Los Angeles Divorce Attorney
There are many reasons why a couple decides to divorce. California is a “no fault” state, meaning that when you file for a divorce you do not have to state in detail the reason for the divorce. In California, you can get a divorce if there are irreconcilable differences, such that no counseling will save the marriage.
Types of Divorce Proceedings
In California, there are four main types of divorce proceedings: (1) Mediation, (2) Arbitration, (3) Litigation, and (4) Uncontested Divorce.
Mediation is designed to be a less stressful experience and more cost-effective than a divorce litigation. During mediation, you and your spouse will meet with a neutral mediator who assists in resolving various issues of your divorce, such as child custody, child support, property division, and alimony. A ruling is not issued by the mediator. Rather, the mediator helps you and your spouse reach a settlement by fostering communication and facilitating as you work through your differences. Call a Los Angeles divorce lawyer at our law firm for more information.
Arbitration is typically less formal than litigation. During arbitration, an arbitrator, who plays a role similar to that of a judge, is given the task of resolving the issues in a divorce. Arbitration is usually binding, which means an arbitrator’s decision cannot be appealed. However, unlike divorce litigation, the parties can tell the arbitrator what rules they would like them to follow.
When a couple is unable to amicably resolve their divorce, their case will be sent to the divorce court for litigation. Litigation can quickly become highly contentious, emotionally draining and stressful. As it may takes months before even one issue can successfully be resolved, litigation tends to be much more expensive.
Uncontested divorce is a general term applied to any divorce in which the parties resolve or settle their divorce amicably and without conflict.
The Divorce Process
The first step in the divorce process is to file a divorce petition and then serve the spouse with the petition. In order to file divorce in California, you must have been a resident of the state for 189 days or 6 months. Further, the grounds for the dissolution of marriage include irreconcilable differences and incurable insanity.
After the spouse has been served, they will have 30 days to respond to the petition. If the individual who has been served fails to respond, the divorce case can proceed without their presence or participation. If the individual who has been served files a response in the appropriate time period, the spouses will exchange discovery documents, which include information about property, income and other relevant information. See our blog: List of Steps Before a California Divorce is Finalized.
The spouses can either resolve the matter through agreements or can request the case go before the court. Usually cases go to court over child custody, spousal support, child support, and domestic violence issues (like restraining orders). In some cases, a subpoena may be needed.
Spouses are encouraged to settle any matters possible during a Marital Settlement Conference. If all issues are not settled, then a divorce trial date is set. At trial, attorneys present their client’s case and any related evidence to ensure desired outcome. The court will then make a judgment.
If circumstances change and the original divorce order is no longer suitable, a new order can be requested by filing for a post judgment modification. The court may choose to grant a modification to child custody or visitation, child support, or spousal support because of circumstances like loss of job, changes in child’s needs, or a serious illness. Contact an experienced Los Angeles divorce attorney at our office to closely examine all the details and discuss potential legal options. See our blog: What Is a Summary Dissolution Divorce in California?
Divorce Court Fees
In most divorce cases, fees must be paid for filings and motions with the court. To file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to initiate a divorce case or filing a Response to a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is about $435. On top of that, there are fees and costs for all the supporting documents and preceding filings.
If you cannot afford the filing fees, you may be able to qualify to have the court fees and costs waived by the court. Our divorce attorneys can help you in requesting your fee waiver by assisting you in the completion of the necessary fee waiver forms.
If you are low- income and cannot afford to pay the fees, you can request a “fee waiver.” There are 3 ways to qualify for a fee waiver:
1. If you are receiving public benefits, including medi-cal, food stamps, general assistance, SSI.
2. If your household income is less than certain amounts.
3. If the court finds that you do not have enough income to pay for your household’s basic needs AND the court fees.
If your fee waiver is denied without a hearing, you have 10 days from the date of the clerk’s Certificate of Service to pay your fees, file a new request if prior request was incomplete or ask for a hearing to provide more information. Our attorneys can assist you in filing a new request or asking for a hearing to provide more information.
Contact a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney
Los Angeles family law attorneys Mariya Furman and Lee Zavatsky are experienced and distinguished divorce lawyers in Los Angeles County. Not only have we represented countless clients during divorce and family court proceedings, but we are also dedicated to obtaining the best possible results for our valued clients. Our Los Angeles divorce lawyers can confidently guide you through the divorce process aggressively advocating on your behalf before the courts.
Divorce is often a highly complex issue, and the matters that spouses must deal with can lead to a great deal of tension, financial expense and wasted time. If not properly handled, a divorce can turn into a long, drawn out battle over every minor detail. But, it does not have to be this way! There are some key steps to take when divorce is on the horizon.
With one of our experienced divorce attorneys at your side, you will have the opportunity to handle your divorce in a timely manner and to reach an agreement that works best for you and your spouse.
In filing for divorce, there are specific deadlines that must be met and procedure that must be followed precisely. Any deviation may delay your case or result in an unfavorable outcome. Our Los Angeles divorce lawyers will make sure all deadlines are met and all procedures followed to ensure you obtain the most favorable to you and your family.
Our attorneys understand that this is a difficult and emotional time for you and your loved ones, so they believe you deserved attentive and effective legal counsel. Our law firm also handles divorce cases with special need children.
We at Furman & Zavatsky have represented hundreds of clients filing for divorce in both Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. We understand that a divorce can be a significant and dramatic change in your life. We are experienced and understanding relating to the anguish and suffering that accompanies divorces.
We can guide you during all steps of a divorce, from advising you of your rights prior to filing, assisting you after the case has been filed, and representing you through the finality of a divorce judgment. We are experienced in representing clients through both a contested divorce and also an uncontested divorce. We have also handled matters involving businesses and same-sex marriages. Even if children are involved, you will be able to be confident knowing that we will be there to help you deal with issues such as custody, visitation and child support.
If you are interested in learning more about filing for divorce or about requesting a post judgment modification, please contact our offices where our experienced divorce attorneys will happily discuss your options.