Orange County Divorce Attorneys
There is nothing dearer to you than family, and at Boyd Law, our Orange County divorce and family law attorneys understand that. That’s why we are proud to represent mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, and grandparents in Orange County. Whether you are in the midst of a heated battle or simply looking to protect yourself from future issues, our Orange County divorce lawyers can help.
The word divorce has many negative connotations associated with it, but can also be a mutual agreed upon separation that benefits both sides. However, divorce can also be hotly contested and full of headaches regarding child custody, child support, marital property, and asset protection. Regardless of the type of divorce you are going through, an experienced divorce lawyer in Orange County can help you navigate the legal system to ensure you are getting a fair outcome throughout the process.
Divorce In California
Divorce unfortunately can become a lengthy process due to the amount of assets two individuals acquire together, as well as arrangements relating to any children of the marriage. It is important to keep in mind that the more agreements you can come to with your former spouse, the easier the divorce will be. Experienced divorce attorneys in Orange County will work together to work through any type of disagreement to ensure that you receive the proper settlement you deserve.
Many divorces in Orange County are settled through mediation, which offers both parties the ability to come to an agreement without a court. This is helpful for maintaining relationships prior to divorce, which is important if children are involved.
If mediation or other outside agreements do not work, divorce cases will go to trial in California. Divorce trials are based on the facts which have been presented during the months prior to the trial date. Trials will be classified as either “long cause” or “short cause,” with short cause cases meaning trials should be no more than 5 hours. In divorce trials, no jury is brought in, and the judge will instead determine the outcome of the case.
Certain issues can be “bifurcated” during divorce proceedings. For example, most bifurcations are requested to terminate the marital status so one or both spouses can remarry or the spouse wants to file for the current tax year as “single.” Bifurcation allows the court to settle on the marital status without determining the marital complex property division or other items contested in the divorce.
Child support and child custody are often the most highly contested items throughout divorce, and it is important to come to an agreement and continue to ensure that the terms of this agreement are met throughout your child’s life. If you should be receiving child support, the child support agreement is a way to ensure that your former spouse follows their obligations. If you are supposed to have your children every other weekend, the child custody agreement will ensure that your former spouse relinquishes control of your children at the appropriate time.
At Boyd Law, our divorce law attorneys in Orange County are committed to family. That means we can serve you in any way you desire. Some of our most popular family law practice areas include:
Divorce. When the wedding bells ring, nobody envisions the harsh reality of divorce. However, people change, issues arise, and sometimes it’s the best answer. Whether you realize it or not, you have much to lose in a divorce case. At Boyd Law, it’s our goal to make sure you walk away in the best position possible.
Child Support. At Boyd Law, we have families of our own and understand the sense of responsibility you have to support your children financially and emotionally. On the financial side of things, we help clients make sure their children are comfortably supported with the resources they need to succeed in life. In the midst of a confusing divorce, we will stand by your side and work through tough issues.
Child Custody. One of the most important legal aspects of a divorce is the custody of your children. If you are concerned about where your children will end up and want to ensure they are properly cared for, we are prepared to assist you. We have years of experience relentlessly fighting for child custody and know how the system works.
Asset Protection Strategies. Divorce has a way of affecting every area of your life. While your children are most important, your assets are also very valuable. Don’t let a divorce tear apart everything you’ve spent your life working for. At Boyd Law, we represent clients looking to protect their assets from painful divorces. We will work alongside you and make certain you are aware of all the assets that are at stake, who has legal right to them, and how you can walk away with what you rightly deserve.
Same Sex Marriage. On June 28, 2013, same sex marriage was officially accepted as legal throughout the state of California. At Boyd Law, we believe in equality for all and work to defend the legal rights of same sex marriage in Orange County. As a spouse, you deserve the same rights as any married couple, and we are happy to help you receive those benefits.
And More. As a full-service family law firm, we also offer legal assistance for issues like child visitation, legal separation, alimony, paternity, annulments, spousal support, step parent adoption, domestic partnership, modification of support, complex property division, prenuptial/postnuptial agreements, and property settlement.
What are the Differences among Divorce, Legal Separation and Annulment?
There are several methods for ending a marriage or domestic partnership, and anyone in such a situation may wonder what options are available. When a marriage ends, it usually falls into one of these three categories:
Divorce is also known as dissolution. Ending a marriage through divorce allows spouses to be eligible for remarriage and entails a division of property, custody agreements for the couple’s children, and other details. In the state of California, you don’t need a specific reason to petition for divorce. Some states have distinctions between no-fault and fault-based divorces. A fault-based divorce may result in a favorable settlement for the wronged party, but California simplifies the process.
You can file for divorce for irreconcilable differences, which covers any and all possible reasons for desiring a divorce. In very rare cases, petitioners cite incurable insanity as the reason for divorce.
Legal separation does not technically end the marriage. Both spouses remain legally married, but live separately. This type of situation arises most often with couples whose faith prohibit divorce. Child custody, assets, and other factors may involve the legal system, and either spouse may file a petition to fully divorce at a later date.
An annulment is essentially the legal term for declaring a marriage invalid. Participants ask for an annulment when they feel a marriage should not have been legal in the first place, in situations including:
- The law forbids family members from marrying.
- Forced consent. Both spouses must agree to marry of their own free will.
- If at the time of marriage, either spouse was still married to another, the marriage is void.
- If one of the spouses agreed to marry based on misrepresentation or lies, this is grounds to nullify the marriage.
- Underage marriage. This would cover any situation in which one or both parties were too young to marry or did not have parental consent to marry.
- Mental illness. If either spouse was mentally imbalanced at the time of the marriage, the marriage can be nullified.
- This refers to any marriage in which either spouse was unable to provide informed consent to marry.
What are Grounds for Divorce in California and How Do I Start the Divorce Process?
Every marriage eventually encounters obstacles, but sometimes a couple may deem their issues insurmountable and decide to separate. If you’re having doubts about the future of your marriage and think divorce may be a possibility, you may wonder what grounds are necessary to file for divorce in California.
The process is much simpler than you may expect. In the state of California, there are only two possible grounds for divorce (also referred to as “dissolution”):
- Irreconcilable differences. This is a blanket selection that covers any and all possible reasons for desiring a divorce. In the state of California, you do not have to have a specific reason to divorce – both parties must simply agree to it.
- Incurable insanity. This option is very rarely used, and the courts require documented proof that one of the spouses was insane when the spouses filed the marriage petition and remains so at the time of requesting dissolution.
Starting the divorce process is as simple as filing the necessary forms. A Orange County divorce attorney will help you do this, but you can also find them yourself through the California Courts system. Once you have filed the petition, there are a few rules for both spouses. The court will issue temporary restraining orders that prevent either spouse from doing certain things until you’ve finalized the divorce. The court will not permit either spouse to take minor children out of state, alter insurance policies, or transfer property. Both parties must carefully monitor and control shared finances.
There are several options for divorce proceedings:
- Full legal representation. Your attorney will represent you in court.
- Limited representation. An attorney will assist in some parts of the divorce process.
- An impartial mediator will help you and your spouse reach a mutually agreeable resolution. A court hearing will not be necessary if mediation is successful.
- Self-representation. You will act as your own attorney. This is rarely advisable. Even in the most amicable dissolution, someone should have your best interests in mind during the proceedings.
How Long Will a Divorce in California Typically Take?
The time it takes to finalize a divorce will largely vary from case to case, but the state average is 15 months, with processing times varying from eight to 20 months. There are several factors that may hasten or slow the time it takes to finalize a divorce in California:
The involvement of children in a divorce proceeding means caution from all parties as well as longer proceedings. The length of time would depend on many factors, including the age of the children, custody arrangements, visitation, child support, and psychological evaluations, among other things. If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement as to the custody and visitation of children, California law requires you attend custody mediation.
In some cases, divorcing spouses may mutually agree to the terms of the divorce and neither opposes the petition. This is what is known as an “uncontested” divorce. If both parties agree to a division of property and other considerations, the case is not likely to go to trial. A contentious divorce – either from personal issues or financial disagreements – can delay proceedings for months.
Once you file your divorce petition and serve your spouse the papers, there is a six month waiting period in the state of California until the courts finalize your divorce. This time is often spent negotiating the details of the divorce, such as child custody and division of assets. If spouses can agree to a solution, the divorce will proceed smoothly. If they are still unable to reach an accord once the six month waiting period expires, they must notify the judge that they need to go to trial.
According to California law, a couple may “bifurcate” their divorce. This allows the divorcees to dissolve their marriage even if they have not agreed to issues such as child custody or asset division. Both parties may then pursue further litigation to settle these issues at their discretion.
OC Divorce Lawyers Offering Free Legal Consultations
At Boyd Law in Orange County, we take divorce and other family law cases very seriously. Whether it’s the ensuing issues of a divorce or the future protection of assets, our lawyers are ready to assist. We have years of experience and have solidified ourselves as one of the premier family law firms in Southern California. If you’re looking for a legal team that values personal relationships and compassion, we can help. Take a look at some of our client testimonials and you will quickly see why so many other people are choosing us.
For more information on how we can assist you, or for a free initial consultation, please call Boyd Law today at 949.753.1028. Our team of highly skilled, professional lawyers would be happy to review your case and provide you with a no-obligation analysis.