Orange County Divorce Attorney
Award-Winning Divorce Representation in the Orange County Area
Did your spouse hand you divorce papers when you least expected it? Have you been planning on divorcing your spouse for a while now and are at last prepared to take the first step? Was the decision to dissolve your marriage mutual but you do not know where to turn for support?
No matter the unique circumstances surrounding your divorce, our Orange County divorce lawyers at Gill Law Group, PC will stand by you and protect your interests every step of the way. Call now to see how we can help you!
On This Page:
- How to Prove Grounds for Divorce
- Who Pays for a Divorce?
- Questions to Ask Your Divorce Lawyer
- What Makes a Good Divorce Lawyer?
- How Do You Prepare for a Divorce Consultation?
- How Long Does the Divorce Process Take?
- Modifying the Terms of Your Divorce
- Alternatives to Divorce
- What Sets Our Firm Apart?
- Additional Reading
California is what is known as a "no-fault divorce state," which means that you do not need to prove fault in order to file for a divorce. In most cases a couple in California can seek divorce based on one of the following grounds:
- Irreconcilable Differences - This can be any difference or disagreement between two people that cannot or will not be changed or resolved and has ultimately led to the breakdown of the marriage
- Incurable Insanity - This requires extensive medical proof that one individual in the marriage is incurably insane
Since both parties cannot share the same attorney in their divorce case, California requires each spouse to pay for their own divorce lawyer and any costs associated with that. In general, one spouse cannot force the other to pay their attorney fees on their behalf, no matter what the grounds for the divorce is.
Hiring a divorce attorney is a big step and you should always make sure that you're making the right decision when it comes to choosing the right lawyer for your needs. To get you started, here are 7 questions to ask before hiring a California divorce lawyer:
- How long have you been practicing family law and how many divorce cases have you handled?
- Can I expect you to return phone calls promptly? How can I contact you if there is an emergency?
- Will you be the only one handling my case? If not, who else will be working on it with you?
- How much do you charge for your services?
- Will I have other expenses that I will need to pay outside of your fees (investigators, forensic accountants, etc.)?
- Will I be allowed to negotiate directly with my spouse or will you handle that on your own?
- What is your plan for handling my case?
Only hire a divorce attorney to represent you if you feel that they have answered your questions satisfactorily and will provide you with the best representation.
The reality is that there are a lot of divorce lawyers out there vying for your attention. So how do you know what qualities make one divorce attorney better than another? Here are several key qualities you should look for when choosing your lawyer:
- Experience - Experience is one of the most important qualities to look for when hiring a divorce lawyer; you want someone who has traversed the divorce process before and done so successfully
- Strong Communication Skills - Since your attorney with be communicating with you and with your ex's attorney, it's important that they have the ability to communicate clearly and consistently
- Great People Skills - When it comes to negotiating the best possible outcome for your case, you want someone who can work well with others while still standing up for your best interests
- Good Judgment - Your attorney should be capable of processing and understanding the various details of your case and looking for potential weaknesses or making important decisions
- Dedication - Sometimes divorces can be grueling and go on for some time, but at the end of the day your divorce lawyer should be prepared to stick with you until the end and continue to fight for your best interests with the same zeal they started out with
One of the best ways to determine what information you will need to bring to your first divorce consultation is to ask your attorney. However, here is a general list to help you get started preparing:
- Find out if you need to fill out an initial questionnaire or form to provide your lawyer with basic information they will need for your case
- Be familiar with your marital finances and bring copies of any recent tax returns, W-2s or pay stubs to your meeting with you
- Bring a list of marital assets and debts so that your lawyer has this information on-hand
- Write down any questions you may have for your attorney- no question is unimportant
- Bring any prenuptial agreements or other marriage documents that you believe will be helpful
There are many factors that can affect how long it takes to resolve your divorce. Some of the most common include:
- Residency - California requires you to have been a resident of the state for at least 6 months before you're able to file for divorce within that state. Additionally, you must have lived for at least 3 months in the county in which you will be filing.
- Negotiations - If your divorce is uncontested or if you and your spouse agree on nearly all of the terms, your divorce can most likely be completed more quickly than if you and your spouse disagreed on most of the terms.
- Waiting Periods - After your divorce is ruled on, there is still a waiting period of 6 months before the divorce becomes final.
Over all, the most simplistic divorces may be resolved in as few as 6 months, while more complex divorces can take a year or more to resolve.
In addition to providing powerful support both before and during the divorce process, our attorneys are also equipped with the skills to help you alter the terms of your divorce decree after the fact. In the state of California, spouses can petition with the courts to modify nearly any aspect of their divorce, including child custody, child support, spousal support, and visitation, if a substantial change in circumstances should present itself from the time the order was first issued.
Acceptable changes in circumstances that may warrant a modification include:
- Substantial changes in income
- Illness or disability of either spouse
- Changes in a child’s developmental needs
- Loss of employment
- Relocation (especially to another state)
- An unsuitable environment for children
Our knowledgeable Orange County divorce lawyers can examine the circumstances of your situation and guide you step by step through the process of pursuing a modification. From filing the necessary court papers to negotiating with your ex-spouse, we can handle the legal heavy lifting and maximize your chances of securing the results you need.
When a marriage is coming to an end, is divorce the only path ahead? Most people in California are not aware that there are other alternatives that might be better suited to their unique situation.
You may want to consider these lesser-known alternatives to divorce:
- Legal Separation: If you are not entirely committed to the idea of ending your marriage, you should talk to your attorney about legal separations. A separation is closely similar to a divorce and provides much of the same benefits, only it does not dissolve the marriage.
- Annulment: For some people, a divorce is not enough, and they require the marriage to be more or less stricken from all records. A successful annulment will effectively make it as though the marriage never happened. This can be beneficial for multiple reasons, including religious beliefs.
Work with a Team of Orange County Divorce Lawyers and In-House CPA
Since we have an in-house CPA on-site, we are better equipped to handle cases that involve business owners, or those with complex financial portfolios, or divorces where financial statements of a business organization are essential in determining property division or spousal support. Working with a firm with an in-house CPA can help with strategies for:
- Tax implications of different property division scenarios
- Analysis of financial statements of a business with community interest
- Real estate taxes associated with property division
- Client-Centered Approach
- Trial-Tested Zealous Advocate to Protect Your Rights
- Fierce Negotiators at every step
- Excellent Customer Service Culture
- Named a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers® (2017 - 2021)
- Voted National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40
- Complimentary In-Person Consultation with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer
A divorce – whether it is uncontested or contested – is sure to shake things up a bit for you and your day-to-day life. To help prepare for the changes, and to make certain your best interests are not forgotten as the process progresses, allow us to step in to fight and support you. We're only a phone call away.
We are committed to getting the best possible outcome for you. Call Us!
Everyone who comes to our law firm has a different set of circumstances and different concerns. The underlying reality in all cases is that they need legal guidance and moral support. By recognizing what's important to our clients and considering the unique setting of each case, we believe that our divorce attorneys in Orange County are able to improve the lives of many people we encounter. We would be honored to be able to do the same for you.