The Right Orange County Divorce Attorney Can Make All The Difference
The divorce process is rife with emotionally and financially charged decisions that will affect your entire family for years to come. A trustworthy and experienced advocate who will listen to your concerns is vital to ensuring that your rights and best interests are protected.
At The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC, we represent clients in Orange County and Riverside County, California, in complex, high net worth divorces as well as relatively simple cases. Our clients can rely on our commitment to providing exceptional service while handling even the most challenging of cases.
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.
What to Expect During a Divorce in Orange County, California
California has fairly straightforward laws when it comes to divorce and marital separation. If you intend to end your marital contract with your spouse, an Orange County divorce attorney can be an incredibly helpful ally as you explore questions of property division, child support, and child custody in your divorce. It’s not uncommon for people entering a divorce case to be emotional, stressed, and overwhelmed with all of the legal issues they’re going to suddenly confront. Having a reliable and experienced Orange divorce lawyer in your corner can help you approach these situations with greater confidence and peace of mind.
California state law does not require a couple to provide a legal reason for a divorce. Couples who simply agree that their marriage is irreparably damaged and beyond saving can divorce for “irreconcilable differences,” (also called a “no-fault” divorce) and many other states in the country allow the same. While you may not need to provide a specific reason for your divorce in Orange County, you should expect to undergo a lengthy negotiation process before you reach a resolution with your divorce and obtain a divorce decree.
Some couples can successfully reach divorce terms on their own, but they often discover eventualities and easily overlooked details that may lead to future disagreements and conflicts. It’s a good idea for anyone anticipating a divorce in the near future to consult a Tustin divorce lawyer as soon as possible about what to expect in their unique case. The pathway from a contested divorce to an uncontested one can be incredibly challenging, time-consuming, and stressful for everyone involved, and hiring the right legal representation can have a profoundly positive impact on the whole experience.
The Typical Timeline of an Orange County Divorce
Divorce proceedings start when a spouse files for divorce with the Orange County court. Their spouse receives a copy of the divorce petition from the court. Divorce typically takes one of two possible forms: contested or uncontested. In a contested divorce, the two divorcing spouses disagree about elements of the divorce petition, cannot reach consensus about co-parenting rights, property division, or spousal support, and generally require mediation to reach agreeable terms.
The end goal of divorce negotiation is to change a contested divorce into an uncontested divorce in which both divorcing spouses agree it’s time to officially end their marital contract and go their separate ways while in agreeance about the terms of their divorce.
After filing a divorce petition, the spouses of a dissolving marriage will each retain legal representatives who will handle their court filings, evidence gathering, and case communications on their behalf. The two parties will meet to negotiate the terms of their divorce, which will involve topics such as:
- Property division. California is a community property state, meaning the state considers all assets and property gained during the course of a marriage by either spouse as shared property between both spouses. Typically, California family courts aim for a 50/50 property division agreement, but this isn’t always exact, depending on unique factors that appear on a case-by-case basis. Some of a couple’s seemingly shared property may actually be one spouse’s separate property, and the couple may disagree about trading pieces of property or selling property to divide the proceeds evenly.
- Child custody. The most important aspect of any divorce case in Orange County is the impact of the divorce on the divorcing couple’s children. The courts of the state of California have a duty to rule in favor of a child’s best interests in any divorce case, and the parents need to reach a meaningful consensus about custody, support, and co-parenting responsibilities.
- Child support. If the court deems that a divorcing couple’s children would have the best outcomes by living primarily with one parent and limiting contact with the other, the noncustodial parent will likely be liable for child support payment to assist in the upbringing of their children. Child support amounts vary based on income level, the children’s everyday needs, the financial situation of the custodial parent, and many other factors.
- Spousal support. The court acknowledges that divorce may be considerably easier for some spouses than others. For example, if one spouse is a displaced homemaker without income or credit history for several years because their spouse was the primary and sole necessary breadwinner for the family, the court may decide that the higher-earning spouse is liable for spousal support or alimony payments to the other. The court bases alimony amounts on various factors, and it is possible for either spouse to return to family court for post-judgment modifications if they feel changes to an alimony agreement are justified.
While this may seem like a relatively straightforward list of potential complications, the reality is that any of these issues can lead to significant delays in divorce proceedings when the couple cannot agree to terms. Child custody typically yields the most difficult negotiations as parents are generally concerned with getting as much time with their children as possible and ensuring they have a fair say in major decisions in their children’s lives. Property division can also become a complex negotiation issue, especially if the divorcing couple owns significant assets and many pieces of valuable property.
Special Considerations for High Net Worth/High Asset Divorce in Orange County, CA
Traditionally, the definition of a “high net worth divorce” was any divorce with more than one million dollars in assets and property. Times have changed, and this figure is at the lower end of the high net worth divorce cases negotiated in Orange County today. Couples may share ownership over tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars in various types of assets and property such as real estate, expensive cars, and unique pieces of art.
Most high asset and high net worth divorce cases will require input from forensic financial analysts, accountants, and other professional financial advisors. Divorcing couples may need to determine ownership over shared accounts that may incur penalties if closed and cashed out at the wrong time or before they reach full maturation. If you are facing a high net worth divorce in the Tustin area, it’s essential to hire an Orange County divorce lawyer with extensive experience handling these complex divorce cases.
Orange, CA Divorce Lawyers Providing Certified And Experienced Representation
When it comes to divorce, every divorce client’s situation is unique, necessitating a tailored approach. In some cases, this could mean an aggressive trial attorney who will protect his or her rights at trial. In others, a skilled and compassionate counselor who will assist with a negotiated settlement through mediation.
At The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC, we are focused on doing what is right for your family. We will call upon more than three decades of experience to skillfully advocate on your behalf, whether in court or in negotiations. Our lawyers will passionately protect your rights and best interests. We strive to find solutions that allow both parties to move forward.
Our law firm represents clients in a broad spectrum of divorce and related family legal issues, including:
- Divorce mediation
- Dissolution process
- High net worth divorce and complex divorce
- Contested divorce and uncontested divorce
- Uncontested divorce
- Divorce with family-owned businesses and divorce for professionals
- Divorce FAQs
- Child custody and child support
- Property division
- Spousal support
- Modifications and enforcement
Orange County Divorce Attorneys
For strong and supportive representation during the divorce process, contact The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC, at 714-602-1492 to schedule a consultation with a Tustin high net worth divorce attorney. We can help you achieve your goals.
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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