Newport Beach Divorce Lawyer
If you are going through a divorce, a divorce attorney can help you and your interests. Divorces are challenging on the mental and emotional wellbeing of everyone involved, making them difficult to handle alone. A divorce attorney can help you fight for your rights and interests during property division or custody cases.
A Newport Beach divorce attorney such as Dorie A. Rogers can help you prevent the worst possible outcome of a divorce. Hiring a divorce lawyer to help in your case can reduce the stress and give you a level playing field to negotiate with your ex-spouse. With nearly 30 years in family law as a divorce attorney, Dorie A. Rogers is an expert in fighting for her clients’ interests.
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.
When Should You Hire a Divorce Attorney?
There are some cases in which you should always hire an attorney, such as with domestic violence or disputes that can’t be handled otherwise. If you and your partner have difficultly mutually agreeing on terms to raise your child, property divisions, or other aspects of divorce, a lawyer will become the middleman who will negotiate on your behalf.
Almost all divorces will require some form of legal counsel, making lawyers a big part of the divorce process. One of their primary functions is to ensure that you are within the state and federal guidelines, making the entire process official. If a problem occurs and you didn’t hire an attorney, there is likely no evidence to prove that you mutually agreed on a plan of action, making legal assistance later on much more challenging.
If your divorce is being handled through the state instead of by mediation or negotiations, you will also want to hire an attorney. An attorney can help you talk to the judge and ensure you are given the best circumstances you can obtain under the situation. Without a qualified attorney, you may end up with less visitation rights, higher alimony or child support, or loss of further assets.
What Can a Divorce Attorney Do for Me?
A divorce attorney can help you through the legal negotiations that surround divorce. This includes:
- Property division
- Child custody
- Domestic violence
- Minor’s counsel
When you hire a divorce attorney, you are hiring a negotiator who knows the legal system to fight for you. They play a major role in how much you might have to pay in alimony, child support, custody arrangements, or how much you get during the property division.
A divorce lawyer can also mediate for you. If you and your ex-spouse need to decide on a parenting plan or want to discuss a dispute, a divorce lawyer can help you speak to each other while giving both of you guidance. During the mediation process, they act as neutral third parties whose purpose is to come to a mutual agreement with each other. Through mediation, you might not need to go through a court hearing, which can significantly lower the overall cost of legal proceedings.
What Does a Good Family Law Divorce Attorney Cost?
A good divorce attorney will be experienced and knowledgeable in their field. Unlike a new attorney, they are experts in negotiations and know the law well enough to get the best outcome for their clients as soon as they can, making them more expensive. A new divorce lawyer will cost you on average $100+/ hr. while an experienced divorce lawyer can go up to $300+/ hr. depending on the experience the lawyer has. However, when you are getting a divorce, a lot of the decisions made are either final or nearly impossible to change. This makes an experienced lawyer invaluable to the divorce process and often they pay for themselves after the negotiations have settled.
Property division, alimony, and child support are all negotiated through the lawyers and/or the judge if you are going through a hearing. A more experienced lawyer may get you thousands off of your alimony, child support, or property division. They may even impact custodial arrangements, giving you more visitation rights or more financial support from the other parent. When going through a divorce, a divorce attorney is an invaluable asset to have on your line of defense to fight for your interests.
Are Alimony & Child Support the Same?
No, alimony and child support are two completely different payments after a divorce.
Alimony is also called ‘spousal maintenance,’ and is intended for the spouse with less gross income to receive support to live after the divorce. The spouse who has the highest gross income will usually be the one required to pay alimony. Typically, you can calculate the amount of alimony a spouse would need to pay by taking 40% of their monthly gross income. All states have a form of alimony system, but every state—especially community property states ofNew Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Idaho—have separate rules to qualify for alimony.
Child support, while determined and set by the state, is a federal law, meaning it exists in every state in some form. Each state has its own laws pertaining to the minimum and maximum child support a payer will have to give the other spouse, depending on the income of both spouses, the number of children, and the needs of the children. There is no clear-cut calculation on the amount that can be claimed as child support. Most states have their own set percentage of gross income that is contributed and determined by the court on how much the payer needs to give to the parent with custody.
Both alimony and child support have the right to be negotiated during or outside of the court proceedings. If left to the court, they will determine the amount of alimony and child support based on the state regulations, meaning you will likely pay close to the maximum possible.
When the negotiations are underway, a good lawyer who communicates between both parties can help you reduce the amount of alimony or child support you might be required to pay after a divorce. You might even be able to resolve the divorce without the need to go to a court hearing if you settle it through mediation or another form of mutual agreement.
When Does Alimony End?
Unfortunately, the point at which your alimony will end greatly depends on the state. Some actions taken by the other party you might believe should cancel out alimony payments won’t impact them at all. For instance, if your spouse cheated on you during your marriage, you could still be required to pay alimony according to state law. In California, spousal affairs don’t impact alimony payments whatsoever, meaning you will have to complete the term of the alimony payments set by the state, regardless of the terms at which you were divorced. Of course, lawyer negotiations and the court’s determination will also impact the result, so having a good lawyer can help you if you are faced with alimony payments.
Alimony typically ends in one of two ways: the term is up, or the other party gets remarried.
The duration of which one party is expected to pay alimony lasts a bit over half of the marriage length if the marriage lasted for less than 10years. A long-term marriage lasting more than 10years is defined differently and may be subjected to an indefinite period of alimony payments lasting until the other party gets remarried.
When the other party gets remarried, the alimony payments will end regardless of the remaining duration the state set. Even if the period of time was indefinite, the alimony payments end with remarriage, and the payer is not required to go back to court, the payments simply end.
Who Will Get Custody in a Legal Dispute?
Who gets custody of your children will depend on the situation you and your partner are in at the time of the divorce. If you mutually agree on who gets custodial rights, then that spouse will be the one responsible for raising the child. If the state is the one who decides, they will look at who is the more suitable parent, according to job stability, income, assets, other family, child preference, and more.Often, mediation outside of court gives both parents a better deal, as they come to a mutual understanding. If domestic violence, drugs, or other negligent acts come from one or both parents, the court may decide where the child goes.
A good lawyer will go a long way in arguing your case to the judge to ensure that your interests are protected during the hearing.
Divorce Attorneys Will Fight for You
When you are choosing an attorney, you should always ensure they have your best interests in mind. You are hiring them to fight for you during legal proceedings and rely on them to inform you of any potential conflicts in rights or laws. They are an invaluable asset during any divorce, giving you the peace of mind to know that you won’t need to worry about getting the short end of the stick.
Dorie A. Rogers has been a California family lawyer for nearly 30 years. She is an expert in her craft and believes in fighting for her client’s rights and interests. Her experience encompasses all negotiations in divorces. Don’t feel stressed or trapped —contact us online to get legal counsel today.
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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