Making Decisions About Your Upcoming Divorce
Making Decisions About Your Upcoming Divorce in Orange County: As you approach a divorce, you probably have a lot of questions. An Orange County divorce attorney can help you understand how the law will affect your case and your family. However, you will need to make some important decisions regarding your divorce and the type of attorney you choose to work with.
Do I need a divorce attorney in OC Southern California?
It is always in your best interest to consult a divorce attorney when you’re going through a divorce. However, the type of attorney you hire and your need for an attorney can vary, depending on whether you choose a litigated divorce or a form of alternative dispute resolution. It can also depend on whether your divorce involves children, the amount of debts and assets you and your spouse or partner have, and whether it is a high conflict divorce or if you and your spouse or partner are on good terms with each other.
Is a divorce my only option for ending my marriage or registered domestic partnership?
In California, there are two ways to end a marriage or a registered domestic partnership in addition to getting a divorce: a legal separation and an annulment.
An annulment is when the court determines that a marriage or a domestic partnership is not legally valid. Once completed, it is as if your marriage or domestic partnership never happened.
In order to get an annulment and declare a marriage or partnership legally invalid, it must meet one of the following qualifications.
• If the marriage or partnership was incestuous or bigamous, it was never a legal or valid marriage or partnership in the first place. It is illegal to marry or enter into a registered domestic partnership with a close blood relative, or to marry or to register a domestic partnership if you are already married or in a domestic partnership;
• One party was under 18 at the time of the marriage or domestic partnership;
• If either party was already legally married, or already in a registered domestic partnership, but the current marriage or domestic partnership began after the first spouse or partner had been absent for five years, or was not known to be living;
• If either party was of unsound mind, and was unable to understand the nature of a marriage or domestic partnership;
• If either party entered the marriage or domestic partnership due to fraud, for example if the marriage only took place for financial reasons, or if one party hid the inability to have children;
• If either party was forced into the domestic partnership or marriage;
• If either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage or domestic partnership.
Under California law, a legal separation is very similar to a divorce, except that the couple retains their marital status. It allows the couple to go through the divorce processes like dividing marital debts and assets, and creating court orders for child support, spousal support, child custody and visitation.
Legal separation may be a viable option for couples who wish to retain their marital status for religious reasons, in order to keep benefits like health insurance, or because they cannot meet the legal requirements for divorce for some time.
A legal separation does not allow the couple to remarry, because it does not change their marital status.
Is a litigated divorce my only divorce option? Can I create my own divorce plan?
If you have decided that a divorce is right for your situation, you have several options in addition to a litigated divorce. In some cases, a couple may qualify for a summary dissolution. Other forms of alternative dispute resolution can offer a couple numerous benefits - if you and your spouse or partner are willing to work together.
A summary dissolution is a faster, easier way to get divorced, and it requires less assistance from an attorney than does a litigated divorce. However, most couples do not meet all of the following requirements to qualify for a summary dissolution in California:
• The marriage or domestic partnership must have lasted less than five years, from the date of marriage or registering the partnership, to the date of separation;
• The couple can have no children together, either biological or adopted, and neither party can be pregnant;
• Neither party can own any land or buildings;
• Neither party can rent any land or buildings, except for their current home;
• The couple cannot currently owe more than $6,000 in debts that have been incurred since the date of marriage or registering the partnership, except for car loans;
• The couple must have acquired less than $40,000 of community property during the marriage or domestic partnership, excluding cars;
• Neither party can have more than $40,000 of separate property, excluding cars;
• Both parties must agree not to ever receive spousal support;
• Both parties must sign a property and debt division agreement, including cars;
• The couple must meet the residency requirements for divorcing in California.
While a traditional divorce allows one party to petition for and obtain a divorce even if the other party disagrees, both parties must agree to divorce in order to get a summary dissolution.
Alternative Dispute Resolution in Orange County
The two most common types of alternative dispute resolution that are used in a California divorce are divorce mediation and collaborative divorces, or collaborative law.
These alternatives to a litigated divorce usually allow a couple to save both money and time, and they allow the couple to have more control over the outcome of the divorce. It can increase the communication skills between the parties, which can lead to better co-parenting and a lasting relationship after the divorce.
Divorce mediation allows a couple to work together with a neutral third party mediator to create a divorce agreement that could potentially become a court order when the divorce is finalized. Neither party can have an attorney present in mediation, which is confidential, unless they choose to hire a neutral mediator who is also an attorney. Any issues that are not worked out in mediation can be brought to court.
Collaborative divorce allows a couple to each hire a specialized collaborative lawyer and work together with their attorneys to create a divorce agreement.
Contact an OC Divorce Lawyer when it comes to Making Decisions About Your Upcoming Divorce in Orange County
If you’re not sure how to move forward with your divorce, reach out to a skilled Orange County divorce attorney to discuss your situation today. Contact Yanez & Associates for a free initial consultation.
Table of Contents
- 1 Making Decisions About Your Upcoming Divorce
- 2 Is a litigated divorce my only divorce option? Can I create my own divorce plan?
- 3 Alternative Dispute Resolution in Orange County
- 4 Contact an OC Divorce Lawyer when it comes to Making Decisions About Your Upcoming Divorce in Orange County