Divorce Lawyers in Los Angeles
The dissolution of a family & marriage can be one of the most stressful and emotional experiences of your lifetime. Even in amicable separations, discussions about child custody and how to split certain assets can quickly turn contentious. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
At the Sands Law Group APLC, our experienced, compassionate divorce attorneys Los Angeles help clients navigate this difficult process in the quickest, most painless, and most economical way possible. We offer exceptional legal representation, affordable fees, and a multi-lingual staff who can provide legal services in five languages: French, Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, and English.
Contact The Sands Law Group APLC or call us at 213-788-4412 today for a confidential consultation about your case.
The Divorce Process
In California, the process for divorce or legal separation begins with the filing of a seemingly-endless array of forms. This is particularly true if your divorce involves child custody orders and the division of property. Although you can obtain a divorce without the help of a lawyer, do-it-yourself divorces often end up costing more, in terms of money, time, and stress.
What is a Contested Vs. Uncontested Divorce?
When getting a divorce in Los Angeles, couples may opt for either a contested or uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is the best choice if both parties are in mutual agreement and have resolved crucial matters such as child custody and support, spousal support, and property division. Although there may still be issues to address, an uncontested divorce means that the spouses have largely come to a consensus on the major matters and would rather have a lawyer assist them through the process than risk a chaotic court dispute.
Opting for an uncontested divorce can be less costly and time-consuming while also granting both parties more control over the ultimate resolution. Given these advantages, many couples prefer to begin with an uncontested divorce. However, circumstances may arise that require a shift to a contested divorce during the process, further emphasizing the significance of having a skilled Los Angeles divorce attorney available from the beginning.
What is the Difference Between Divorce and marriage Dissolution?
In California, the terms “divorce” and “marriage dissolution” are often used interchangeably, as they both refer to the legal process of ending a marriage. However, from a legal standpoint, there is no substantial difference between the two terms. Both divorce and marriage dissolution refer to the same process of legally terminating a marriage in California.
Under California law, the process of divorce or marriage dissolution involves several key steps:
- Filing the Petition: The process begins by filing a petition with the court. The party initiating the process is referred to as the petitioner, while the other party is known as the respondent. The petitioner files the necessary documents, which outline the grounds for divorce or marriage dissolution and the requested relief, such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division.
- Legal Requirements: California is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that neither party is required to prove wrongdoing or fault to obtain a divorce. The grounds for divorce or marriage dissolution are simply irreconcilable differences, meaning that there has been an irremediable breakdown of the marital relationship. The court does not consider fault when dividing property or determining spousal support.
- Division of Assets and Debts: California follows the community property principle, which generally means that marital assets and debts are divided equally between the spouses. However, the court has the discretion to deviate from a 50/50 split based on factors such as the financial circumstances of each party, the length of the marriage, and contributions to the acquisition and maintenance of assets.
- Child Custody and Support: In cases involving children, the court prioritizes the best interests of the child when determining custody and visitation arrangements. Child support is also calculated based on state guidelines, taking into account factors such as income and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.
It is important to note that the information provided here is based on general principles of California family law and may not encompass all aspects or complexities of individual cases. Consulting with an experienced family law firm such as The Sands Law Group in Los Angeles is essential to receive personalized legal advice tailored to your specific situation and to navigate the divorce or marriage dissolution process effectively.
What is the Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation?
A divorce is the legal termination of a marriage. When a divorce is finalized, the marriage is completely dissolved, and both parties are free to remarry if they choose to do so. In a divorce case, the court addresses issues such as property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. The court’s decisions on these matters are binding and enforceable. Divorce proceedings require filing a petition for divorce, and there is typically a mandatory waiting period before the divorce can be finalized.
Legal separation, on the other hand, is a legal process that allows couples to live apart and address important issues without terminating the marriage. It provides an alternative to divorce for those who may have religious, financial, or personal reasons for not seeking a divorce. In a legal separation, the court can still address matters such as property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support, similar to a divorce case. However, at the end of a legal separation process, the couple remains legally married. This means they cannot remarry unless they subsequently file for divorce.
It’s important to note that a legal separation can serve as a precursor to divorce. If a couple decides to proceed with a divorce after a legal separation, they can convert the legal separation into a divorce by filing a request with the court. This avoids the need to start the divorce process from scratch.
How to File for Divorce in Los Angeles: 8 Simple Steps
Considering filing for divorce in Los Angeles? Understanding the process and knowing the necessary steps can help you navigate this challenging time with clarity and confidence. In this guide, we will outline eight simple steps to filing for divorce in Los Angeles County.
From serving the initial summons to completing financial disclosure forms and addressing child custody arrangements, we’ll provide you with the essential information you need to initiate and navigate your divorce proceedings effectively. By following these steps, you can approach the divorce process in Los Angeles with a clear roadmap, ensuring that your rights are protected and the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Step 1: Serve the Summons
Begin the divorce process by serving the necessary legal documents, including the summons, to your spouse.
Step 2: Complete the Petition (FL-100)
Fill out the required FL-100 form, which officially initiates the divorce proceedings.
Step 3: Properly Serve the Papers
Ensure that the divorce papers are properly served to your spouse according to the legal requirements in Los Angeles County.
Step 4: Respond to the Petition
After receiving the divorce papers, your spouse should respond within the designated timeframe to acknowledge the petition.
Step 5: Address Temporary Orders
During the divorce process, temporary orders may be issued regarding child custody, visitation, spousal support, or other matters. Be prepared to discuss and negotiate these arrangements.
Step 6: Establish Child Custody/Visitation Orders
If you have children, it’s crucial to establish child custody and visitation arrangements that prioritize their well-being. Consult with legal professionals if necessary.
Step 7: Financial Disclosure
Both parties are required to provide accurate financial information and complete the necessary disclosure forms to ensure a fair division of assets and liabilities.
Step 8: Engage in the Discovery Process
The discovery process involves gathering evidence and information related to the divorce case, including financial records, property valuations, and any relevant documentation.
By following these eight steps, you can navigate the divorce process in Los Angeles County. Remember to consult with a qualified attorney or seek legal advice specific to your situation for personalized guidance.
Benefits of Hiring a Divorce Attorney in LA
Although a divorce may be uncontested and mutually agreed upon, there are still critical choices to be made, and challenges may arise. Engaging the services of an experienced Los Angeles divorce attorney can guarantee a smoother process and safeguard your rights from the outset. With proficient legal guidance, you can guarantee that determinations concerning child custody and support, spousal support, and asset division are made with your utmost benefit in consideration.
Good divorce lawyers will have a track record of seeking collaborative options in favor of battling it out in court. Whether your divorce is simple and straightforward or complex and contentious, your divorce lawyer will be able and willing to:
- Review your situation and agreement;
- Advise you on what a fair agreement looks like;
- Prepare and file all required paperwork;
- Provide objective advice;
- Explain property division;
- Devise a debt repayment plan;
- Determine spousal support;
- Negotiate a settlement of the marital estate;
- Attend mediation with you; and
- Represent you in court, if necessary.
Experienced divorce attorneys should review your case, determine the most appropriate legal strategy for moving forward, and ensure that your rights and best interests are protected throughout the entirety of the process. Contact The Sands Law Group ALPC today for a confidential consultation about your case.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does a Divorce Cost In California?
The cost of a divorce varies widely, from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands, but there are some standard costs in Los Angeles. In L.A., the filing fees are typically around $435, which also happens to be the highest average in the nation.
Who Pays For the Attorney Fees in California?
Attorney fees in California can be paid with community funds, which are the couple’s jointly-held funds, such as a joint checking or savings account. However, any community funds used should be closely accounted for, as Family Code section 721 stipulates that any party who uses community funds or assets must report the use of those funds or assets to the other party.
It should also be noted that if one spouse is in a far superior financial position, that individual may be required to use separate funds to pay the attorney fees for parties. A Los Angeles divorce lawyer can help you determine how to proceed.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Los Angeles?
In Los Angeles, the average divorce takes at least six months from the initial filing. Although it can take much longer, depending on the circumstances of the case, it cannot be faster. In CA, there is a six-month mandatory waiting period before a divorce can be finalized.
Contact Our Compassionate Los Angeles Divorce Attorneys Today
If you have questions about divorce, our compassionate divorce lawyers at The Sands Law Group APLC can help. We have helped countless families in Southern California navigate this complex, stressful process in the most painless, economical manner possible. Our compassionate, knowledgeable Los Angeles divorce lawyers will review the details of your case, determine the best way to proceed, and remain by your side from start to finish. Don’t attempt to go through this complicated process without the help of a trusted legal advisor. Contact us or call us at 213-788-4412 today for a confidential consultation about your case.