Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers – The Law Offices of Cathleen E. Norton
The emotional aspects of a divorce are difficult–the legal aspects should not be. A competent family law attorney should be able to guide your decision-making by providing you with information and legal options based on your budget. Not all divorces are complex, and the goal of a competent family law attorney is to provide you with the legal analysis necessary to avoid costly mistakes in your divorce.
The Uncontested Divorce Process is fairly simple:
- One of the parties files what is called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, along with some other forms.
- The other party is served with the papers, and files what is called a Response to Dissolution of Marriage.
- The parties exchange financial information, including an Income and Expense Declaration and Schedule of Assets and Debts. Once completed, a form is filed with the Court letting it know that the parties have completed this requirement.
- If the parties agree on all of the issues relating to custody and visitation, support, and division of assets and debts, then your family law attorney will draft what is called a Stipulated Judgment, along with other required forms. Once signed by both parties, it is filed with the Court.
This process is known as an “uncontested divorce.”
In a contested divorce, the parties are unable to agree on certain issues like custody and visitation. In these situations, it is necessary to file a Motion or “Request for Orders” in Family Court to ask the judge to decide issues that the parties cannot.
A Request for Order is essentially a Motion filed with the Court that puts a particular matter on calendar. That is to say, you are asking the court for a hearing on whatever issue you and your spouse cannot agree upon. You can ask for child support, spousal support, custody, visitation, restraining orders, and a whole range of other things. The court will schedule a hearing during which your family law attorney will argue your case. Prior to the court hearing, you are required to file certain papers with court. This allows the judge to read both the Request for Orders and the Responsive Declaration prior to your court date. Do not just show up expecting that the judge will receive your evidence in court. That is not how the process works. And while it is always best to have a competent family law attorney represent you, there is help for those cannot afford counsel.
HIRE THE RIGHT FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY
When hiring a family law attorney, especially in a locale such as Los Angeles County, you want to be sure to make the right choice. Check his or her credentials and client reviews, and make sure you feel comfortable with your attorney’s ability to develop a case strategy tailored to your particular goals.