Los Angeles & Orange County Divorce
As a seasoned divorce attorney with offices in both the Los Angeles and Orange county, attorney Samuel Walker has achieved positive judgements for his clients while reducing the stress caused during this difficult situation.
If you are considering a divorce, annulment or legal separation in Los Angeles or Orange County but are unsure which is the right option for you, contact the law offices of attorney Sam Walker for a free 15-minute consultation and learn more about your rights and how best to protect yourself and loved ones.
While no one wants to go through a divorce, annulment or legal separation proceeding, when circumstances make it unavoidable you need a compassionate and experienced attorney on your side. Contact the law offices of attorney Sam Walker to discuss your current legal mater free of charge and see if our experience can make the difference in your case.
Ending a marriage or legal domestic partnership in Los Angeles or Orange County can proceed through different legal avenues depending on the parties involved and circumstances surrounding their relationship. There are three primary ways someone can dissolve a marriage or legal domestic partnership in the state of California with each having a different legal process.
– Legal Separation
– Divorce (Contested / Uncontested)
Annulment – An annulment within the California courts is a declaration that the marriage was invalid from the start and thereby never legally binding due to reasons such as one of the parties being already legally married, one of the parties was a minor at the time of marriage, one of the parties was forced into marriage, fraudulent activity which led to the marriage or those found to be mentally unfit for marriage.
Annulments are the simplest process to ending a marriage or domestic partnership however, qualifying for an annulment can be difficult due to the strict standards required. If you are unsure if you qualify for an annulment, a free 15-minute phone consultation with us can help you determine the appropriate course of action for your case.
Legal Separation – Couples who choose to file for a legal separation are not legally divorced however through the legal separation process it allows the courts and both parties to come to a legal agreement regarding things such as assets, spousal support, property division and in cases with children, child care, custody and support.
Although it may seem identical to divorce, a legal separation is often chosen for religious reasons or to maintain financial benefits that remain when a marriage is legally intact such as wanting to maintain insurance or other benefits. In some cases, legal separation is the best course of action.
Divorce (Contested / Uncontested) – A divorce in Los Angeles or Orange County (Dissolution of Marriage) can proceed through either an uncontested or contested litigation. Regardless of the type of divorce you are considering you will need experienced and attentive legal counsel to provide legal advice and assistance to you during these times.
The Law Office of Sam Walker will handle your divorce matters on an individualized basis, and you will be provided with an attorney dedicated to your case from start to finish. Our legal counsel will provide experience and a caring approach to achieving the right results. Below are the two primary methods to divorce.
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.