Contested Divorce

Contested Divorce Attorney Orange County

A divorce can cause major disruptions in the life of everyone involved. It is common for couples to not agree on several matters related to their divorce. In many cases, a judge has to make the final decision on matters such as spousal support and child custody. Please continue reading to learn more about contested divorce in Orange County, California, and the benefits of choosing an Orange County family law attorney from Kaufman Steinberg for your case.

What Is A Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce is when there is a disagreement between the divorcing couple on matters directly related to the divorce that need to be settled in court. Typically, a contested divorce process can take several months to conclude, depending on how long it takes for the divorcing couple to reach an agreement or for the judge to issue a verdict.

Experienced attorneys may suggest options such as mediation so their client can reevaluate their demands and find a solution that works best for both parties. If the couples cannot reach an agreement, they might seek litigation. Most people hire attorneys to handle their divorce case, but they can represent themselves in court.

Other Types Of Divorce And Separation

There are other types of divorces and separations. There is an uncontested divorce, where there is no dispute, and the divorcing couple resolves matters, such as the distribution of financial assets and child visitation, without needing to litigate.

If the marriage happened due to fraud or misrepresentation from one party, the other party could seek to get an annulment. An annulment is a court ruling that a marriage is invalid or void. If the couple is only involved in a domestic partnership, then they do not have to undergo the legal divorce process; instead, they require a court judgment, such as a dissolution of the domestic partnership, to terminate the personal relationship. The dissolution of a domestic partnership can take more than a year, depending on the specifics of the case.

Reasons Why You May Need A Divorce Attorney

Division Of Property And Debt

There are two categories of marital property – separate and community. Separate property refers to any property you or your spouse owned before marriage. Community property refers to property acquired while you are married. Any inheritance or gifts received by one spouse is also considered separate property. Separate properties will not be divided by the court, but can be used as a source of funds for child support or spousal maintenance. Community property is considered marital assets and can be divided by court in a contested divorce.

The default rule is to split the marital assets 50/50 unless there is financial marital misconduct. In cases of financial misconduct of community property, the court can evaluate the evidence, which can delay the case. In most states across the U.S, courts apply an equitable property division system which leaves both sides with a fair amount of marital assets and debts. However, many factors can be considered when dividing community property and marital debts for contested divorce cases. This includes the duration of the marriage, income of each spouse, loss of benefits, financial condition, child custody, and financial misconduct.

Child Support

The divorce is not finalized until the child support issue is resolved. Lawyers often suggest mediation or arbitration to expedite the process for parents who cannot resolve the issue. If the divorcing couple fails to reach a decision, they take the issue to court, where a judge can hear both sides of the story and render a judgment.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, also called alimony, is a court order through which a person is required to provide maintenance (financial support) for their spouse after the divorce. Alimony can be permanent or temporary.

When the alimony becomes a contested matter between the divorcing couple, they can pursue litigation. To provide a fair judgment on alimony, the judge reviews the financial situation of each spouse and the length of the marriage. The whole process can take a few months to years until the alimony or spousal support issue is resolved.

Custody And Visitation Rights

Visitation and custody of children is a major issue in contested divorces and is also a source of major delay in reaching a settlement or getting a verdict. In contested divorces, the court considers the child’s best interests in deciding matters related to visitation and custody. The court can also order a child custody investigation focused on evaluating the parenting skills and environment offered by each parent. After the investigation report is submitted to the court, the judge can order a custody arrangement or parenting plan for the child.

What To Expect In Your Contested Divorce Case

When a divorce becomes contested, each spouse can hire a divorce attorney to complete the legal proceedings. In some states, if you legally send your spouse the divorce papers and they fail to respond within 30 days, the courts give a default decision in your favor.
If you and your spouse reach a mutual decision with the help of your attorneys, the court can review the decision and finalize the divorce. If the matters cannot be resolved before the trial begins, each dispute between the divorcing couple is reviewed and investigated by the court to provide a fair judgment. Hiring a contested divorce attorney can help you expedite the process and make it less stressful for you and your family.

How Long Does A Contested Divorce Take In California?

The duration of the contested divorce depends on the nature of the disputes between spouses and the court order to investigate both sides of the story. A contested divorce can take a few months to a year to finalize, considering the date when a person initializes the divorce to the date the judge signs the judgment of dissolution. Having a qualified divorce attorney from Kaufman Steinberg by your side can minimize the chances of a prolonged divorce.

How Can An Orange County Divorce Lawyer Help?

An experienced divorce attorney from Kaufman Steinberg in Orange County who is well versed in contested and uncontested divorces can provide the help you need. We can guide you on the best court of legal action for your case, including mediation. If the issues are irreconcilable and no mutual decision is reached by the divorcing couple, having an attorney from Kaufman Steinberg on your side can help you meet your demands.
“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”

– Richard Bach
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