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The Divorce Process

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The Divorce Process in Los Angeles

Going through a divorce can be stressful, costly and emotionally challenging, especially when marital property division and child custody and visitation rights come into play. Being aware of how the divorce process works and hiring an experienced attorney to represent your rights can make the whole process easier on you and your family. If you are considering filing for divorce in Los Angeles, or if you have been served divorce papers by your spouse, don’t wait to get help. Contact Divorce Lawyers Los Angeles today at (213) 550-4600 to discuss your legal options with a knowledgeable divorce attorney.

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The decision to dissolve a marriage, whether you’ve been married for five years or 50, can be a difficult one, and the legal team at Divorce Lawyers Los Angeles strives to make the divorce process less stressful for you and your family. Our attorneys have the experience and resources necessary to handle all types of divorce cases in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, and the compassion to help you and your spouse resolve what can end up being life-changing disputes, such as those involving marital property division, spousal support, and child custody and visitation arrangements. Whether your Los Angeles divorce case requires aggressive negotiation, third-party mediation or assertive representation at trial, our lawyers will work tirelessly to protect your legal rights and help you reach a fair and timely resolution to your divorce disputes.

Who Can File for Divorce in California?

California is a no-fault divorce state, which means neither spouse has to accuse the other of misconduct in order to file for divorce. Simply put, if the marriage has broken down for any reason, either spouse can file for divorce based on “irreconcilable differences,” even if the other spouse wants to remain married. However, while any individual in California can decide to end their marriage for any reason, there are certain residency requirements associated with the actual process of filing for divorce in California. For example, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of California for at least six months before filing the divorce petition, and the individual filing the petition must have been a resident of the county in which the petition was filed for at least three months. Once the divorce petition is filed and your spouse has been served the papers, you will have to wait at least six months before the divorce is finalized.

What is the Process for Getting Divorced in California?

If you and your spouse have been married for less than five years and you don’t own real estate, have no children, and have limited assets and debts, you may qualify for a summary dissolution, which typically means you don’t have to appear before a judge. This is a much simpler process that involves you and your spouse coming to an agreement about how your property and debts will be divided and filing the agreement with the court, along with a joint divorce petition and any other necessary paperwork. If a summary dissolution doesn’t apply to your situation, the typical process for getting divorce in California looks like this:

  • One spouse files for divorce and serves the other spouse (the respondent) with papers.
  • The respondent has 30 days to file a response to the divorce petition.
  • One of the spouses may file for an Order to Show Cause hearing, during which the judge will issue temporary child custody, child support and restraining orders.
  • The spouses exchange information and documents that are relevant to the divorce proceedings (discovery), including the Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure, a form that details the spouses’ community and separate property.
  • The spouses and their attorneys discuss a settlement agreement. If a settlement is reached, a Marital Settlement Agreement contract will be drawn up and signed. If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement on all issues, the case will go to trial.
  • Once the Marital Settlement Agreement has been signed or after the trial has concluded, a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage document containing all of the court’s orders will be prepared, signed and entered into the court record. At this point, the spouses are legally divorced and free to remarry.

What to Consider When Filing for Divorce in CA

Research shows that close to 50% of all marriages end in divorce. However, filing for divorce rarely involves two people simply agreeing to go their separate ways without any division of property or debts, or any child support or spousal support disputes to consider. Whether a divorce is uncontested or contested – meaning the spouses disagree on one or more key issues – it’s rarely that easy. Because divorces typically end up being more complicated than one might think, there are certain steps you should take at the beginning of the divorce process to protect your rights, your children and your finances, the most important being enlisting the help of an experienced Los Angeles divorce lawyer.

If you are considering filing for divorce in California, or if you have been served papers by your spouse, there are a number of factors that will come into play during the course of the divorce proceedings. It is important to understand, for instance, how your shared and separate property and debts will be divided between yourself and your spouse, who will get custody of your children, and who will pay child and/or spousal support, and how much. California is one of only a handful of states that implement community property laws, which means the assets and debts spouses acquire during the course of a marriage belong equally to both of them and must be divided equally in divorce.

How an Experienced Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer Can Help

Filing for divorce can be a complicated process, especially if you and your spouse have children together or a significant amount of property or debt, and this process is often accompanied by a great deal of stress, fear, uncertainty and anger. Having a knowledgeable divorce attorney on your side can eliminate these feelings of fear and uncertainty and improve your chances of a favorable outcome in your case. In some situations, couples filing for divorce in California can work together to reach an amicable decision about the terms of their divorce, or can seek help working out their disagreements from a mediator, and avoid going to court altogether. However, even in these situations, it’s often a good idea to speak to a lawyer before you begin the divorce process, to make sure you know what to do and when, especially if your case ends up going to trial.

It’s important to note that if you have been the victim of domestic violence, you should avoid attempting to work out an agreement with your spouse on your own. Under these circumstances in particular, consulting a divorce attorney about your legal rights is your best course of action.

Free Divorce Consultation in Los Angeles

For many people, the process of getting a divorce can be complicated and confusing and the emotional and financial consequences of a divorce can be life-changing, which is why it’s so important to have a family law expert on your side throughout this process. Some spouses filing for divorce in California may feel confident enough in their legal knowledge to consider representing themselves during their divorce proceedings. However, hiring an experienced lawyer to represent your legal rights is a good idea in California divorce cases, especially if there is considerable property and assets, spousal support or child custody rights at stake. For more information about the divorce process in California, or to discuss your legal options with a knowledgeable divorce attorney, contact Divorce Lawyers Los Angeles today at (213) 550-4600.

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Divorce

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Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers

Divorce is the legal process by which a couple terminates their marriage permanently. Couples in Los Angeles can file for divorce if one of the spouses has lived in California for six months and the spouse filing the divorce has lived in the county where he or she plans to file for a minimum of three months.

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Family Law

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Los Angeles Family Law Attorney

Family law is a broad area of the law that covers a variety of complex legal issues involving domestic relationships and family matters. Divorce, child custody, spousal support, paternity and parental relocation are all matters that fall under the umbrella of family law in Los Angeles, California.

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Child Custody

Our Knowledgeable Child Custody Attorneys Will Fight for Your Rights

Los Angeles Child Custody Lawyer

When a couple gets divorced, they must make arrangements for the custody of their children, including which parent the children will live with, which parent(s) have the right to make decisions about the children’s health and welfare, and what visitation rights the other parent will have.

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Child Support

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Los Angeles Child Support

Once child custody has been established, divorced spouses in Los Angeles must reach an agreement about, or let the court decide, how much child support the noncustodial parent will be required to pay the custodial parent, for the financial benefit of the children affected by the divorce.

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High Net Worth Divorce

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Los Angeles High Net Worth Divorce Lawyers

High net worth divorces in Los Angeles can be exceptionally complicated, especially if one spouse entered into the marriage with significant assets or both spouses own substantial property that must be divided fairly in divorce. High net worth divorces require the skill and knowledge of an experienced divorce attorney.

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Domestic Violence

We Will Protect Your Rights in Domestic Violence Situations

Los Angeles Domestic Violence Attorney

Although proof of misconduct has no bearing on the court’s decision to grant a divorce in Los Angeles, California, if a spouse who suffered abuse at the hands of the other spouse can provide evidence of the domestic violence, the misconduct could have an affect on other decisions, including child support and spousal support.

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Prenuptial Agreement

Our Attorneys Will Help You Prepare or Oppose a Prenuptial Agreement

Los Angeles Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are a common practice among high net worth individuals who plan to marry or are already married. These contracts include provisions for the division of marital property in the event of a death or divorce, among other important issues, and are designed to protect the financial future of each spouse.

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Postnuptial Agreement

Our Los Angeles Lawyers Will Help You Protect Your Financial Future

Los Angeles Postnuptial Agreement

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are a common practice among high net worth individuals who plan to marry or are already married. These contracts include provisions for the division of marital property in the event of a death or divorce, among other important issues, and are designed to protect the financial future of each spouse.

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Paternity

Our Los Angeles Paternity Lawyers Will Evaluate Your Case for Free

Los Angeles Paternity Divorce Lawyers

Paternity is an important issue in divorce cases involving child support and child custody and visitation disputes. Once a child’s paternity is established, the father can make a claim for custody of the child. As the noncustodial parent, the father will also be legally obligated to provide for the child by paying child support.

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Restraining Orders

Our Experienced Lawyers Can Help You Get a Restraining Order

Los Angeles Restraining Orders Attorney

Domestic violence victims seeking divorce may request a restraining order against their abusive spouse to keep them out of their home or away from their children. A restraining order can also have an impact on the outcome of the couple’s divorce proceedings, especially if child custody or spousal support are at issue in Los Angeles, CA.

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Property Division

We Will Help You Ensure a Fair Division of Your Marital Property

Los Angeles Property Division Lawyer

In Los Angeles, California, all assets acquired by a couple during marriage belong to the spouses equally and must be divided 50-50 in divorce. This matter becomes more complicated in divorces involving high net worth couples and the division of complex property, such as investment portfolios, stock options and real estate.

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Relocation

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Los Angeles Relocation Lawyers

When one divorced parent decides to move away with their children, it can violate an existing custody or visitation agreement. Whether you are the parent planning to move or the parent wondering what a relocation will mean for your child custody and visitation rights, it helps to have a family law attorney on your side.

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Divorce and Family Law News in Los Angeles, CA

Get the latest Divorce and Family Law news in Los Angeles, CA. Our topics range from celebrity divorce news and general information on family law related matters.

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