Divorce

Divorce Attorney In Orange County

Signing Divorce Papers

Few people enter a marriage with the expectation that divorce is somewhere in their future, which is why divorce proceedings can be such an emotional ordeal for the parties involved. Whether you are contemplating initiating a divorce or your spouse has started the divorce process, speaking to an experienced divorce attorney about your case can provide comfort, clarity, and direction.

The Orange County divorce lawyers at Kaufman Steinberg, LLP represent clients in all divorce-related matters, including asset distribution, child custody, child support, alimony, and more. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation with an Orange County divorce attorney. 

Legal Requirements for Divorce in California

To legally qualify for a divorce in California, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for the past six months and in the county where you are filing for at least the past three months. There is no need for grounds for divorce. One or both parties must simply cite that there are irreconcilable differences on the divorce paperwork.

Although it may sound like divorce in California is easy, mitigating factors can rapidly complicate it. If you are planning a divorce in Orange County, CA, you should contact an experienced divorce attorney even if you do not meet residency requirements. An Orange County divorce lawyer can help you understand the family law matters that will apply to your case. Call today.

Types of Divorce

The state of California identifies four different types of divorce. Depending on the legal issues surrounding your marriage, you may have multiple options.

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No-Fault Divorce

Before the 1970s, if one of the spouses in a marriage wanted to file for a divorce, they needed to show cause. This requirement could significantly complicate family law cases, even when there were no complicating factors, like child support, custody, or alimony. With the change in the law, one spouse can now petition the court for divorce without showing cause. This is referred to as a no-fault divorce. 

While the name may imply that this is a no-hassle process, it’s important to note that no-fault divorces can still become complicated when there are significant assets, debt, child custody issues, child and/or spousal support, etc. You should still consult an Orange County divorce lawyer, even if your marriage ends without an identifiable cause. 

Uncontested Divorce 

In some cases, both spouses can reach an agreement on all aspects of the divorce — either because their divorce lawyers are able to reach an agreement or because they can work out the legal issues on their own. 

While this type of divorce is typically quick, it’s in the best interests of both parties to consult their own divorce attorney prior to filing. They may be unaware of a legal issue, or they may sign away important rights to their soon-to-be ex-spouse without realizing it. An Orange County divorce lawyer from our office can review all aspects of an uncontested divorce case and recommend modifications to the agreement. Ultimately, you’ll have the final say in whether you want to pursue those amendments.

Simplified Divorce 

A simplified divorce — also referred to as summary dissolution — means that the couples are filing jointly because of irreconcilable differences. The marriage cannot be more than five years old to file under the simplified divorce process. Additionally, the married couple’s debt cannot exceed $4,000, and their shared property cannot amount to more than $25,000. Each partner must have less than $25,000 in separate property, and neither party can pursue spousal support.

Because of all of the above conditions, many couples do not qualify for a simplified divorce under California law. Even if you are pursuing a simplified divorce and you believe you qualify, it is in your best interests to speak to a divorce attorney to ensure that you aren’t giving up a valuable legal right in the process. 

Limited Divorce 

Limited divorces are often referred to as legal separations because the marriage is not dissolved during the period that the limited divorce is in place. The couple is not supposed to remain in the same residence. The purpose of a limited divorce is to allow the couple time to resolve custody issues, division of assets and debt, and other family law issues that require time to work out. An Orange County divorce attorney from Kaufman Steinberg, LLP, can further advise you on the requirements of legal separation during the initial meeting. 

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The Typical Timeline of an Orange, CA Divorce

A divorce in California can take up to six months — longer with more complicated cases. This does not mean that there is a six-month waiting period. So long as you or your spouse meets the residency requirements, you can start the divorce process immediately. Here are the steps in a divorce case, including the potential time period for each step:

  1. Filling Out the Divorce Forms (one to two weeks) – You will need to complete the Divorce Petition – Marriage/Domestic Partnership and the Summons. If you have children in common, you will also need to fill out the Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) form. Completing the paperwork may only take a day or two, but you’ll want to give your attorney time to review them before presenting them to the family court.  
  2. File with the Court (one day) – The petitioner will present your paperwork to the Clerk of the Court and pay a filing fee of $435 to $450. 
  3. Serve the Papers (one day to one week) – The petitioning spouse will have to serve the responding spouse with the paperwork through the civil process. Depending on the availability of the respondent, this step can take a week or more. 
  4. Wait for Your Spouse’s Response (up to 30 days) – Your spouse has up to 30 days to respond to the petition. If they do not respond, your divorce lawyer can continue with the process. 
  5. Financial Disclosures (up to 60 days) – The petitioner has 60 days after filing to produce financial disclosures. The respondent has 60 days after their response to produce financial disclosures, so potentially 90+ days after they’re served.
  6. Negotiations and Decision-making (30 days or more) – If you have to decide on child visitation, support, custody, alimony, division of assets, etc., it takes place now. 
  7. Finalize Your Divorce – Your family law attorneys will deliver the final forms to the court. If everything is in order, the court ruling over divorce matters will issue a judgment. 

As you can see, this is a complex process with many variables that can delay your divorce at each step of the way. Our Orange County family law firm can help reduce the stress that’s inherent in the process.  

Factors that Can Affect a Divorce

Many people develop tunnel vision when they’re considering a divorce. However, divorce matters affect more than one party — it affects the entire family. That’s why it’s important to consider that the following factors can extend your divorce proceedings. 

Assets and Debts 

California is a community property state. What that means is that when two individuals legally marry, the assets they accumulate becomes part of the marital property. When you divorce, there must be an equitable distribution of these assets.

Child Custody 

In California, parents can have either a joint custody arrangement or sole custody. With joint custody, both parents make decisions about what’s best for the child. Sole custody means that one of the parents makes all of the decisions with regard to school, religion, healthcare, etc. In most instances, both parents are entitled to parenting time, even if one of the parents has sole custody. There are four categories of parenting time:

  • Scheduled – Both parents follow a fixed schedule. 
  • Reasonable – The parents agree to flexible visitation based on what works for each of them. 
  • Supervised – The court may determine that it’s in the best interests of the child to have an appointed supervisor present when one of the parents has parenting time sessions. 
  • No Visitation – This occurs when the parent is determined by the court to be a danger to the child. 

Divorce cases tend to go more smoothly when the parents can agree on custody and parenting time. 

Child Support 

Child support is a function of income, the number of dependent children, and the amount of time they spend with each parent. Our Orange County divorce lawyers will determine the respective incomes of both parents and present legal options concerning parenting time and costs. 

Spousal Support

Spousal support or alimony can be either temporary or long-term, depending on the individual circumstances of the case. If you believe you are entitled to spousal support, you should speak to a divorce attorney. Orange County law firm Kaufman Steinberg can provide you with guidance concerning alimony.  

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements 

The family court will have to consider any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that may be in force at the time of the divorce. If you are party to one of these agreements, bring it up during your initial consultation, where we will go over your representation options. 

If one or more of the above practice areas apply to your situation or you find yourself in a contested divorce, you should consider the legal representation of an Orange County divorce attorney. Call our Southern California law office today.

A Sad Girl With Her Parent Arguing In The Background

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in California

The following topics involve family matters that our clients are often concerned about. For answers to your specific questions or concerns, contact us at our law offices, where our divorce attorneys can provide detailed legal advice.

How much does a divorce cost?

The price for filing a divorce is $435 to $450 unless you qualify for low-income filing. However, if you have mitigating factors — children, a large amount of marital property, etc. — you must hire a family law attorney.

Does California have legal separation?

Yes, this is also referred to as a limited divorce. It allows spouses to live separately while they prepare for the dissolution of their marriage.

Is domestic violence grounds for a divorce?

In California, you don’t need to have grounds for the dissolution of a marriage. However, if you are the victim of domestic violence, our Orange County family law attorneys can assist you in getting a restraining order for your protection.

Orange County Family Law Attorneys 

The matrimonial lawyers of Kaufman Steinberg are known for getting results for our clients. We stand out among other Orange County family law firms, many of which we have faced as opposing counsel when representing our clients. If you are considering a divorce in Orange County, CA, you owe it to yourself to speak to one of our divorce attorneys. 

Call our Southern California law office to speak with an Orange County divorce attorney today!

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