Frequently Asked Divorce Questions2021-03-17T16:46:05+00:00

Orange County Divorce Questions

Divorce is a complex process and can be a source of uncertainty for even the most seasoned Orange County residents. However, when it becomes clear that divorce is in your future, it makes sense to get your divorce questions answered so you can begin preparing for what may happen in the months ahead.

Please remember that these questions and answers are formulated to help you build a basic understanding of the divorce process but should not be construed as advice regarding your case. For more specific answers as they relate to your divorce, contact an experienced Orange County divorce lawyer. The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers has provided Orange County residents with valuable insight and excellent divorce representation for over 30 years. Call (714) 602-1492 or reach out online for a free consultation regarding your unique case.

Legally as soon as six (6) months and a day. However, the actual process usually takes longer if there are children, support issues and property division.
You must be a resident of the State of California for six (6) months and of the County three (3) months immediately preceding filing your Petition. You may however file for a Legal Separation and later amend your Petition after the required passage of time.

A referral from someone who has had a positive experience is often the case. More and more people are using the internet to locate a divorce attorney. However, you should still make these inquiries. A few of which include:

  • Attorney’s length of time in practice,
  • Percentage of practice devoted to family law
  • Experience with your unique issues
  • Familiarity with the judges in your court
  • Office policy for returning your calls
  • Whether you will have input regarding decisions in your case
  • Ability of the attorney to listen to you and his or her rapport
  • beware of guaranteed outcomes or promises
  • Ability to consider the psychology of associated children or family members
  • Number of trials the attorney has experienced
  • Whether the attorney’s client base consists of both genders

The list is not all-inclusive, but you should be comfortable in relating any concerns or issues to your attorney. Remember, your attorney is your employee.

At the initial meeting be prepared to discuss your issues fully. Supporting documents will greatly assist the attorney in evaluating your situation. The types of documents needed depend on the kind of family law matter you have.

Financial records: Tax returns, bank statements, money market account statements, corporate books, profit and loss statements, pension statements, and credit card statements, promissory notes, to name a few.

Real Property: If you own real property whether situated in California or outside, copies of deeds of trust, lease contracts, appraisals and mortgage statements would be needed.

Agreements: Any signed Premarital, Post-marital or Cohabitation Agreement is necessary as it defines and may limit your rights.

Custody: Records relating to custody vary. The children’s school records, a spouse’s criminal history, domestic violence or drug and alcohol abuse would be important in some cases where it’s at issue.

During the marriage and during the divorce spouses owe a fiduciary duty to one another. This duty is much like being partners in a business. You have a duty to disclose “all material facts and information regarding the existence, characterization and valuation of all assets in which the community has or may have an interest and debts for which the community is or may be liable”, as well as all material facts and information relating to the income and expenses of each party. Moreover, each spouse must “provide equal access to all information, records, and books that pertain to the value and character of those assets and debts, upon request.” Failure to do so may result in substantial sanctions.

Your discussions with your children will depend on their ages and what they have seen or heard in the household during the marriage. Foremost is to reassure them that they are loved by both parents. Both parents are to avoid discussing “adult” issues and must refrain from making disparaging remarks about the other parent. Parents should strive to avoid conflicts in the presence of the children or to use the children as messengers. The most damaging thing that a parent can do to their children is to ask them to choose which parent they want to live with. If one parent actively badmouths the other and tries to “alienate” the child, talk with your lawyer. It is critical that your attorney be psychologically aware and have experience in “high conflict” divorce cases with parental alienation.

No. In fact the Family Law Code specifically states that there can be no negative assumption about a party leaving the home.
Maybe. Family Law is extremely technical. You should at the minimum consult with an attorney to be advised of your rights. A reputable attorney will encourage you an amicable resolution if the settlement is equitable and fair. If that’s the case, the attorney can assist you in preparing the Judicial Council forms and you won’t even need to go to Court. The forms themselves are daunting and easily rejected if improperly prepared.

As mentioned above, one of the most crucial behaviors to avoid during a divorce involves hiding assets so that they are not subject to the division of property. Others include:

  • Posting the details of your divorce on social media, which can be used against you in court.
  • Destroying your spouse’s assets—while it may be tempting to dispose of, deface, or withhold your spouse’s property, the ramifications of that decision can and will cost you.
  • Failing to abide by court rulings. Especially as they pertain to any children, you must abide by any temporary rulings or arrangements during your divorce; failure to do so can result in penalties.

In most cases, the judge will not need to ask you questions. Instead, the Orange County divorce lawyers will do the questioning, and the judge will likely only ask a question if there is a need for clarification regarding your answer. At the end of the process, once a divorce agreement is signed, the judge will likely perform an allocution to ensure you have agreed of your own free will and may ask some of the following questions:

  • Did you understand the agreement you signed?
  • Were you forced to sign?
  • Are you satisfied with the terms of the agreement?

In some cases, if you’ve properly filed all divorce paperwork and served your partner, and the other individual does not serve you or contest within the given 30 days, you can file a request for default and a proposed judgment for the judge to approve. However, if your spouse responds by serving you with papers to contest the divorce, you will need to pursue a settlement or divorce trial.

Couples divorcing in Orange County must often experience five stages before a final judgment is reached:

  • Filing a divorce petition. The party initiating the divorce must file a legal petition with the court to dissolve the marriage.
  • Requesting temporary orders. At this time, you or your spouse may ask the court for temporary orders regarding any children or spousal support necessary during the divorce.
  • Service and response. Depending on whether you are the initiator of the divorce or the responding party, you are responsible for properly serving your spouse with the divorce petition or responding promptly. You’ll also need to provide proof of service to the courts.
  • During this stage, you and your spouse will work together with your corresponding legal representatives to arrive at an agreement. If child custody and child support are involved, and you cannot reach an agreement on your own, you must meet with a third-party mediator to help.
  • Divorce trial. If mediation and negotiation are not successful, the courts will help resolve the case. Final decisions will be entered by the judge presiding over the trial and will result in a finalized judgment that specifies all decisions’ details.

In California, the divorce process must take at least six months and a day due to the mandatory waiting period of six months in the state, even if both parties agree on all points regarding the divorce. However, if there is any disagreement regarding the separation of property, spousal support, child custody, and child support, it could affect the timeline. Divorce can take much longer because parental evaluations, asset valuations, and other procedures add time to the process. The average divorce in the state takes about 15 months.

Legal separation is an official court order that determines the rights and responsibilities of two people. At the same time, they remain married but living apart and allows many of the rights of marriage to continue. Divorce dissolves the marriage and severs these rights, making reconciliation much more difficult.

If both parties no longer wish to continue with the divorce, the spouse that petitioned for divorce will need to file a Request for Dismissal. If the other spouse had responded to the initial petition, they would need to be served with and sign the dismissal form. However, if there is currently a restraining order, spousal support order, or child support order, the case cannot be dismissed until those issues are resolved.

Since California is a no-fault state, one party does not need to prove the other has committed wrongdoing to constitute grounds for divorce. There are only two possible grounds for divorce:

  • Irreconcilable differences—differences between you and your spouse have caused a breakdown of your marriage that cannot be repaired.
  • One spouse shows a permanent, legal incapacity to make decisions.

In general, each spouse pays for their own legal fees and representation or uses joint funds to pay for the same. In some cases, the Family Code allows spouses in an inferior financial position to request legal fee payment by the spouse in a superior financial position to provide equal access to representation.

No. Representing two parties during the same divorce proceedings is known as a conflict of interest for the attorney. However, you may both utilize a single attorney’s services to act as a mediator during the mediation stage. In this situation, the attorney cannot give legal advice to either party.

“Dorie is a very powerful attorney and a great asset to have on your side in any family legal matter. She is extremely bright and insightful, and I got everything I asked for in my lawsuit.”
Brit B.
“I would strongly recommend Ms. Dorie Rogers for any legal needs. During my Divorce proceedings, Dorie’s professionalism, expertise in Divorce Law and legal skill helped bring my case to a close in both a timely and mutually agreeable manner.

Additionally, Dorie took the time to understand me and my background to better represent me in my case. She showed a level of caring and concern that helped me through a very difficult time. She is an outstanding lawyer and wonderful person.”

Alan M. Greenberg
“Second to none – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dorie to anyone. She was my attorney for my divorce and custody case. She will do everything it takes to get the job done and all with a smile on her face. Her knowledge and expertise will assist anyone in a family law situation get the results they want.”
Todd M.

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