Ending a marriage relationship is a complex and emotionally draining legal process that involves several steps, potential challenges, and a multifaceted approach. While divorce is rarely simple—and never easy—hiring a qualified and skilled Laguna Beach divorce lawyer can ease the entire experience and help you obtain a more favorable outcome.
Whether you are engaged in a high-asset divorce, are disputing child custody, or are fleeing domestic violence, you need experienced legal counsel from an attorney who understands your situation and what is at stake.
The legal team at Quinn & Dworakowski, LLP, has over 40 years of collective experience handling the intricacies of divorce law, from filing to finalization. We offer comprehensive and compassionate legal counsel to our Laguna Beach clients, preparing a personalized strategy that is unique to every individual case.
We believe in protecting the rights of our clients and advocating for their interests in all proceedings, from prenuptial and postnuptial agreements to property division and child custody disputes.
By taking on only a selective number of cases, we are able to give each case the attention and care it deserves. While we work hard to secure a timely resolution whenever possible, our team is prepared to go to trial, if necessary, and has years of litigation experience to back us up.
The process of dissolving a marriage contract involves several stages. Each phase of the legal process has its own considerations. Because California is a no-fault divorce state, either spouse can initiate a divorce without the burden of proving fault or having to provide a justified reason for divorcing. The following represents each stage of the process in a typical divorce:
Throughout each stage of the divorce process, your divorce attorney plays a critical role in handling paperwork, negotiating with the other party, providing legal counsel and guidance, and representing you in court. No matter the details of your divorce, the final divorce agreement will provide you with the manner by which assets will be divided, child custody and visitation will be arranged, and financial obligations will be established.
The legal mechanism by which one spouse offers financial support to the other is known as spousal support. The purpose of spousal support is to mitigate the economic disparity between both parties that occurs as a result of the divorce. Depending on different determining factors, the higher-earning spouse will be obligated to provide the lower-earning spouse with a definite amount of support paid each month.
The specific amount generally depends on the difference in income between spouses and both the standard of living and financial needs of the lower-earning spouse. The duration of the marriage also impacts the support, with longer marriages typically leading to longer support obligations.
Ultimately, the support is intended as a temporary provision, with an expectation that the supportive spouse will make steps toward becoming self-sufficient. Other life events may cease this agreement, such as remarriage or significant changes in income.
When a couple has children, similar arrangements will be made to establish shared financial responsibility over the child’s needs. In California, both parents are equally expected to provide financially for their children, though custodial parents will have the assumption of provision by duty of care-taking. This leaves the other half of the financial responsibility to the child’s non-custodial parent, which is typically provided in the form of a monthly payment.
It is important to note that gifts or vacations do not count toward this amount and must be provided in supplement and not replacement. Child support payments generally continue until the child becomes a legal adult or, in some cases, when the custodial parent remarries.
There are two types of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. It is possible for both parents to share legal custody but unevenly split physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right of the parent to make major decisions regarding the child’s welfare, education, religious upbringing, and health care, whereas physical custody merely refers to the right of the parent to have the child live with them.
Child custody disputes are among the most contentious and emotionally charged disagreements between divorcing parents. The outcomes can also represent some of the most painful consequences of divorce. In the end, the primary consideration regarding custody arrangements lies within the court’s belief of what is in the child’s interest.
To determine this, they will consider a number of factors, such as both parents’ relationships with the child, the parents’ financial, physical, and emotional stability, the home environments, any history of abuse or neglect, and the child’s own preferences. After weighing all these considerations and hearing arguments from both spouses, the court will award custody and assign visitation rights.
A: The cost of hiring a divorce lawyer in California will vary greatly depending on a few factors, including the experience level of your attorney, the complexity of your divorce, and whether it is contested or uncontested. Simple, uncontested divorces will be far less expensive than complex, contested divorces, for example. Traditionally, divorce lawyers will charge an hourly rate, which can range between $250 – $500 per hour, depending on the previous factors.
A: Retainer fees serve as upfront costs provided to secure the services of a particular lawyer. Divorce lawyers can charge fees from this retainer as the case progresses, billing for additional services if and when the retainer runs out or returning any unused fees at the conclusion of the case. The average fee for retaining the services of a Laguna Beach divorce lawyer can range between $2,500 – $5,000.
A: California is a community property state. This means anything acquired during the marriage is subject to division. Generally, each individual will receive about half of all shared property, which encompasses all income, financial investments, real estate purchased, and businesses started during the marriage.
Items that cannot be physically split will be financially divided based on worth. Some assets will be exempt from this division, such as property obtained before the marriage or as a part of an inheritance.
A: California courts do not show individuals partiality based on gender. In fact, each person is entitled to the same equitable distribution that is subject to certain factors. If, however, the court finds that the divorce will leave one member disproportionately affected financially, they may take this into consideration when dividing property and establishing spousal support.
The duration of the marriage and individual incomes of both individuals will also be taken into consideration when determining spousal support.
Divorce proceedings are often long, complicated, and emotionally draining legal procedures. Their outcomes can have a significant impact on the next phase of your life. The sooner you meet with a qualified and experienced divorce attorney, the quicker you can begin the process of putting your future in order.
Whether you have questions about what a divorce will entail or are ready to start filing, contact our office to speak with a member of our team and schedule a consultation.
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