Getting a divorce is usually an emotionally challenging event for most families. Still, the process is often more difficult when you attempt to go through California divorce proceedings without legal help from a family law attorney.
Many people, especially those planning an uncontested divorce, believe they don't need legal representation, but this is a myth. Filing for a divorce and achieving the desired outcome is much more difficult without legal guidance.
One of the primary purposes of a divorce lawyer is to represent your best interest, including your children. Most attorneys in the field of family law understand you are going through a difficult time in your life and will take all the necessary time to explain California family laws and what you should expect.
While divorce lawyers are not emotional therapists, they will listen to your concerns and apply the law. In other words, they are legal professionals you hire to represent your best interest during divorce proceedings.
Divorce lawyers are focused on crucial divorce laws, such as life-altering issues of child custody, child support, spousal support, property, asset division, and other divorce-related matters.
The first step to retaining a good divorce lawyer involves researching and interviewing several lawyers to find the right one for your case. Here are some factors to consider:
- What practice area do they specialize in?
- How long have they been in practice?
- How much experience in divorce cases?
- Are they Certified Family Law Specialists?
- Do they have positive client reviews?
- Can they handle complex divorces?
- How much do they charge?
- How long will it take to resolve your divorce?
In most cases, the divorce lawyer you interview will be the same lawyer who will be representing you in the family court. At your initial case evaluation, you will discuss the specific details of your divorce and legal options moving forward. Our California family law lawyers will look at this topic below.
What Should You Expect After Retaining a Divorce Attorney?
After the consultation and decision to hire the divorce lawyer, you will start getting into fine details and strategies about the dissolution of marriage, child custody and support, alimony, and dividing property. Your lawyer will guide you through the legal process.
For example, the very nature of a divorce is a series of compromises with your spouse. Reaching a mutual agreement with them rather than forcing the family court to decide is almost always the better strategy, but not always an option.
Thus, getting legal advice from your lawyer before negotiations with your spouse is critical. Your lawyer can file for divorce and draft a post-marital agreement but will never attempt to force you to accept anything you don't want. Once you hire a divorce attorney, you should expect to receive the following:
- Updates on the progress of your case,
- Communications through emails, phone calls, etc.,
- Legal guidance through the divorce process,
- Drafting divorce settlement agreements,
- Draft prenup and postnuptial agreements,
- File necessary divorce paperwork,
- Negotiations with your spouse and lawyer,
- Always represent your best interests,
- Make arguments for the best possible outcome,
- Collect necessary evidence and witnesses,
- Keep track of court deadlines,
- Attend any family court proceedings.
Depending on the details of your case, especially if it involves high assets and business ownership, the divorce process can become complex.
After you retain a divorce lawyer, you don't have to attend all the family court hearings as they will attend the proceedings on your behalf.
You should also expect your lawyer to advise you not to pay for anything you don't need. For example, some issues can be paid for by your spouse. Finally, you should expect your divorce lawyer to help you avoid crucial and costly mistakes.
How Long is the Divorce Process?
It depends on different factors. There are contested and uncontested divorces, where spouses mutually agree on essential matters and take much less time to finalize the divorce.
A contested divorce takes much longer because it usually involves significant disputes on specific issues, such as child custody and the division of assets, especially in high net worth cases. Some of the most common problems that could prolong the California divorce process include:
- Child custody,
- Spousal support (alimony),
- Property division,
- Assets and debts,
- Pensions and retirement accounts,
Perhaps you are unable to reach a parenting agreement with your spouse. Your divorce lawyer can help with the agreement and obtaining a court order.
Perhaps you need to file for alimony and prove to the court your soon-to-be-ex-spouse was supporting you, which can be done through income documentation.
Perhaps there are issues with dividing property or assets. Your family law attorney can guide you through reaching an amicable agreement with your spouse. If a deal can't be reached, your lawyer can show the court how you contributed to the marital assets and what you are entitled to receive.
If you retain a lawyer, dealing with these issues and finalizing the divorce will be much faster because they will know the proper court procedures and have the experience to avoid time-consuming mistakes.
Your lawyer can also help you decide on other crucial issues, such as marriage counseling or therapy, divorce mediation, and legal separation.
What Are the Most Crucial Roles of a Divorce Lawyer?
During California divorce proceedings, the most crucial role of your lawyer is to advocate for your best interest, such as life-changing critical issues involving;
- Legal advice and guidance during divorce proceedings,
- Child custody, child support, parental visitation agreements,
- Filing a petition for custody with the family court,
- Draft a parental responsibility agreement,
- File spousal support petition, called “alimony,”
- Coordinating equal division of property, assets, debts,
- Mediation and marital settlement agreements,
- Help you with financial negotiations.
“Protecting your interests” means ensuring fair treatment under California family code laws. It also means avoiding any unnecessary legal fees and delays.
Your divorce attorney can ensure that all marital property and assets are divided by guiding you through the process. If your spouse owns and operates a business or professional practice, they can help you with the business valuation. They can help you with finances.
A divorce attorney can also help you reach a settlement agreement with your ex-spouse. This can be done by helping you and your ex-spouse draft and finalize a Marital Property Settlement Agreement.
They can help you decide on child legal custody, where you are authorized to make decisions about the welfare and education of your child, and physical custody, where you have the legal right to spend time with your child.
Contact California Certified Family Law Specialist For Help
If you can't resolve your disputes during mediation or negotiation, then you force the court to resolve them. A divorce lawyer can provide crucial legal representation during the proceedings and negotiations to protect your interest.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, we can help you get a restraining order to protect you and your kids. Suppose wasteful dissipation of marital assets has occurred during a divorce. In that case, we can help you.
We can guide you through every aspect of divorce by providing you with advice on whether to negotiate with go into mediation with your spouse. We can file for divorce and prepare all the necessary paperwork.
We will help you prepare the binding marital property settlement agreement or petition for divorce and negotiate with your spouse's lawyer. Divorce proceedings are often emotional and challenging, but with experienced legal guidance, the process is usually less stressful.
Furman & Zavatsky are Los Angeles family law and divorce lawyers who provide legal representation across California. Contact us for a free case evaluation by phone or use the contact form.