Los Angeles & Orange County Divorce
A divorce in Los Angeles County or Orange County (Dissolution of Marriage) can proceed through either an uncontested or contested litigation.
An uncontested divorce would require both parties to agree on all matters including the division of all property (including community and separate), spousal support, child support and child custody.
Community property is all property acquired be either party during the marriage. Separate property is all property owned by either of the parties prior to marriage or acquired by gift or inheritance.
An uncontested divorce in Los Angeles County or Orange County can be completed without either party needing to appear in court. After filing for an uncontested divorce in Los Angeles County or Orange County you will be divorced six months and one day after filing your “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage”. A contested divorce is more common in both Los Angeles County and Orange County.
A contested divorce will require a divorce attorney to appear in either the Los Angeles County Superior Court or the Orange County Superior Court for several hearings or settlement conferences.
Typically, the matters which are contested in the Los Angeles County Superior Court and the Orange County Superior Court are the division of property (Community and Separate property), spousal support (extent and duration), child support and child custody.
The first step in the divorce process after filing your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is to commence the discovery process which will seek financial information from each of the parties. Discovery requires that each of the parties disclose all sources of their income, whether it be W-2 employee income, independent contractor Schedule C income or income derived from a partnership or other business entity. Discovery also requires each party to disclose all their assets and liabilities regardless of whether they are considered separate or community property.
A contested divorce in Los Angeles County Superior Court or Orange County Superior Court can be a complicated legal matter which may require a trial for a judicial determination of who is entitled to a house, car, boat, retirement plan, business interest or other asset or liability. If division of property is required valuation of the asset or liability will be necessary.
After each party has completed their required disclosures the parties will file declarations with either the Los Angeles County Superior Court or the Orange County Superior Court. After full disclosure the parties will likely want to conduct settlement negotiations to avoid a trial. Settlement negotiations are confidential and either party is afforded an opportunity to make a settlement offer and or to reject the opposing parties’ settlement offer without consequence. Settlement is the preferable alternative to trial but if complex legal matters cannot be resolved reasonably by settlement because one of the parties is being unreasonable or relying on erroneous legal reasoning it will be set for trial before the Los Angeles County Superior Court or the Orange County Superior Court as appropriate.
Trial will consist of you and your attorney appearing in either the Los Angeles County Superior Court or the Orange County Superior Court to present evidence and legal argument to establish the legal basis for your claim to ownership of each piece of property, source of income or liability. Once the trial is over the Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge or the Orange County Superior Court Judge will make a ruling and issue a judgment describing each of the parties’ legal rights to the contested property, income or liability. The Los Angeles County Superior Judge or Orange County Superior Court Judges’ decision will require the parties to divide the property in accordance with the judgment in a timely manner.
The judgment of the Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge or the Orange County Superior Court Judge is final but may be appealed if you believe there is an error of law, an error in applying the law, a finding of fact not supported by the record, an abuse of discretion or for a violation of your constitutional rights. No other grounds exist for filing an appeal.
The only other way that the judgment of the Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge or Orange County Superior Court Judge can be negated is by filing a motion to vacate and set aside the judgment. A divorce judgment can only be negated if you discover evidence proving that the opposing party fraudulently failed to provide all the required disclosures or because of some other fraudulent act which affects the reliability of the judgment.
At the Law Office of Sam Walker, we provide zealous representation in a caring individualized manner. Your attorney will be available to you directly and you will not be forced to call a secretary or paralegal with your questions. You will have direct access to the attorney who will be handling your case throughout your divorce. If you have any questions your attorney will respond to your call within 24 hours.
Counties We Represent:
Los Angeles County, Orange County and surrounding.