If you have decided to end your marriage, the next decision is whether you will need to retain a divorce attorney. While it may sound like an easy decision, every divorce is unique and will depend on the specific details of your situation.
Here is a reality check regarding divorces in California: As a rule - the less you place on the family court's plate to resolve your issues, the easier the divorce process. In other words, it's almost always better to reach a mutual agreement with your spouse over the common crucial points in a dissolution of marriage, such as:
- Child custody,
- Child support,
- Spousal support,
- Property division.
When you mutually work with your spouse during the divorce process, there are a lot of advantages. However, there are many divorces where a civil and friendly process is not an option.
Many spouses are forced to go through a challenging and stressful divorce to end their marriage. Whether they go through a contested divorce or the situation is somewhat agreeable, it's difficult for most to handle. Fortunately, getting legal help in a divorce can make a difficult situation much more manageable.
Even in a situation where you and your spouse can agree on the issues and file for an uncontested divorce without the help of a lawyer, it's still wise to have a family law attorney review your divorce settlement agreement to ensure your legal rights and interest are protected.
Divorce is rarely easy, but choosing the right divorce lawyer significantly increases the chances of a less stressful process, especially when children are involved, whose best interest is always the top priority. Our California divorce and family law lawyers will look at this topic below.
A Divorce Attorney Can Reduce Family Tension
By its nature, divorces often create intense tension in families. Having legal representation on your side often reduces stress and allows you to focus on important decisions that need to be made. When you decide to retain a divorce lawyer, you should research to make sure you pick the right one for your situation.
For example, will you need a lawyer who has experience litigating in a family court or one who can make sure your mutual agreement is in proper order. In some divorces, the process can be complex and overwhelming over issues of:
- how and where to file for a dissolution of marriage,
- how your spouse is served with the divorce petition, and
- getting a court date set.
A divorce lawyer can handle all the issues for you, which will usually reduce the tension you are feeling.
Helping Resolve Issues with Your Kids in Divorce
One of the most hotly debated issues in a California divorce involves child custody and visitation. When you know there will be a battle with your spouse over child custody issues, the law is pretty straightforward, and every California family court will make its decisions based on the best interests of the child standard. Nothing is more important.
The “best interests” standard will consider a wide range of factors to determine who is the primary child custodian and visitation time for the other parent. Sometimes, this is not easy, as the court typically wants to keep regular contact between a child and their parents.
However, a divorce attorney can play a crucial role by explaining the child custody and support laws, how they apply to your situation, and what you need to do to have the best chance at a favorable outcome.
Even if you are in a situation where you can reach a mutual agreement with your spouse with no challenges, some have their visitation denied by the family court judge because of an improper parenting plan.
Judges don't want parents returning to their court due to a lousy parenting agreement, meaning they must be written in a specific manner, which typically means you will need help from a divorce attorney.
A Divorce Lawyer Can Help You with Financial Issues
In a California divorce, a judgment for dissolution of a marriage or a marital settlement agreement will specify the division of assets and debts,
If your spouse has high assets or net worth, your divorce attorney can help you receive what you are legally entitled to. There are numerous crucial financial issues where your lawyer could play a role, such as:
- who gets to keep the family home?
- what if the vehicles are under both names?
- what if a pension or retirement account needs to be divided?
- what if my spouse owns a high-profit business?
- what if my spouse owns a professional practice?
Many inexperienced family law attorneys cannot handle these usually complex issues.
Getting Guidance from a Divorce Lawyer
Experienced divorce lawyers will know how to guide their clients through the process as easily as possible. While these are typically emotional events, you must remember that while your divorce lawyer is willing to listen to your venting about your spouse reasonably, they are not therapists but legal professionals.
If you are seeking a divorce in California, your next step is to contact a local family law attorney specializing in divorces. Speaking with a divorce lawyer is an essential step before beginning the process. Your lawyer can provide important information about family laws and how to proceed step-by-step.
The goal is to navigate their clients through the legal system and obtain the best possible outcome. You need to know that while a divorce attorney can provide crucial legal representation, working together with your spouse through the divorce process has a lot of advantages, such as:
- it makes the transition for your children more manageable,
- it gives you greater control over the outcome,
- you won't force a court to make the divorce decisions for you,
- you will usually save a lot of money on lawyer fees.
If you and your spouse can remain civil and reach terms regarding the significant issues in your divorce, you will discover it is in the best interest of both sides. This is called an uncontested divorce.
There are also alternative options to retaining the full services of a divorce lawyer, such as limited-scope representation, collaborative divorce, and mediation. Furman & Zavatsky are California divorce and family law attorneys in Los Angeles County. You can reach us for a free initial case review by phone or use the contact form.