A divorce doesn’t always have to be messy. At Boyd Law, our Costa Mesa divorce attorneys have worked with all types of couples during divorce and separation cases in Orange County and Southern California. No matter what’s going on in your life, trust that we have the resources and ability to masterfully handle the complicated process. A jointly owned business, children, high-value assets, long-term marriage, single-income household – you name it, Boyd Law has the answers you seek. One free consultation with our skilled Costa Mesa divorce lawyers can help you envision a bright future as a newly single man or woman.
Facts About Divorce in Costa Mesa, California
As of the latest statistics, there were 2,236,496 marriages on record in the United States (with one state not reporting). There were 787,251 divorces – with five states not reporting. This equates to a rate of 3.2 per 1,000 population. The divorce rate is higher on average in Orange County than around the nation (about 60% compared to 45%).
If you want to file for divorce in Orange County, you’ll be one of hundreds doing so every year. We know that your case is unique, however, which is why we provide personalized legal services. Costa Mesa had a population of 113,825 as of 2017. There are about 40,000 households in Costa Mesa, 41.3% of which (16,478) are opposite-sex married couples living together. There are also 3,013 households with unmarried opposite-sex partnerships and 281 same-sex married couples or partnerships. If you’re one of these households but are thinking about divorce, you’re not alone. Many couples cite “irreconcilable differences” in no-fault proceedings every year in Costa Mesa.
California is a no-fault divorce state. This means that you don’t have to prove that your spouse did something wrong, like commit a felony or cheat on you, to qualify for these proceedings. You can file whether or not your spouse agrees to divorce you. If your spouse doesn’t agree to your terms, you will have what the courts call a “contested divorce.”
A contested divorce can be difficult, as it means you and your spouse cannot agree on all issues regarding the split, such as child custody, property division, child support, and spousal support. In these types of cases, it’s often in your best interest to retain an experienced Costa Mesa family lawyer to provide legal advice and help navigate you through this difficult process.
How Long Does a Costa Mesa Divorce Take?
It is normal to want your case to be over as quickly as possible. One of the most frequently asked questions we receive at Boyd Law is, “How long will my divorce take?” The answer will depend on your specific case. You will need to consult with our attorneys for an accurate answer based on the unique facts of your case. All cases in California will take at least six months, however, due to the mandatory waiting period. Many other factors could lengthen the timeline of your specific case including:
- Waiting to meet the residency requirement
- Whether you and your spouse can agree on its terms
- The complexity of your case
- Investigations, property assessments or parental evaluations
- Child custody disputes
- High-asset versus low-asset
- Divorce settlement versus going to trial
- Representing yourself versus hiring a lawyer
Typically, the biggest factor in deciding how long your case will take is how well you and your ex-spouse can work together. If you and your ex can communicate and compromise with each other, you can most likely reach a settlement agreement without needing to wait for a court date or go to trial. A settlement is typically faster and cheaper than going to trial in Costa Mesa. Working with a lawyer can also shorten your timeline, as experienced family lawyers will know how to expedite the process. A lawyer can help you avoid problems that could waste time, such as missing information on your divorce petition.
Is There a Waiting Period for Divorces in California?
A waiting period is a mandatory amount of time some states make couples wait before the courts finalize the divorce. California has a six-month waiting period on all cases.
The purpose of California’s waiting requirement is to ensure both parties truly want to move forward with the case, and are committed to seeing the dissolution through. It gives couples a chance to potentially work things out and reconcile, or else confirm that the decision is the right choice. It aims to prevent hasty decisions a couple later regrets and wishes to reverse – saving both the courts and the couple time and money.
A couple in California must wait at least six months from the date the petitioner filed for the case to complete the divorce process. Beginning a divorce takes filing the proper paperwork with the family courthouse in your county. You and your spouse will then have to wait at least six months to receive a decree from a judge. While you and your spouse can continue working out the details and dealing with paperwork in that six months, a judge will not finalize your divorce until at least six months have passed from the filing date.
What Is California’s Residency Requirement?
Another factor that could affect how long a case takes in Costa Mesa is California’s residency requirement. In most cases, one spouse must have lived in the State of California for at least six months and in the county where he or she is filing for divorce for at least the past three months. If you or your spouse do not meet these residency requirements, you will have to wait until you have lived in California or your county long enough to file. This could delay your case.
If you have both lived in the state for at least six months but live in different counties, either party can file in his or her county as long as that party has lived there for at least the last three months. You still have the right to file for legal separation if you do not meet California’s residency requirement. When enough time has passed, you or your lawyer can file an amended petition requesting a divorce.
An exception to the rule exists for same-sex couples who married in California but do not currently live in the state. In these situations, the couple does not have to live in California to file for divorce in the state.
Can Mediation Resolve My Divorce?
A divorce in Orange County can easily escalate into a serious conflict that requires a trial. It is generally in your best interest, however, to avoid a trial whenever possible. A trial is a stressful, expensive and time-consuming process that will make your family’s private matters public.
A trial can also take a year or longer to complete, depending on how busy the family courthouse is and when it can schedule your trial date. If you and your ex-spouse wish to avoid a trial, look into alternative dispute resolutions such as mediation for your divorce case.
Mediation is not a trial and may not even take place in a courthouse. Mediation is a more informal process that typically involves a private meeting between you, your ex-spouse and your attorneys in front of a mediator. The role of the mediator is not the same as the role of a judge in a divorce trial. The mediator will not have the power to force you or your ex-spouse to agree to anything or issue a court order regarding matters such as child custody or separate property or property division. Instead, the role of the mediator is to engage you and your ex-spouse in conversations that will ultimately lead to a settlement agreement.
Divorce mediation might be a possibility if you and your ex-spouse are capable of communicating with each other and compromising on the terms of your divorce. This means all the terms of your divorce: child custody, child support, spousal maintenance and property division. If you and your ex are not on speaking terms and you do not think this will change with assistance from lawyers and mediators, mediation might not be a viable option for you. You are always able to try mediation, however, and then move onto another solution if it fails.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Divorce Attorney?
Whether your divorce case requires mediation, arbitration or a full-blown trial, hiring a divorce attorney in Orange County can be helpful. Your attorney can answer all of your legal questions and walk you through complicated processes. Your lawyer can submit legal paperwork for you, along with all the necessary financial documents and other statements.
If your ex-spouse contests your proposed terms for the divorce, your lawyer can facilitate conversations between you two to increase the chances of reaching an agreement. If your case ends up in trial, your lawyer can stand by your side and represent your best interests in front of a judge.
It is understandable to worry about the potential costs of hiring a divorce attorney. While it is true that hiring a lawyer is one of the main costs of a divorce, the price can be well worth what the attorney does for you and your family during this difficult time. Each divorce attorney will charge differently according to the law firm and the unique case. In general, your divorce lawyer will cost more if you have a complicated case that goes to trial versus a simple divorce case that resolves in mediation.
Always ask your lawyer about his or her fees upfront, before retaining the attorney. National averages place the price of hiring a divorce attorney at about $15,000 per person. This is generally the cost if your case goes to trial, as it includes court costs, the fees of hiring experts such as tax advisors and accountants, and the attorney’s fees for days of work on your case.
The average divorce trial can take about one year to complete. If your case concludes faster than this, your fees may be less than the average. You may also be able to decrease the costs of your lawyer by working with your spouse to achieve a no-contest or collaborative divorce. This will be a faster and cheaper process that will not require as much work by your attorney.
How Can Boyd Law Help You?
In a contested divorce, you and your spouse may struggle to agree on terms such as which parent the children will primarily live with, or whether or not one spouse deserves spousal support payments from the other spouse. In these cases, mediation may not be enough to settle your case. You may need to enter into a trial with your spouse to get the best results for yourself and your children.
Working with the family law attorneys at our law offices can help you take the best legal route possible for your unique situation. Whether you can settle your case during mediation or need to go to trial, our Southern California law firm can get the job done expeditiously.
Our law firm has highly skilled divorce attorneys. Orange County divorce attorneys that have extensive experience in the field of family law throughout California, and have resources focused on helping families through even the most complex divorces or legal separations. As our client in Costa Mesa, you can be rest assured you will receive our one-on-one professional attention. Your divorce lawyer will be available to answer your questions, address your concerns, and take aggressive action when necessary.
If you’re thinking about divorce, don’t wait to contact our experienced divorce lawyers. For a free consultation to answer some of the family law questions you might have, please contact us via our free contact form or call us at (949) 753-1028.