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Newport Beach Divorce Lawyers

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Newport Beach Divorce Attorney

Between the changes in your life and all of the emotional turmoil, divorce is undoubtedly a traumatic experience. It may be one of the most difficult experiences that a human can endure. On top of that, there are potential issues as two people who were previously one legal unit dissolve their partnership. Needless to say, you have a lot on your plate at a time when emotions are at their rawest.

Besides the psychological burden that you may be carrying, you also have to consider the legal process. It is natural to expect that two people who no longer want to be married may have some trouble in dividing property and agreeing on custody matters. In a best-case scenario, they may settle the issue after negotiation. In a worst-case scenario, they could end up in contentious litigation. While every divorcing couple wants to find themselves in the former scenario, some end up in the latter.

There are a number of things that can get in the way of a negotiated resolution in a divorce. The major obstacle that couples face is when one or both of the spouses let emotion get in the way. However, keeping emotion out of things is easier said than done. After all, circumstances have led to a divorce, and it is human instinct to be emotional. Nonetheless, when things get out of hand, it could harm children in the picture and lead to an unmanageable situation.

This is why you need a divorce lawyer on your side. While many people think that hiring a lawyer is a surefire way to have a litigious divorce, it is actually how you can resolve your divorce in an efficient manner whenever possible and have a better chance at reaching an equitable agreement that protects your own legal interests.

Why You Should Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Here are some of the benefits of hiring a divorce lawyer for your case:
The best time to hire an attorney is early in the divorce process before you begin to make any decisions. This is where a lawyer could be the most effective as many of the choices that you make early in the divorce process could dictate what happens afterward. It is a known fact that many people may make their most ill-advised decisions when their emotions are the rawest.

There are two main areas that couples could disagree over in a divorce - custody and finances.

Child Custody

Any divorce with children presents some complicated issues. What makes it even more challenging is that a court will not issue its decision based on what is best for you. Instead, a judge will consider only the best interests of the children, as required by California law. Here are some of the child custody issues that you may need to negotiate with your children’s other parent:

When dealing with custody, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, the court has a presumption that children should have a relationship and spend time with both parents. Second, every single decision will be made by the court using the best interests of the child test. This means that the judge would consider a number of factors that weigh what works best for the child’s well-being.

Financial Concerns

In many cases, arguments about money were a factor that led to the divorce. Things do not get easier when the couple is trying to negotiate a divorce agreement. Here are some of the financial issues that could come into play in a divorce:
  • Bank accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Pensions
  • Retirement accounts
  • Debts incurred during the marriage
  • Real property
  • Personal property
  • Business interests
One of the most contentious issues during any divorce is who gets to remain in the family home. Usually, but not always, it is the spouse with physical custody of the children who will stay. When there are no children, this can be a very contentious issue.

When it comes to the division of assets, California is a community property state. This means that anything acquired during the marriage is presumed to be a part of the community estate and is owned equally by the spouses. You would think that this is a “clean” rule that leads to an even division, but this raises many legal issues in the divorce that need to be considered. For example, a house cannot simply be divided down the middle, so determining an equal divide can be challenging in some situations.

Should I Settle or Litigate?

An overwhelming majority of divorce cases will end up with a signed marital settlement agreement between the parties. The reality is that very few divorce cases will end up in court at a hearing. However, this does not mean that a divorce trial is out of the question.

Being able to settle your divorce depends on the actions of both of the spouses during divorce negotiations. Obviously, the best result on many fronts is to reach a settlement and stay out of court. Divorce trials are bitter and expensive. They could lead to hard feelings that never really go away, which is a bad thing when there are children in the picture.

The answer is that you should always try to settle your case. However, we recognize that it is not always possible. It takes two to settle, and sometimes the other spouse may not be reasonable in negotiations or has an axe to grind. When that happens, you need a tough litigation attorney to fight for your legal interests in court.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

While we have mentioned settlement or litigation as your choices, there are several steps in between them that you could use to try to resolve your divorce issues out of court. Some difficult divorces can be resolved through a variety of alternative dispute resolution processes. They include:

Couples will attend one or more sessions with a trained mediator who can help them bridge some of the gaps in their positions. The mediator is a neutral party who is not a judge and does not have the power to rule, but they help the parties talk things through and resolve contentious issues. This is a great tool that has helped many couples settle their divorce without litigation.
This is more formal than mediation, and the person presiding does have some power to issue a ruling that could bind the divorcing spouses. Here, the couple may take an issue or two that they cannot agree on to an arbitrator and have a proceeding that results in the arbitrator’s decision. This is more like being in court, but it is not a formal trial.
Collaborative Divorce
This is a broad term used to describe a number of different divorce resolutions that keep a couple out of court. The name is close to what it implies; the couple works together to reach a divorce resolution. Usually, this would involve meeting with you and your attorney sitting down with your spouse and their attorney to negotiate a settlement.

Overview of the California Divorce Process

In California, the law is that there is a mandatory six-month waiting period from the time that the divorce action is filed in court until the time that the court grants the divorce. The divorce process starts at the time that the paperwork is filed in court. Here are the steps of the divorce process in California. While we will include the steps in the court proceedings, the parties can always settle the case on their own without the trial.
You begin the divorce process by filing the Form FL-100 with the court. This is petitioning the court for a legal separation or divorce.
It is not enough to file the papers with the court. The other spouse needs to be legally served with the divorce papers. You can either give them the papers personally or send them through certified mail with notice of receipt.
The party who was served cannot stop the divorce. In California, it is a no-fault state, and one can request a divorce even if their spouse does not want it. Nonetheless, the party who was served can file a Form FL-120 to give the court their response, which could include their side of the story.
Temporary Orders

Since the case must take at least six months, there are a number of issues, such as interim custody arrangements and child support, that may need temporary solutions before the divorce is final.

Exchange of Information
Each side must make financial disclosure to the other, letting them know of their financial situation. This includes information about income, assets, and debts.
The parties can request information from each other during the process. This usually occurs when one spouse needs more information about finances. It could even include in-person depositions.
If you and your spouse cannot reach a settlement, the court will schedule a hearing in front of the judge. This could be a complex matter that involves witnesses and other evidence, and it will be a formal proceeding in a courtroom. At some point after the trial, the judge will issue a divorce order which will include their ruling about the issues. This will make the divorce final.

Contact a Newport Beach
Divorce Attorney

At Camaur Crampton Family Law, our Newport Beach divorce attorneys can help you through your divorce manner in a compassionate and understanding way. We recognize the strains that you are under during a divorce. Our legal advice will be tailored to your exact situation, and we are committed to helping you achieve the best possible legal outcome.

At the same time, we are top-notch litigators who will fight for you if your divorce does reach that stage. Our attorneys have decades of family law experience in Newport Beach. Call us today at (949) 234-8280 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation for your family law matter.