Orange County Family Law 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.
Orange County Divorce Lawyers
Going through a divorce is stressful. Even if the separation is amicable, there is an endless list of considerations for couples who are parting ways. From logistics such as division of money and assets to emotional decisions such as child custody and selling your home, divorce is difficult no matter how you look at it. One of the best things you can do to ensure that your divorce is as smooth as possible is to hire an experienced divorce lawyer. Having strong legal representation ensures that you have someone in your corner who understands the proper procedure to follow when filing for and gaining a divorce. Having an attorney also ensures that you receive a fair settlement and that you are not left without proper resources. Though you may assume that your ex-spouse will behave rationally, the truth is that many people often behave out of character during times of stress. In these situations, having a neutral third party oversee the process gives you a significant advantage.
The Divorce Process
Usually, when couples go through a divorce, it is their first time doing so. This means that for many of our clients, the process of divorcing a spouse is foreign. Not knowing what to expect is often a significant source of stress, on top of everything else that is changing. Many people have seen divorce depicted in television shows or have watched courtroom dramas and believe that their divorce will be the same.
It is important to remember that most of these depictions are dramatized, and divorce is not as flashy in real life. In any case, knowing how divorce really works is helpful when beginning the process. Though every divorce is different, and several factors affect the proceedings, in general, divorce can be broken down into three distinct phases.
- Serving a divorce petition. During this step, one spouse works with an attorney to create a divorce petition, which is then delivered to the other spouse. If the divorce is mutual and both parties are cooperative, the delivery is straightforward, and the receiving spouse needs only to sign an acknowledgement that they’ve received the papers. However, if the receiving spouse is not cooperative or cannot be located, a professional may have to get involved to deliver the petition.
- Petition response. In the second step, the receiving spouse, known as the respondent, can formally respond, saying that they agree to the divorce. If this is done, a court hearing can be avoided. However, if the respondent does not respond within 30 days, the divorce may have to be taken to court.
- Final steps. In this phase, assets are calculated, and a contract is created for the terms of the divorce. If both agree, this process can go quickly. If not, the terms may need to be discussed in court, which can take a while.
Knowing the general steps of the divorce process helps many people feel more comfortable about what is going to happen, and they may even be able to discuss the steps with their spouse to ensure that both parties are in agreement about cooperation and the timeline.
Do I Really Need an Orange County Divorce Attorney?
You may have heard about couples who get divorced without legal representation. While it certainly can be done, it is not recommended. Many people believe that their divorce will be smooth and amicable, but things become more complicated when the process begins. It may be cliche to say, but divorce proceedings bring out the worst in people. To avoid unpleasantness, confusion over paperwork, and legal roadblocks, it is highly recommended that you hire an experienced Orange County divorce lawyer.
Serving Divorce Papers
If you are on the serving end of your divorce papers, you are in charge of developing your divorce terms. This includes things like child support, child custody, and property division. These terms are all best developed with an attorney on hand. This ensures that you cover everything, protect yourself from legal loopholes, and properly create the paperwork. If your spouse agrees to all your terms, a simple signature is needed. This, however, is unlikely.
Receiving Divorce Papers
If you are on the receiving end of divorce papers, your options are largely the same. Please keep in mind that it’s unlikely that you will completely agree with all the terms set forth by your spouse. However, if you are totally in agreement, you are free to sign them, and the process begins. If you wish to contest the terms or change them in any way, it’s best to seek the help of an Orange County divorce attorney.
Mediation As a Divorce Option
Each divorce situation is different, and not all divorces can go through mediation. However, there are cases in which mediation is a viable option to replace litigation. When possible, mediation certainly has its perks. This route is significantly more affordable, and therefore more accessible for many couples. However, for mediation to work, the divorce needs to be relatively amicable, and both parties need to be open to the mediation process. Unfortunately, in many cases, one party seeks mediation to bully the other party in the divorce. This is especially true when there is inequality in income or assets between the two divorcing. Mediation works best only when there is significant mutual respect, and the two parties’ financial situations are relatively equal.
Negotiating Child Custody During a Divorce
One of the most sensitive parts of divorce proceedings is making decisions about your children’s future custody. No parents want their divorce to hurt their children, and in most cases, both parents wish to continue a relationship with their children. There are many factors at play when custody is negotiated. Finances, housing, and past relationships with the children will all be examined. However, the bottom line is always what is best for the child regarding custody decisions. In these situations, litigation is necessary. Without a formal legal process, any child custody decisions cannot be legally enforced.
Negotiating Child Support During a Divorce
In some cases, child support comes into play during a divorce. In these situations, an attorney is required to help you negotiate a proper payment amount and schedule. As with child custody, the purpose of child support is to ensure the best possible situation for the children involved. If it has been decided that the children primarily live with you, or if your ex-spouse makes significantly more money than you do, it’s likely that child support payments will be justified. However, the only way to legally enforce these agreements is to create and sign them through the proper legal channels. If you choose to create a payment agreement on your own and your child’s other parent does not hold up their end of that agreement, nothing can be legally done to make them pay.
Property Division During a Divorce
Property division can be an emotional aspect of the divorce process. As you navigate your changing family structure, it can be difficult to imagine having to uproot your home as well. In some cases, the home has been in the family for years and has significant sentimental value. When you move to negotiate property division, your attorney must understand your feelings about your home. In some cases, the home is sold, and the profits are divided between the divorced couple. In other situations, one spouse is allowed to keep their home as part of the asset settlement. Having an attorney who understands the emotional aspect of housing can help you reach the desired outcome while remaining sensitive to your needs.
Business Valuation During a Divorce
In cases where a couple owns a business together, divorce feels extra complicated. While some couples may continue owning or running the business side by side, others would rather go their separate ways personally and professionally. Depending on your situation, there are many options for divorcing couples who own businesses. At the root, your solution will depend on whether your business operates as community property or separate property. To learn more about what DeArmey Law can do for divorce business valuations, contact us.
Spousal Support After a Divorce
In some divorce situations, there is a significant difference in income between the individuals. There are many reasons for this, including educational background, upbringing, and field of work. In other cases, one spouse forwent working to raise children and keep the house while the other spouse went to work; many at-home parents find it difficult to find work after years of staying home, no matter their industry. In all these situations, divorce leaves one party in financial insecurity after the divorce. When this happens, it’s entirely possible to request spousal support if you relied heavily on your ex-spouse’s income. Though divorce may change many things, it should not change your ability to support yourself and your children. To learn more about spousal support and what DeArmey Law can do to help you receive the support you deserve, get in touch with us.
Seeking a divorce when one or both members of the marriage are enlisted in the military is a bit more complicated than divorces between civilians. Because your family likely relies on the military for housing, dividing assets is not straightforward. Military pension also comes into play during these proceedings and can complicate matters further. At DeArmey Law, we have experience with military divorce law and can provide expertise in your specific circumstances during your divorce process.
Marriage between couples of all genders has been legal since 2015; therefore, divorce between couples of all genders has been legal since then too. Many people wonder whether there is a difference in approach when seeking a same-sex divorce than when seeking a divorce as a heterosexual couple. The short answer is no; there is no difference. However, laws are less clear about divorce between same-sex couples when there are children involved. The details of child custody and child support agreements may take more time to establish in these situations, depending on legal parentage status. In general, however, gender does not have a significant bearing on divorce proceedings, and the process is generally the same.
Finding the Right Orange County Divorce Lawyer
Seeking a divorce attorney who is experienced and who understands your situation is vital to making your divorce go smoothly. Because this is an emotional and stressful time for you and your family, you want someone experienced and compassionate, patient, and kind. Your lawyer should be someone with whom you can talk openly with and who you feel understands you well. Though your attorney is walking you through a process that is unknown to you, it is important to understand that you are hiring your attorney, not the other way around. It’s in your best interest to be discerning and to ask questions before beginning work. It’s okay to shop around to find the right fit for this position.
Questions to Ask Orange County Divorce Lawyers
As you interview potential lawyers to represent you during your divorce proceedings, it may help ask some specific questions. These questions will give you a good gauge of where the attorney stands with your case and how they may handle it. These questions include, but are not limited to:
- How long have you been practicing divorce law? Attorneys have experience in different areas of law. Even if you connect with an attorney, it’s important to make sure that they have significant experience in divorce law specifically. Divorce law has its own set of rules, and hiring a lawyer who is unfamiliar with the subject only puts you at a disadvantage.
- Have you participated in a case like mine before? Whether your case is fairly standard or includes more complicated aspects, ask any potential attorneys if they’ve had a client like you before. They will not be able to disclose details, but this question will give you a good indication of how much confidence and practice the attorney has in dealing with cases similar to your own.
- What is your current impression of my case, and how do you believe it will play out? It’s always good to get your Orange County attorney’s straightforward first impression of your situation. If it feels like they are not confident in your case, or if they feel that it may end badly, keep searching. You deserve an Orange County lawyer who believes in you and your case.
- How many cases do you handle at once? Most Orange County attorneys work on several cases at once, so it is common for there to be other clients in your attorney’s waiting room. However, if they have more than a handful of active cases at one time, you likely won’t get the attention and care that you deserve.
If specific aspects of your divorce worry you or you believe these aspects may be new to your attorney, it’s best to ask questions before deciding to commit. Finding the right representation is half of the battle of a divorce. Make sure you choose wisely.
Does My Divorce Attorney’s Gender Matter?
Though it shouldn’t necessarily be the case, we often see clients gravitate toward divorce attorneys of their same gender. For many people, having gender in common with their attorney puts them more at ease and allows them to speak freely about sensitive issues. If this is something that helps you be truthful with your attorney, expertise and compassion are the two largest attorney traits that will affect your case. Don’t let gender sway you toward an attorney who will not be able to fight for you adequately in court.
A Tailored Approach
At DeArmey Law, we believe in an individualized approach to all our divorce cases. No two families are the same, and there is no reason that you should receive standard, cookie-cutter legal counsel during your divorce proceedings. Our lawyers tailor our advice and service to meet your unique needs, and never forget that each case is different. Though we have extensive experience in this area, we know that you do not. For this reason, we treat every individual with care and compassion, and we are happy to explain as much or as little as you’d like us to. We want you to receive exceptional legal counsel as our client, but more than that, we want you to receive exceptional legal counsel because you are a human being. We believe in the individuality and humanity of each of our clients and strive to rise to the honor of representing you during your divorce. We have over 40 years of experience serving Orange County and are confident in our understanding of specific local and state laws surrounding divorce. We are best able to serve our community because we have been a part of the community for decades.
Contact Your DeArmey Divorce Attorney Today
For the best Orange County Family Law Attorney, contact DeArmey law. Our personalized approach sets us apart and allows us to give each of our clients the very best chance at beginning a happy and healthy new life. Call us today.