Guiding Families Through Life’s Legal Journeys

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Family Law Attorney Orange County

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One the most respected Family Law firms in California

A family law matter can dominate all aspects of your life. Whether it’s a spouse that recognizes that their marriage must end, a parent who has not been able to see their child regularly, or a parent who is struggling financially because they’re receiving inadequate child support from the other parent, the Orange County family lawyers at Kaufman Steinberg, LLP can review your legal issues and find a solution for you.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in Orange County, CA

Contested Divorce

A “contested” divorce in Orange County happens when you and your spouse cannot agree on certain disputes or key aspects of your divorce. These can be matters concerning community property, spousal support, or decisions about your children. In a contested divorce, your spouse must file a “Response” to your divorce “Petition,” indicating where they differ from you on these issues. The next step would be for one of you to request a hearing or a trial date so that a judge can listen to both sides and devise a resolution.

Residency Rules in California

When filing for divorce in California, you usually have to file in the county where you live. However, there are specific residency rules you need to follow. To file for divorce in the state, you must have been living here for at least six months, and in the county where you plan to file for at least three months. If you and your spouse live in different counties, you can file in either county.

A notable exception to the residency rules include is if you do not meet the residency requirements for a divorce, you can still file for a legal separation. This allows you to get legal counsel to address some of the same issues as a divorce, such as property division and child custody, without actually ending your marriage. An action for legal separation can be amended to petition the court for dissolution of marriage when the residency requirement is met.

To learn more, contact our Orange County family lawyers at Kaufman Steinberg, LLP for a complimentary consultation.

No-Fault Divorce State

In California, the divorce process is based on a no-fault system. This means when you file for divorce, you don’t need to prove that your spouse did something to cause the breakdown of the marriage. Instead, you can simply cite “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the divorce. That said, fault can still be considered when the court makes decisions about other issues related to the divorce, such as child custody or alimony. With our full legal team of dedicated Orange County divorce lawyers on your side, you can expect to achieve the best outcomes through negotiation or litigation.

Mandatory Waiting Period

There is a mandatory waiting period of six months after filing for divorce in California. Even if every family law matter is settled and agreed upon, the divorce cannot be finalized until six months have passed since the filing date. Keep in mind that this six-month waiting period is the absolute minimum amount of time – some cases can take several more months, if not years, to complete. At Kaufman Steinberg, LLP, our divorce lawyers in Orange County are committed to helping and guiding you every step of the way throughout the divorce process.

Grounds for Dissolution of Marriage

According to the California Family Code Section 2310, you need to mention the grounds for ending your marriage in your petition. More often than not, people choose “irreconcilable differences” as their grounds for divorce. This simply means that you and your spouse cannot get along anymore, which has led to the “irremediable breakdown of the marriage”.

Another legal ground, though less common, is “incurable insanity”. The Family Code Section 2312 states you can only use this ground if you can prove that your spouse is of unsound mind and incapable of making decisions.

Legal Separation in California

A legal separation in Orange County, CA is a court order stating that you and your spouse live apart and agree to live separate lives. You get to set up financial boundaries, similar to a divorce, but without making the split final until the court enters a final judgment. You can determine financial boundaries regarding community assets and debts and work out the details of child custody and support without the finality of divorce. It’s important to note that with a legal separation, you are still married in the eyes of the law and, thus, can’t remarry unless you get a divorce.

Annulment in California

An annulment in Orange County, CA, means declaring that the marriage was never legally valid. A judge, through a court order, essentially states, “This marriage should not have happened in the first place.” It’s like the marriage never existed because it wasn’t legal to begin with. You might be granted an annulment in situations such as:

  • One or both partners were under 18 when the marriage took place, so the marriage was not legal
  • One spouse was already married to someone else – a situation known as bigamy
  • One spouse was forced or tricked into the marriage
  • One spouse is incapable of consummating the marriage

California Community Property Laws

California follows the “community property” rule regarding property division during a divorce. Anything you or your spouse gained during your marriage, whether it’s a house, a car, or even debts, is considered community property, with a few exceptions for inherited property or property given to one spouse. This means it belongs to both of you equally. In a divorce, California Family Code Section 2550 states that all community property must be divided 50/50 unless both parties decide on a different arrangement. Considering the high financial stakes involved, you should have our leading Orange County property division lawyers on your side to protect your best interests.

Child Custody and Visitation in Orange County

Child Custody

In California, child custody is categorized into two types:

  • Legal custody: This refers to the right and responsibility to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and religious instruction.
  • Physical custody: This refers to whom the child lives with.

Parents can share these custodies, known as joint custody, or one parent can hold these custodies, known as sole custody. If both parents agree on joint legal custody in a family law case, California law (Cal. Fam. Code § 3080) presumes that such an arrangement is in the child’s best interest.

Child Support in Orange County

Child support is money a parent pays to help cover the costs of raising their child. By California law, both parents must contribute financially to their child’s upbringing. These payments generally continue until the child turns 18. If the child is still in high school and unmarried, the payments might continue until they are 19. In some unique family law cases, the court might ask a parent to pay child support even after the child becomes an adult.

Spousal Support in Orange County

Spousal support, or alimony, is a legal way for one spouse or domestic partner to help the other with their monthly bills. In California, it’s called spousal support when it involves married couples and domestic partner support when it’s between domestic partners. It comes in two forms:

  • Temporary spousal support: This is like a financial helping hand given to a spouse while the divorce or separation case is ongoing. The family court system allows you to request temporary spousal support as soon as the divorce is filed.
  • Long-term spousal support: This is support that’s setup once everything is finalized, like when the Judgment is issued by the court. Even though it’s sometimes called “permanent”, it doesn’t always mean forever. Courts typically reserve the power to modify permanent support orders, and in most cases, spousal support ends when either party dies, or the spouse receiving support remarries.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from our clients and family members. For specific answers to your questions, call to speak to one of our Orange County family law lawyers.

When two people are married in California, for all intents and purposes, they become one legal entity. Property acquired by either spouse during the marriage may be considered community property, and debts incurred during marriage are community as well. If you decide to divorce in California, those assets and debts will be equally divided. That’s not to say that everything will have to be sold, and each spouse gets half of the proceeds.

Our Orange County family law attorney can negotiate with the other party’s attorneys until a fair solution is reached. For instance, one spouse may be able to keep all of the shares in a business by agreeing to allow the other to have a house or other assets in exchange.

While California law does allow sole custody, it’s by no means automatic. In general, both parents have rights to physically see their child, make decisions in the child’s life, and to spend time with the child. If the child’s other parent is unfit or irresponsible, it may be possible to get sole physical custody in which case the child would live with you.

It may also be possible to win sole legal custody, which means you’re responsible for making important decisions for your child, such as medical, educational, and religious decisions. Our team of Orange County child custody lawyers can provide you strong legal representation to protect your rights and your child’s best interests.

Under California law, if you have the custody of your minor child or children and the other co-parent has had an improvement in financial circumstances, you may be entitled to more child support from them. This also applies if you have ended up caring for your child for more time than was originally agreed upon. Our child support lawyers in Orange County can petition the courts to increase the amount of support you’re receiving.

This works both ways, however. If you are receiving child support but received a significant raise or have custody of your children for fewer days than anticipated, the other co-parent can file for a reduction in the support they’re paying.

Testimonials

What Our Clients Are Saying

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“Steve Kaufman, and the staff in his firm, are absolutely wonderful! Steve is extraordinarily knowledgeable and competent and he, and his entire firm, will champion your case just like it involved their own family. Steve will ensure you get your chance to demonstrate to the court why you are absolutely integral in shaping the future of your family. Steve will give it to you straight and will not play games with you. Steve is not intimidated by anything, nor anyone, and will ease the anxiety you feel about this process! I feel lucky to have found Steve and even luckier to have had him represent me!”

Randy
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“Yes, we are so relieved. A huge burden has been lifted from me. Jordon was able to articulate what was in the best interest of the kids. He was an absolute stud.”

Matthew
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“Getting a divorce is never easy, but Jordon was so compassionate and forthcoming on what to expect, and how things were going to go. Not one time did I have a problem getting information from him or hearing back from him. I highly recommend him!”

Jody
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“I strongly recommend Jordon Steinberg. Professional and fair. Very diligent staff. Was very responsive and was able to assist me in matters even on weekends and holidays. Truly one of the best. We accomplished and achieved even more than I had imagined. Very concerned about family and finding a solution best for children if involved. I feel so lucky to have had him represent me.”

Alexa
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“Jordon Steinberg is a man of the highest integrity who’s work ethic and professionalism is impeccable. His ability to be empathetic and instill compassion during a time of total despair, was the force that gave me strength and hope. My first contact with Jordon was in 2008 and my first impressions of him were: honest, non-judgmental, sincere. At no time did I feel pressure or uncomfortable and in 2014 when I was ready to proceed, Jordon was the one I contacted. Jordon and his team provided me with the legal guidance and support I needed to persevere and move forward during an extremely difficult time. His knowledge of family law surpasses all others and his support staff is stellar. They played an integral part in keeping the lines of communication open at all times, no matter what. Jordon’s patience and caring demeanor are what guided me through the steps and process of divorce and was the glue that held me together. I could not and would not be where I am today without Jordon. I have no words for someone who believed in me when nobody else would. I will be forever grateful.”

Cyndi
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“Jordon is a great attorney. He always works hard to find the best solutions for his clients and keeps in mind the impact to the children involved. He knows the law well and also consults with you on the possible outcomes and risks involved. He has great negotiation talents and strong tactful skills in court. I highly recommend him.”

John
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“Jordon is the finest family law attorney and conveys strong ethical values. His compassion, integrity and professionalism shows through his capability to converse and achieve what is in the best interest of his clients. With the extensive knowledge of family law and a very influential attorney, a person can depend on with the utmost confidence in going through a difficult situation such as divorce. Jordon is an exceptional attorney and extremely recommended for anyone in search of a family law specialist. I have and continue to refer Jordon to friends and co-worker without hesitation.”

Virginia
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“Stephen helped with a case my ex wife brought to OCCS after 30 years falsely claiming I owed back child support. He was very thorough and explained everything to us on our level. His presentation in court with all of the facts and his knowledge I believe helped make a quick decision by the court in our favor.”

Dan
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“I am extremely grateful to Mr. Kaufman for his guidance, support and generosity in helping me achieve the best outcome in my child custody case. Mr. Kaufman was able to see through and understand issues at many levels and offered me good advice well beyond just legal aspects of the situation. Mr. Kaufman is very hardworking, a strength I can truly appreciate. I highly recommend Attorney Kaufman and I am sure he will do an excellent job for you!!! Thank you Mr. Kaufman for the amazing job you did for me and my daughter.”

Connie
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“My name is Randy K. Jones, I’ve worked with Mr. Kaufman and his his highly professional staff for nearly ten years. I’ve used four different Attorney’s in my Family law case in Orange County, Ca. and found his honesty and level of ethics to be unmatched. As a person, I would be proud to have him as a friend, which I could not say of any other Attorney that I’ve met. I have nothing but great and kind words to express my thoughts and gratitude for Mr. Kaufman.”

Randy
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“My divorce took over two years and Stephen was there with his support, recommendations and knowledge. His ethical approach and direct manner assured and confirmed my decisions. Rather than make decisions for me, he informed me of all possible consequences and listened respectfully to my decisions. I recommend Mr. Kaufman as a fair, responsible, and competent attorney.”

Ellen
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“When I hired Stephen Jay Kaufman to be my attorney back in 2005 I knew that he is an excellent attorney but I didn’t know that he is a true Mensch! Steve was fighting for my rights and was very dedicated to my case. He was very responsive to every question I had and always kept me informed. Steve really cared for the best interest of my kids and always gave me the best advise. I highly recommend using his services!”

Iris

Put Your Family First

Trust Our Experienced Family Law Attorney in Orange County

Contact Kaufman Steinberg Today

Contact Kaufman Steinberg today

Contact Kaufman Steinberg Today

At Kaufman Steinberg LLP, ae leading family law firm in Orange County, we know how emotionally draining family law matters can be. We provide dedicated legal advice and personal attention to help you find a resolution and protect your rights under the law. Our tenacious yet compassionate Orange County family law attorneys can guide you through a wide range of your family law issues and matters, including:

  • Contested or uncontested divorce
  • Legal separation
  • High net worth divorce
  • Spousal support
  • Property division
  • Debt division
  • Parentage
  • Child support, custody, and visitation
  • Prenuptial and Postnuptial agreements
  • Post-divorce order modifications
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