Orange county divorce lawyer

THE DIVORCE PROCESS

There are six steps to a divorce proceeding. These include:

1. DETERMINING THE PROPER COUNTY AND JURISDICTION

All divorces in the State of California, regardless of whether or not you and your spouse are convinced you can work out your disputes, must start with determining which county and jurisdiction to file the petition for divorce.

Many courts in California, including the County of Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside, have specialized courts that deal only with family law and divorce matters. These courts handle all issues related to the divorce, including the division of community and separate property and assets, child custody, child support, spousal support and related issues.

Which is the right county for your divorce? That depends on many factors including where you and your spouse have resided. Often times, especially when you and your spouse have separated and have lived apart before either of you files for a divorce petition, more than one county may be the right jurisdiction for your divorce matter.

However, a judgment of marriage dissolution (divorce) may not be entered unless one of the spouses has been a “resident” of California for six months AND of the county where the divorce proceeding is filed for three months immediately preceding the filing of the divorce petition.

This “six-months/three-month” residence requirement applies only to marriage dissolutions (divorce) action. There is no residency requirement for filing a nullity or legal separation petition.

2. FILING OR RESPONDING TO A PETITION FOR DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE

Once we have determined the proper jurisdiction and county for your divorce, one of two documents must be filed with the court. You can contact farzadlaw.com for more information on this.

If you are seeking a divorce, we will prepare and file for you a “petition for dissolution of marriage”. In this document, we will identify what you seek (a dissolution) and why you seek it (typically “irreconcilable differences”).

Remember that California is a no-fault divorce so issues such as infidelity are irrelevant to the divorce petition. However, despite California’s no-fault system, certain issues that most relate to “fault” ARE very significant to your divorce. For example, application for a domestic violence protective order usually requires an affidavit or declaration showing reasonable proof of a past act or acts of abuse. In addition, when determining the child’s best interests in a contested custody case, the court must consider any history of physical or sexual abuse by one parent against any spouse, any child or other persons within the household. The Court also takes into consideration habitual alcohol abuse or illegal use of controlled substances or medications.

If your spouse has served you with a divorce petition and after we determine and ensure that the divorce petition has been filed in the proper court and county, we will file a “Response” to the petition for dissolution of marriage. Time is short and you must not wait to file a response.

In most circumstances, you only have 30 days from the date of the petition is served on you to file the Response. Fail to do so and your spouse can take a “default” against you, barring you from appearing in court or challenging your spouse’s requests.

If you have a default against you in your divorce, you must contact us immediately because the time to file a written motion (request) with the court to set aside the default against you is short.

After we prepare the divorce petition, and both you and we sign it, we file it with the court and serve it along with a summons on your spouse. That gets the process started and your spouse then has 30 days under most circumstances to respond to the divorce petition. If your spouse fails to respond to the divorce petition in 30 days, we will, at your request, ask the court to enter his “default”, which the court often does immediately.

If you have been served with the divorce petition, we will prepare a timely written “Response” to the divorce petition for you, you and us will sign it, and we will file it with the court. We will also serve a copy of it on your spouse or your spouse’s lawyer.

3. THE USE OF DISCOVERY DURING YOUR DIVORCE ACTION

Discovery is intended to take the gamesmanship out of the divorce and family law process. Discovery includes serving and answering interrogatories (written questions) under oath, producing documents under oath, admitting to certain facts under oath and conducting oral examinations under oath (called depositions).

Discovery also permits you to conduct vocational evaluations on your spouse (if your spouse is refusing to work but is capable of doing so) as well as independent medical and related examinations when your spouse’s medical or psychological issues are relevant to the divorce proceeding. The discovery process during the divorce is not limited to your spouse.

We can issue and serve civil subpoenas to third parties or entities for their personal attendance at a deposition, to produce documents, or both.

Discovery is one of the most important processes in the divorce proceeding. Unfortunately, many family law attorneys either don’t realize the importance of the discovery process during the divorce or are incapable of effectively engaging in the discovery process.

That is why Farzad & Mazarei’s wealth of experience in all aspects of effective discovery sets us apart.

If your spouse is trying to “hide” assets or is playing games with custody or support issues during the divorce process, we will conduct the necessary discovery to expose your spouse’s misconduct and further to obtain all the necessary information and documents from him or her.

Further, don’t worry about your spouse hiding assets or not being cooperative during the discovery process. If your spouse refuses to cooperate during the divorce or otherwise fails to produce what we have requested of him or her, we will file the appropriate motions with the court forcing your spouse to comply with our discovery requests. The court is often asked to intervene when one party is playing games and the court has the power to not only order your spouse to comply but may also impose financial and other serious sanctions for noncompliance. These sanctions may include paying for your legal fees.

What discovery procedures we use is something we discuss with you during the divorce process. Not every case is handled the same way. Some cases require significant discovery. Others require very little. We will go over your case with you at the outset and throughout your matter to determine the necessary discovery your divorce may require.

4. MEDIATION OF YOUR DIVORCE ACTION

Mediation is a formal attempt to resolve some or all of the issues in your divorce.

Mediation of child custody and visitation disputes is mandatory. You and your spouse will be encouraged to seek mediation for all of your issues by the court.

Mediation is especially effective for simple divorces and Farzad & Mazarei will work hard to bring your matter to mediation and attempt resolution between you and your spouse.

For complex divorces, mediation can also be very effective but you must be very careful and mindful of having all the facts before you attend mediation. Often, a spouse in a long term marriage with assets believes that he or she can “work things out” with the other spouse without the need for much investigation or discovery. This can be a recipe for a disaster especially when you are walking into mediation without all the facts.

That is why we ensure the timing of the mediation works to your advantage and, when necessary, we conduct the investigation and discovery during your divorce so that we can maximize what you are entitled to and what you get at mediation.

5. TRIAL OF YOUR DIVORCE ACTION

If your divorce cannot be settled informally (through settlement discussions) or formally (through mediation), your divorce will proceed to trial. Divorce trial are often short (most are 1 day or less) unless there are extensive property or assets at issue, or complex child custody matters.

Prior to the actual trial date, pre trial discussions take place. Most trial judges will request each spouse’s attorney to meet with the judge in an informal in-chambers conference.

The purpose of this conference is to discuss any unresolved issues, the length of the trial, the identity and number of witnesses, the nature and extent of the exhibits, to resolve any evidentiary issues and often to make one final attempt at settling the divorce action.

The trial process is complex and requires extensive preparation, depending on the complexity of your divorce.

Farzad & Mazarei are experienced and successful trial lawyers and set our goals and objectives to getting you the results you deserve.

6. THE FINAL DIVORCE JUDGMENT

After a decision is reached, whether by settlement or trial, a judgment or order is entered.

That judgment outlines the final resolution of all the issues in your divorce action. These include the division of assets, spousal support, child support, child custody and any other orders that are necessary and part of your divorce action.

At Farzad & Mazarei, orange county divorce lawyer we are committed to intelligently and compassionately representing your interests throughout the divorce process.

Attorney B. Robert Farzad is the President and Managing Partner of Farzad & Mazarei.
farzadlaw.com
Article Source

Comments are closed.