Providing Divorce Representation to Irvine, CA Clients
Divorce is an emotionally challenging and often complicated process—partially because it can have significant financial implications for the rest of your life. If you have decided to end your marriage, or if you and your spouse have made the mutual decision to divorce, it is vital to learn about the legal process of ending your marriage contract. Perhaps even more important is understanding the value of securing legal representation you can trust as you navigate this process.
The team at the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers provides comprehensive and compassionate legal representation to Irvine, CA clients facing divorce. No matter what your divorce entails or how the situation arose, we have the skills, resources, and experience to help you handle divorce proceedings with confidence and clarity.
Irvine Practice Areas
Our founding 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.
Why Should I Hire an Irvine Divorce Attorney?
You may wonder why you need an Irvine divorce attorney, especially if you and your spouse are parting on good terms and have minimal issues to cover in your divorce. While your divorce case may seem simple enough on the surface, the reality is that navigating any case in the California family law system can involve unexpected complications and complex proceedings that you may not know how to handle on your own. Hiring an experienced Irvine divorce lawyer is a valuable investment in the success of your case, increasing the chances of securing a fair and equitable divorce order that suits your unique needs and interests.
Your Irvine divorce lawyer will help you gather the documentation and evidence you will need to present during your case proceedings. A lawyer can also ensure you meet all applicable court filing deadlines, make all required court appearances, and address every aspect of your divorce in detail. Reliable legal representation is especially valuable in a divorce between parents, since your Irvine divorce attorney can help you reach a child custody determination that suits your children’s best interests.
How to Initiate a Divorce in California
Technically speaking, divorce begins once a spouse or both spouses decide to end their marriage. However, the process does not formally begin until one spouse files a divorce petition with the Irvine family court. Some mistakenly believe that being the first to file for divorce provides a distinct legal advantage, but this is not true—it does not matter who files the divorce petition.
Additionally, there is no requirement to cite a specific cause for the divorce. For this reason, most divorces filed in California cite “irreconcilable differences” as the cause for divorce. This is essentially a catch-all statement that the marriage has broken down beyond the point of reconciliation. It is also possible to file for divorce with cause, such as a spouse’s criminal action or domestic abuse. Regardless of the cause, your Irvine divorce lawyer can help you file your divorce petition or help you respond to your spouse’s divorce petition.
Will I Need to Go to Court for Divorce?
Divorce litigation is notoriously difficult, expensive, and stressful. Unfortunately, nearly every divorce will require some measure of litigation, prompting the divorcing spouses to attend a courtroom hearing. However, the entire divorce case does not need to unfold in the courtroom. It is possible to streamline your divorce and significantly reduce the amount of divorce litigation you will need to endure when you explore alternative dispute resolution. Ideally, you and your spouse can reach a divorce agreement through alternative dispute resolution and then attend one or two court hearings to finalize its terms.
Unfortunately, alternative dispute resolution only works if both spouses are willing to undergo the process. If one of the divorcing spouses demands a trial, the couple must proceed with divorce litigation. It is important to remember that if an individual demands a trial for no reason other than spite, they will incur legal expenses equivalent to the other spouse’s. Ultimately, alternative dispute resolution suits the interests of both spouses, so it is always worth considering even if you have trouble maintaining civil discussion with your spouse.
Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution
The most popular form of alternative dispute resolution in California is divorce mediation. This process occurs outside the courtroom under the guidance of a neutral mediator. The divorcing spouses must agree on a third-party mediator and attend private sessions with the mediator and their respective attorneys. The mediation process allows the divorcing couple to negotiate their divorce terms in a low-pressure atmosphere.
The mediator cannot provide either spouse with direct legal advice, so it is necessary for each of them to have their own respective attorneys present during at least some mediation sessions. In some cases, divorcing spouses may prefer to conduct mediation by proxy so they do not need to meet face-to-face. This process will take longer than standard mediation but provides a middle ground between litigation and collaborative divorce and is useful when divorcing spouses have trouble engaging in constructive dialogue.
Nearly all divorcing couples can benefit from mediation. The advantages of mediation include:
- Privacy. Perhaps the most important benefit of divorce mediation is the fact that the process is entirely confidential. If you litigate your divorce, everything said during your court proceedings becomes public record and is accessible to anyone. If your divorce requires discussion of sensitive personal topics, mediation allows you to keep these discussions entirely out of public view.
- Efficiency. Mediation involves negotiating your divorce terms item by item. The process enables you to not only reach more personalized results, but also to finish divorce proceedings more quickly than litigation typically allows.
- Savings. Mediation takes much less time than litigation, meaning both spouses will incur less significant legal fees. Divorce can be an expensive process when the couple litigates, so if you want to save money on legal costs, it is vital to consider mediation.
- Control. When you litigate a divorce, the judge has the final say on every aspect of your divorce resolution. Mediation allows you and your spouse to have much more influence over the outcome, often reducing the need for post-judgment litigation.
Mediation provides a streamlined alternative to litigation, even if your divorce involves complex issues. However, it is important to remember that you cannot solve everything your divorce entails through mediation—namely child custody and child support. Divorcing parents can negotiate a parenting plan during mediation, but the Irvine family court must approve it before it can take effect. The court has a legal duty to ensure that any custody agreement serves the best interests of the children involved.
Additionally, complex issues may also require formal legal review in litigation. For example, if you are a high net worth individual and your property division proceedings include complex investments, business assets, and high value properties, you may need to attend court to determine a fair property division resolution under California’s strict community property statute.
What to Expect from Your Irvine Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is a difficult experience, even if you know your marriage should end. Hiring the right Irvine divorce attorney to represent you can eliminate much of the stress and frustration the divorce process usually involves and help you secure a divorce agreement that suits your interests.
California upholds many strict legal statutes concerning divorce, namely the state’s community property statute that forces a divorcing couple to equally divide all marital assets in divorce. To ensure a fair outcome to your property division determination, you must provide complete and accurate financial records, and your attorney will assist you with your financial disclosure process. Additionally, you will need to ensure that your spouse provides complete and accurate records. Your Irvine divorce attorney will help you ensure a fair and accurate financial disclosure and assist with any other documentation issues your divorce entails.
Another challenging aspect of the divorce process for many people is child custody determination. While it may be unbearable to think of sharing custody with your soon-to-be ex-spouse or reducing your own time with your children, the reality is that the California family court system upholds that children thrive best with equal access to both parents. No matter your situation, your Irvine divorce lawyer can help you make a compelling case for custody. Our firm can assist you in gathering character references if necessary and help ensure that your custody agreement is fair, responsible, and aligns with your children’s best interests.
Get Support From Family Law Attorneys Today
No matter the unique circumstances of your divorce, having legal representation you can trust is an invaluable asset during the process. Your Irvine divorce lawyer can help you navigate the complex proceedings your case entails, helping you reach a fair and reasonable outcome. Should you need to revisit your family court order in the future with a post-judgment modification petition, you will have a trustworthy attorney on your side who is already familiar with the details of your case.
If you have decided to divorce in Irvine, CA, it is essential to secure legal representation as soon as possible. Once you are ready to discuss your case with an experienced Irvine divorce attorney, contact the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers to schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about the legal services we provide.
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.”
How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in California? (2023)
Divorces are widely known for being expensive. Between constant court dates, hiring a lawyer, [...]
2023 Statute of Limitations Domestic Violence California – All You Need to Know
Domestic violence is a serious crime that can have long-lasting effects on both the [...]
California Divorce Process Step By Step
The divorce process is unique for everyone that goes through it. You could have [...]