No one imagines a future divorce while they are walking down the aisle. If and when it becomes apparent that a divorce is imperative, it can come as a shock to both parties involved. If you find yourself lost in this situation, simplify a bit of the process and read these answers to six of the most commonly asked questions about divorce.
What is the difference between an uncontested and a contested divorce?
An uncontested divorce means that spouses can come to an agreement on the issues of a divorce without needing to go to trial. This process is often preferred by spouses, being the simpler, faster, and cheaper of the two options. We recommend sitting down with your spouse before going to court, if possible, to work through the issues and come to a mutual agreement, before meeting with your attorney to finalize the process. This will not only save you time, it will save your family from unnecessary hard feelings and conflict.
At Von Esch Law Group, we know that, unfortunately, an uncontested divorce is not always possible. Factors like child custody and the division of assets can complicate the process and make it nearly impossible for decisions to be made. A contested divorce, while not ideal, can be made easier with Von Esch Law Group. You and your spouse can either proceed with mediation consultations or you can have Amy Von Esch represent you in court. Whichever option works the best for you and your spouse, we are happy to help each step of the way.
Do I have to go to court?
Considering that the majority of divorce cases don’t make it to trial, it is possible that you may not have to go to court. With an uncontested divorce, the legal files would be processed through the court and sent back to you and your partner. It is possible, however, for the court to request a hearing to ask about certain details within the divorce papers.
In the case of a disagreement over issues between spouses, it becomes more likely that a trial is required to dispute the conflict. Court intervention is not always necessary, however, if you and your spouse are able to settle your differences through mediation or arbitration. For the easiest divorce possible, try to come to an agreement with your spouse and file for an uncontested divorce with Amy Von Esch.
How long does a divorce take?
While not all states have residency requirements for filing a divorce, in the state of California, you must live in the state for six months before you can officially file. After you file, the state allows 30 days for your spouse to answer the petition. Following the filing of the divorce, the process can take anywhere from 60 days to 24 months, mostly dependent on if the divorce was uncontested or contested.
If a divorce cannot be resolved and requires a trial, it could take longer than six months to be completed and considered final. For as short of a divorce as possible, consider an uncontested divorce to expedite the process.
Do I actually need a lawyer?
This question is tough. The answer is technically, no, you do not need a lawyer from a legal standpoint. It is possible to represent yourself; however, that would mean learning the details behind family law, applying it to your case, and representing yourself in court without any legal training. Family lawyer Natalie Gregg explains, “It can be much more expensive to pay an attorney to mop up the spills of a bad pro se case than to simply hire a competent family lawyer in the first place.” While not hiring a lawyer to represent you is technically possible, it is never recommended.
Call Von Esch Law Group for a consultation before deciding the fate of your case. Regardless of your decision, it is always important to consult a practicing family lawyer so you know your rights and what to expect moving forward through the divorce process.
What issues are typically involved in a divorce?
When you sit down with your lawyer to being the divorce process, there are several issues you can expect to discuss:
- The division of property
Expect to discuss the possession of property such as home furnishings, automobiles, savings accounts, and business assets.
- Custody of children
If you and your partner have children together, the question of their custody will undoubtedly come up. Your lawyer will likely discuss the legal and physical custody of your children, visitation rights, and financial costs such as health insurance and college education.
- Child support and/or spousal support
For any divorce involving children under the age of 18, it is mandatory to include an order for child support. Child support payments depend on each parent’s income and the time they spend with the children. Spousal support is another term for alimony. Spousal support will not always be applicable to a divorce, one circumstance being that both spouses are financially stable and independent.
- Attorney’s fees
While somewhat self-explanatory, the question of attorney’s fees can be dependent upon if the divorce was one-sided, and the financial situation of the party who did not seek out the divorce.
Among other issues specific to your case, expect to discuss the issues above with your lawyer before proceeding with the divorce process. Each of these issues can be settled through mutual agreements with your partner or during a trial, should you decide to proceed with a contested divorce.
Should I consider Mediation?
Mediation can be an effective alternative to the divorce process, seeing that you and your spouse are on amicable, speaking terms. The role of a Mediator will not be to offer legal advice, but instead help you discover alternative options so that you may reach a solution that works best for you and your family.
Additionally, taking advantage of the mediation process will often save you money and conflict with your spouse. Amy Von Esch offers mediation services to help ease the divorce and provides assistance for you and your spouse to come to an agreement and simplify the process.
We know that the nature of divorce is complex. At Von Esch Law Group, we strive to make each individual divorce as easy and painless as possible. Providing over a dozen services when it comes to divorce proceedings, contact Von Esch Law Group to schedule a consultation and decide the next step for you and your family.