Divorce is often the most trying time in one’s life. It will undoubtedly take an emotional toll on the family, which has to consider issues such as custody of children and division of assets. It is a stressful time and understanding what to expect will help you through the process.
If you are going through a divorce, you have plenty of company. Statistics show that over sixty percent of marriages in California end in divorce. What used to be an event viewed by society with shock is now sufficiently commonplace to be taken in stride by most of the people you know and, while upsetting, is no longer a disgrace. Most of the people who hear of your divorce will be divorced themselves, already.
It is vital to avoid reliance on the myths that surround divorce or to think that the often bitter complaints that one hears from couples going through the process or you hear from a friend over a drink necessarily accurately predict what will happen to you. You do not have to believe that a divorce must necessarily lead to vicious fighting or destroyed relationships. Especially when there are children of the divorcing couple, it is important to attempt to create a relationship with the ex spouse that will not injure the children and will allow them to prosper.
There are three courses of action that can be considered for a case of marriage dissolution.
Traditional litigation is the process where issues are resolved by a court. In many cases, traditional litigation can be an expensive and lengthy process. Both parties will retain their own attorneys, who will conduct discovery and present evidence at a trial or hearing. Each attorney will try to obtain the outcome desired by his client.
Sometimes, a party will represent himself in a litigated matter. This can be risky. A self-represented party is required to comply with court rules and procedures in the same fashion as an attorney.
Following the trial or hearing, the court will issue a decision resolving the matters in dispute. Examples of matters resolved by courts include custody and visitation, child support, maintenance, and the distribution of assets and debts.
The collaborative divorce process first begins with a conversation between divorcing spouses to ensure that both are willing to negotiate and work together in the collaborative process. If either party is unwilling to participate, a collaborative divorce won’t work.
The next step is for each spouse to hire an attorney. When you choose an attorney, it’s essential that you hire someone experienced in collaborative divorce and willing to use alternative dispute resolution, like mediation, rather than someone who wants to go to court and ask the judge to decide your unresolved issues.
Next, meet with your attorney privately to discuss what you want from the divorce. Your conversation should include how you would like to divide your assets and debt, how you would like to handle custody, visitation, and support for the minor children, and whether either spouse will support the other after the divorce. If either spouse owns a 401k or pension plan, you must also discuss with your attorney your preference in whether you and your spouse should split these accounts.
Is a process that allows divorcing couples to meet with a specially-trained, neutral third-party to discuss and resolve common divorce-related issues. Mediation is typically less stressful and less expensive than a divorce trial, and it usually proceeds much faster. Because you and your spouse have the final say over your divorce matters, mediation also allows couples to maintain the power and control in their divorce, as opposed to asking a judge to decide.
Mediation gives you and your spouse the opportunity to build your communication skills, even in situations where a lack of communication was the cause for the relationship’s demise. With the help of a trained professional, even the most communication-challenged couples can succeed in mediation.
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Divorce cases are very difficult and complex. You need an experienced Los Angeles Family Attorney to guide you through the legal process. Contact our law firm today at 562-439-9001 if you or someone you know needs the help of an experienced family law attorney. We will be here for you when you call. Schedule a free consultation!
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This is intended as general advice and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Each situation is unique and requires specific analysis of relevant contracts, facts and legal obligations.