Fullerton Divorce Lawyer
One of the most challenging family law issues that couples encounter nationwide is divorce. Although the reasons for divorce vary from case to instance, they are always potentially difficult for both parties. Finding a legal team that can offer the assistance required to get through these difficult discussions is a crucial type of support required for a successful case. For those in the Fullerton area, the legal team at the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers can help.
Fullerton Practice Areas
Dorie A. Rogers Family Law Attorney
Dorie A. Rogers, has more than 30 years of experience and is certified as a family law specialist by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Only a small percentage of California family law lawyers who have demonstrated high ethical standards and a unique level of experience, education, knowledge and skill in family law achieve this recognition.
Contact our Orange County divorce lawyers today to schedule a consultation with an experienced Orange County divorce lawyer. We offer a variety of representation options, including the cost-effective opportunity of working with our associate attorney, Lisa R. McCall, under the supervision of Ms. Rogers.
What Constitutes a Divorce?
A common law marriage or domestic partnership can be legally ended through a divorce. A divorce completely splits a married couple apart, together with their assets and finances, in contrast to a legal separation or annulment. California is a “no-fault divorce” state because any married person can apply for divorce there without providing any supporting evidence, such as proof of adultery. Per California law, one party may also request a divorce without the consent of the other, which is advantageous in the instance of domestic violence.
How Does the Divorce Process Work?
To file for divorce, either spouse must have lived in their current county for three months and have lived in California for at least six months. According to California law, if one person moves to a new county and decides to get a divorce before three months, they can do it in the county where they previously lived. However, if both spouses have lived apart and in different counties for longer than three months, they may file for divorce in the county where they currently reside. California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that these filings do not need any reasoning beyond the want to get a divorce to file.
Accepting and planning for a divorce are the first steps in the divorce process. The other spouse is then issued with divorce papers and has 30 days to reply before the divorce is determined without their input. Establishing any provisional orders, such as short-term child custody, which typically remain in effect until the court makes a final judgment, is the next step in the divorce process. The financial components of a partnership, including any debts, loans, and lists of each spouse’s income, are then brought before the court for division.
What Topics Are Discussed In a Divorce?
Which party retains which assets during a divorce is one of the most significant factors in the filing. Because vehicles, homes, and other personal possessions can signify years of labor and/or sentimental significance, property split is one of the emotionally taxing components of divorce, along with child custody and visitation. The two most prominent parts of a divorce concern children and property exchange, including the following processes:
- Child Custody: For families with only one parent, child support payments could be a lifeline. These kids deserve to live happy, secure lives without having to worry about money for things like school costs or basic needs like groceries. Child support may be able to ease some of the anxiety faced by newly single parents used to a dual income. Child support is frequently imposed as part of a divorce court, so having a legal team that is committed to their clients and dedicated to getting single parents the support they need from their non-custodial spouse is crucial to maintaining a child’s well-being.
- Child Support: When two parents do not cohabitate, the process of determining who will be the child’s legal guardian is known as child custody. These choices are typically made after a divorce when separated parents of a shared child must decide who will be the child’s primary caregiver. Two parents are not required to decide custody. In California, one parent can be given exclusive custody, or both partners can share it equally. Even though the judge has the final say in custody and visitation, she or he will often accept the parenting plan that both couples have agreed upon. If the parents are unable to agree, the judge will decide during a court hearing.
- Property Division: One of the main points of disagreement between the parties in any divorce proceedings relates to the division of assets and property obtained as a result of the union. Since there are no legal constraints on community property in North Carolina, the numerous criteria put out by each disputing party can serve as the basis for asset distribution. Age of the spouses, income, health, child custody arrangements, and several other factors on how this property will be divided between the couples are all considered during the property division phase of the divorce.
State community property laws apply in California. As a result, it is often assumed that both spouses own property obtained by either partner throughout a marriage. Without any provision to the contrary, a judge will evaluate the marital estate and impose a 50/50 division per Section 2550 of the Family Code, which mandates that the communal estate be divided equally upon separation.
What Kinds of Proceedings Are Common for a Divorce?
Since every divorce case is different, each couple will require a different kind of mitigation to settle their case. Depending on how each spouse feels about their partner, some might be able to avoid going to court, but if both spouses are too conflicted and unable to agree, going to court might be their last remaining option for getting a fair divorce. The following are the three typical paths that divorce procedures take after filing:
- Mediation: In a certain kind of divorce case, a mediator acts as an impartial third party between spouses both. Similar to a contract negotiation, the mediator works together with each side to create a written agreement that details any obligations as a result of a separation. Couples who get along well and are adept in diplomatically negotiating topics like property division, child custody, etc., are often given this style of divorce conversation.
- Collaborative Divorces: Collaborative divorce is an alternative to court proceedings and mediation. Each party selects a collaborative divorce lawyer to work with, and then the terms of the divorce are negotiated and settled with full candor from both parties. Although the collaborative divorce procedure can be difficult, it can be streamlined with the right legal team.
- Litigation: Litigation is the most common type of divorce procedure, which requires both parties to hire attorneys and present their cases before a judge. Couples who have gotten to the point where they are not capable of negotiating the terms of their divorce will often choose litigation to help resolve any divorce-related issues that are still fiercely fought between both spouses.
Understanding how these mechanisms operate is essential for a quick, less stressful divorce process, even though it has little to no bearing on future processes. As a petitioner, the party filing for divorce is aware of their motivations and the significance of this separation. As the respondent, they must be aware of the petitioner’s filing and take appropriate action.
Family Law FAQs
Q: How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Fullerton, CA?
A: One of the most contentious issues in almost all family law cases is the payment of legal fees and expenses. Each divorce case is different, meaning that the pricing, timeline, and settlement can vary in each divorce. For most situations, the average cost of a divorce in Fullerton, CA will be between $5,000 and $15,000.
Q: What Is the Average Retainer Fee for a Divorce Lawyer in CA?
A: A retainer fee is a one-time payment that reserves legal counsel for those seeking legal services. The typical retainer cost for a family law attorney in California ranges from $3,000 to $5,000. Typically, the cost of a retainer will vary depending on the services required and the length of the case.
Q: How Much Does a Divorce Cost if Both Parties Agree?
A: Because divorce lawyers are paid hourly, the length of the case will ultimately determine the final price of a divorce. The easiest and least expensive course of action for divorce is mediation, where both parties can mutually agree on the terms of their divorce in a timely manner. Otherwise, the cost of a divorce case can get exceedingly expensive with subsequent meetings and court appearances.
Q: What Is the Cheapest Way To Get a Divorce in California?
A: A married couple must completely concur on how they want to dissolve their marriage to obtain an uncontested divorce. In California, divorce mediation is the least expensive option, and with a lawyer’s assistance, all divorce agreements can be properly assessed and made legally sound in advance of these meetings.
Contact A Fullerton Divorce Lawyer
Beginning the divorce process can be exceedingly complicated for petitioners and respondents alike. Before taking on these proceedings, it is wise to speak with a Fullerton, CA divorce lawyer before filing any paperwork, helping ensure that any guardianship and asset retention are properly protected and accounted for before facing mediation. At the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, our legal team can help start any divorce case, helping those seeking a dissolution of marriage find the proper settlement. To get started on a consultation, visit our website and contact us for more information.
Orange County Divorce FAQs (Frequently Asked 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.
- 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.
If I leave the house will the Court assume that I have abandoned my children or given up my rights to the house?
No. In fact the Family Law Code specifically states that there can be no negative assumption about a party leaving the home.
If one spouse has been unfaithful during the marriage can that be used to gain an advantage in Court?
No. California is a “no fault” divorce State.
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.
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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