When dealing with a complex, high-net-worth divorce, it is crucial to retain a lawyer who can get you the best possible outcome for your case. William Strachan is a Certified Family Law Specialist who has been exclusively practicing family law for 34 years; he offers in-depth knowledge and invaluable experience in navigating the California Family Code and court system.
Our approach to family law cases is based on negotiating and focuses on preserving and protecting you, your children, and your assets. Keeping your divorce and custody battle out of court is always our preferred approach to minimize conflict and keep costs lower. However, we won’t hesitate to aggressively fight for you in court, if that is what is needed.
The Role of a Lawyer in a Divorce Case
A divorce lawyer is a professional who specializes in family law legal services and assists clients in matters relating to a divorce. A family law firm can provide guidance, legal help, and support during this difficult time and can help ensure that the process proceeds smoothly and efficiently.
Divorce can be a complicated and emotionally charged process, so it is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer on your side. California family law is governed by the California Family Code, which sets forth the grounds for divorce and other family law matters.
Family Law: What It Is and What It Covers
Family law is a branch of the legal system that deals with family-related matters and domestic relations. It covers a wide range of issues, from marriage and divorce to child custody orders, and supports legal services.
Family law also encompasses pre-nuptial agreements, adoption, surrogacy, paternity, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, and the rights of grandparents. In recent years, the definition of family has become increasingly inclusive, as courts have recognized same-sex couples and families headed by unmarried parents.
Family law is constantly evolving to keep up with the changing needs of families. As our society becomes more complex, so do the issues that arise within families. family law is designed to protect the rights and interests of family members, and to resolve family disputes fairly and equitably.
If you are facing a family law issue, it is important to consult with an experienced law firm that can advise you of your rights and options under the law.
Grounds for Divorce
There are several grounds for divorce in California, including:
- Irreconcilable differences: This is the most commonly used ground for divorce, and simply means that the husband and wife have irreconcilable differences that have led to the breakdown of the marriage.
- Incalculable mental cruelty: This legal issue for divorce requires a showing that one spouse has inflicted mental cruelty on the other spouse, making it impossible to continue living together.
- Abandonment: Abandonment occurs when one spouse leaves the marital home without the intention of returning, and typically requires a showing that the abandonment was voluntary and without justification.
- Domicile: Domicile is another ground for divorce and requires that one spouse has been a resident of California for at least six months and a resident of the county in which the divorce action is filed for at least three months.
- Felony conviction: A felony conviction can be grounds for divorce, but typically requires that the convicted spouse be incarcerated for at least one year.
- Incurable insanity: Incurable insanity is a grounds for divorce, but requires that one spouse has been incurably insane for at least five years and that the other spouse did not know about the mental illness at the time of marriage.
What are the Requirements for Filing for a Divorce in California?
To file for a divorce in California, you must meet the following requirements:
- You or your spouse must have been a resident of California for at least six months.
- You must have been a resident of the county in which you plan to file for at least three months.
- Your marriage must be irretrievably broken.
If you meet these requirements, you can file for a divorce by submitting a petition to the court.
You will also need to file a financial disclosure form, which includes information about your income, assets, and debts.
Once the petition and financial disclosure form are filed, the court will set a hearing date.
At the hearing, the court will decide whether to grant the divorce and make decisions about child custody, support, spousal support, and property division.
Divorce: The Process and What It Entails
The process of divorce in California typically begins with the filing of a petition for divorce by one spouse. The other spouse must then be served with the petition and has 30 days to file a response. If no response is filed, the divorce will proceed by default.
Once the response is filed, the parties will begin the court process of discovery, which is the exchange of information between the two sides. This can be done through written questions, depositions, and subpoenas.
Once discovery is complete, the parties will appear before a judge for a settlement conference. This is an opportunity for the parties to reach an agreement on all outstanding issues without going to trial. If an agreement is not reached, the case will proceed to trial.
At trial, each side will present evidence and argument in support of their respective positions. The judge will then decide on all outstanding issues, and issue a final divorce decree.
Child Custody: Determining What Is in the Best Interests of the Child
In California, child custody is typically determined by looking at what is in the best interests of the child. The court will consider a variety of factors when making this determination, including the child’s age, health, and relationship with each parent.
Other factors that may be considered include each parent’s work schedule, home environment, financial stability, and ability to care for the child. The court may also consider the child’s wishes if the child is old enough to express a preference.
If you are involved in a custody battle, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can advise you on your legal issues and options under the law.
Child Support: Ensuring that Children Are Provided Financially
In California, child support is typically calculated using a formula known as the “guideline support calculation.” This calculation considers each parent’s income, the number of children, and the amount of time each parent spends with each child.
Other factors that may be considered include the needs of the child (or children), the standard of living of the family, and the income of the custodial parent.
If you are involved in a child support dispute, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can advise you of your rights and options under the law.
Spousal Support: Determining Whether Support Should Be Paid and How Much
In California, support (also known as alimony) is typically awarded based on many factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s income and earning capacity, and each spouse’s needs.
Other factors that may be considered include the standard of living of the family, the age and health of each spouse, and each spouse’s ability to pay support.
If you are involved in a spousal alimony dispute, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can advise you of your rights and options under the law.
Property Division: Dividing Marital Property Fairly
In California, property is typically divided equally between the spouses in a divorce. This is known as “community property” division.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if one spouse has significantly more income than the other, the court may award a larger portion of the property to the less-earning spouse.
Other factors that may be considered include the length of the marriage, each spouse’s needs, and each spouse’s contribution to the family.
How a Family Law Attorney Helps You Through the Divorce Process
Family law attorneys can help you navigate the divorce process, ensure appropriate legal representation, and protect your rights.
Our divorce services can include:
- Filing the necessary paperwork and documents with the court
- Serving your spouse with the divorce papers
- Attending hearings on your behalf
- Representing you in mediation or settlement negotiations to protect your money
- Advocating for your interests in court
If you are going through a divorce, or are considering filing for one, contact the Law Office of William Strachan to schedule a consultation.
Bill has over 34 years of experience exclusively in family and divorce law services and is a Certified Family Law Specialist. He can help you understand any legal issue and ensure that your rights are protected, including your attorney client relationship.
Schedule a no-cost phone consultation or a meeting at our law firm.