The Difference between Legal Separation and Legal Divorce
There is a significant difference between being legally separated and legally divorced:
- When legally separated, you cannot remarry
- When legally divorced, you can remarry
Moving out of the home is not a legal separation. You must take note of the date, however, as this is the date that will be used on your legal separation documents.
Grounds for Filing for Divorce in California
In the state of California, the most common reason for filing for divorce is irreconcilable differences. There are two benefits to this filing:
- You have the right to having your divorce granted at some point
- You do not need to wait for another person to sign
Choosing to file on other grounds can complicate your situation and the divorce process. If you have significant problems with the other party and want to file for a different reason, it is important to speak to an divorce attorney.
Who Pays for a Divorce?
In California, the family code (and the code when one is filing for paternity) is supposed to be determined based on the relative circumstances of the parties.
The court requires both parties to fill out an income-and-expense declaration. This declaration will:
- Lay out the financial situation and conditions of both parties
- Give the court the ability to assess the financial standing of both parties
The court can “level the playing field”, meaning that the party who has greater means (meaning that they have more money to pay for an attorney) cannot out-litigate the other party.
When it comes to paying attorney’s fees, both community property or separate property and assets can be sold to pay for your attorney’s fees.
Equitable Distribution of Property
Equitable distribution is all about being “fair”. The court determines “fairness” not necessarily by taking a 50/50 approach, but it will look at factors such as what the parties have been doing and what the future needs of both parties are.
Non-marital assets typically fall into one of two categories (or both):
- Assets acquired prior to marriage
- Assets acquired through inheritance
What you have prior to the marriage and after the date of separation are non-marital assets. Generally anything acquired during the time of your marriage is considered to be community property.
Assessing the Proper Value of an Estate
If the value of an estate is at stake, we work closely with a variety of experts including forensic accountants, business appraisers, and real estate experts. Some of the documents we may require include:
Divorce mediation is when parties utilize a third-party to try to settle the issues that arise in their divorce.
In our state, both parties must use some form of alternative dispute resolution or a mediator such as a court appointed mediator, a private retired judge, or a judge sitting in the courthouse for the purpose of mandatory settlement conferences.
It is the policy of the state of California to have people settle cases as much as they can to avoid trial:
- Family Code, Section 217 provides sanctions against a party that is obstreperous or interfering or prohibiting the settlement of cases.
What both parties are unable to settle in mediation can then be turned over for the court to determine, such as:
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Property division
- Attorney’s fees
Enlisting the Help of a Divorce Attorney
A lot of your rights are on the table during a divorce. It is imperative that you understand the process and that you are alright with what is happening so that your rights are protected.
Custody is one example of losing your rights without being properly represented. You may initially agree to what you believe is a baseline custody order that will only last for a short amount of time. But as an attorney will explain, even the earliest agreements made in court can result in a lengthy uphill battle which may result in you missing out on events and memories with your children.
Why Should an Attorney Analyze My Divorce?
Lavinsky Law will analyze your divorce for free. There are two key reasons for this:
- You will learn more about your rights and how you should proceed legally and personally
- You will find out whether or not you feel comfortable with us
At the end of any initial consultation you should understand where your divorce attorney wants to take your divorce and what the likely outcome will be before you pay a dime. Depending on what we find during the discovery stage, we will re-analyze the situation and will work with you to decide how to best proceed.
Choosing Lavinsky Law
Lavinsky Law recognizes that we do not only deal with the law. We are helping manage the lives and protecting the rights of individuals who are often enduring the most emotionally tumultuous time of their lives.
We Believe in Honesty
- We do not know how much your case is going to cost until we are able to assess your matter
- We will be upfront about how certain approaches can impact your case and your wallet
We Explain the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- We do not believe in unexpected surprises for our clients
We Are Here When You Need Us
- We are available when you need us
- Each case has its own support member and we are always reachable by email and live answering service during after hours
We Have a Proven Track Record
- Our Family law firm in Los Angeles is proud of our history of upholding the rights of parties in many areas of divorce law
Lavinsky Law is proud to help individuals in the Los Angeles area successfully move on to the next chapter of their lives. If you need assistance with a legal issue, we are here to help. Brighter Days Are Ahead!
For a free initial consultation we invite you to call (310) 274-2717.