements and procedures. Divorce is the most common method for terminating a marriage, returning your marital status to single, and allowing you to remarry in the future. To obtain a divorce, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for the prior six months and lived in the county where you are planning to submit a divorce petition for the prior three months. If you draft a written agreement with your spouse that addresses the important issues in the divorce, you can file this agreement with your divorce petition; your divorce is deemed uncontested. Without such an agreement, your divorce is considered contested, and the court will follow the principles of state law to make the final determinations on these issues.
In some states, couples are required to explain or describe their reasons for seeking a divorce, such as adultery, abandonment, domestic abuse, or other forms of unreasonable behavior. In contrast, California is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning you are not required to provide this information or establish that your spouse was directly responsible for the failure of your marriage. Instead, you simply state that you are experiencing “irreconcilable differences” that have caused your marriage to deteriorate to a point where it cannot be saved. You can also file for divorce if your spouse becomes permanently incapacitated and unable to make decisions.
What Can I Expect in an Anaheim Divorce Case?
The divorce process in California involves the following steps:
- File Petition for Divorce
One spouse (known as the petitioner) files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (FL-100) and Summons (FL-110) with the Superior Court in the California county where either spouse has resided for the previous three months, along with a filing fee. This petition establishes the factual and legal grounds for divorce and should list all marital property and debts that must be divided. If the couple shares any children, the petitioner must also complete the Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (FL-105). The Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment (FL-311) may also be used to outline a parenting plan or visitation schedule.
- Serve the Petition
After filing the petition, the petitioner must arrange to have another person not involved in the case (such as a professional process server or county sheriff) serve the other spouse (the respondent) with copies of the petition, any other supplementary paperwork they filed, a blank FL-105 form, and a blank Response – Marriage or Domestic Partnership (FL-120) form. The respondent must fill out, sign, and file these forms with the court to show that they are willing to participate in the divorce proceedings.Then the petitioner will file a completed Proof of Service of Summons (FL-115) with the court.
- Response to Petition
When the respondent receives the divorce petition and accompanying paperwork, they have thirty days to file the Response and other required forms, serve those papers on the petitioner, and file proof service with the court. Depending on how they are served, the respondent must complete Proof of Service by Mail (FL-335) or Proof of Personal Service (FL-330) to acknowledge that they received these papers.If the respondent agrees to the terms proposed in the petition, they can simply agree to the divorce.A judge will issue an approval finalizing the divorce after six months. If the respondent refuses to return this paperwork, the case will proceed without their participation.
- Judgment or Discovery
If the respondent files a response, the petitioner will prepare a judgment with their requests for custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, and property division. This judgment typically includes the same information that was provided in the petition and is submitted to the court for approval. The divorce will become final six months and one day after the date the original paperwork was served to the respondent.
If the respondent failed to provide a response, both parties must undergo the discovery stage, where they are expected to answer questions about the case and submit information that applies to the case. If the petitioner did not include financial disclosures when serving the petitioner and/or the respondent did not do so in their response, they both have sixty days after the date of petition filing or response to serve the other spouse with the following completed financial disclosure forms:
- Declaration of Disclosure (FL-140)
- Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150) or Financial Statement (FL-155)
- Schedule of Assets and Debts (FL-142) or Property Declaration (FL-160)
Spouses may be required to attach pay stubs, tax returns, or other financial documentation along with these forms. The court may also take depositions on the spouses or other witnesses. After serving these forms, each spouse must file a Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure (FL-141) with the court.
- Order to Show Cause
If either party wants to obtain immediate court orders before the divorce becomes finalized, they can file an Order to Show Cause to outline their request. These orders could deal with child custody, temporary spousal support, no contact, or prohibiting one spouse from taking certain actions toward marital property. The court will schedule a hearing, hear testimony from both spouses on their reasons for requesting the order, and examine evidence to determine whether to issue the order.
- Settlement Conference
In most cases, the court will schedule a mandatory settlement conference in which both parties and the attorneys representing them will meet and attempt to settle the case before the trial. If the spouses can reach a full agreement, their attorneys will complete a Marital Settlement Agreement and a judgment, and the divorce becomes final six months after the respondent was served with the petition. If they cannot reach a full agreement, the case will move forward to trial. Even if a couple cannot resolve all contested issues, they can settle some of them during this conference to streamline the subsequent trial process.
At trial, each spouse’s attorney will present evidence (including witness testimony) regarding the contested issues and make arguments on behalf of their clients. The judge will review the evidence to create a court order, have both attorneys review the order, then sign it to dissolve the marriage. The divorce becomes final after the six-month waiting period.
Secure Legal Representation from DeArmey Law
If you are considering filing for divorce, or you have been served with a divorce petition by your spouse, you need experienced legal representation from an Anaheim Hills family lawyer to protect your rights and interests. At DeArmey Law, we can explain your options for dissolving your marriage, help you select the right strategy for your family, and guide you through every step of the process. With our comprehensive legal services, you can successfully negotiate even the most contentious divorce issues and reach an optimal outcome for your family. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our firm.