Murrieta, California Divorce Attorney
Representation in Divorce and Legal Separation throughout the Inland Valley
Having conflict within a marriage is always stressful; when that conflict requires legal action to resolve, it becomes even more challenging. When you need an attorney to help with your family conflict, you want to choose someone who will not only help you get the resolution you need, but will reduce your stress in the process.
At Roberts & Zatlin, we understand what you are going through when faced with the need for a divorce or legal separation in California. We meet you where you are in the process, whether you are beginning to explore your options, ready to file, or need to respond to a spouse’s filing. We help you identify your needs and give you the information you need to make the decisions that are best for you and your family, and help you to understand the likely consequences of each possible course of action. Lastly, we advocate for you, protecting your interests when you may not feel able to stand up for yourself.
Most people who come into our office have never been through a divorce, and are not sure what needs to happen next, which increases their stress. We find that it can be empowering to understand your options for a California divorce.
California Divorce Options
When your marriage no longer works, divorce may be the only option. There are typically many issues that need to be resolved in a divorce. You and your spouse will need to divide your community property. If one of you needs financial support, alimony (called spousal support in California) must be discussed. If you have children, you will need to address the matters of custody, visitation, and child support.
Ideally, you and your spouse will be able to resolve these issues with your attorneys’ help and reach settlement, which your divorce judge will incorporate into your divorce judgment. If you and your spouse cannot resolve all issues in your divorce, you may need to have a trial. You will present testimony and evidence to the court and the judge will make a decision.
Some people think they do not need a lawyer because they do not expect to have a contested divorce. Unfortunately, a dispute may often arise about an important issue; in that case, an uncontested divorce may become a contested one. Having a lawyer on your side from the beginning may prevent a dispute from flaring up or from getting out of control.
Having an experienced California divorce attorney is important. A skilled attorney can help you negotiate effectively; if negotiation doesn’t yield the result you need, your attorney will know what information to present in court, and how, to incline the judge to rule in your favor.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to qualify for a simpler divorce option called a summary dissolution. In a summary dissolution, you do not need to go through a trial or hearing in order to end your marriage. In order to qualify for this streamlined process, you and your spouse or partner must:
- Have been married less than five years;
- Not have any minor children born to the two of you before or during your marriage or domestic partnership, nor any minor children you have adopted together, and must not be pregnant;
- Not own any land or buildings, either separately or together;
- Have only a limited amount of community property and separate property;
- Have only a limited amount of debt;
- Agree to waive alimony;
- Agree to waive your right to appeal the summary dissolution.
Most people do not qualify for a summary dissolution, but if you do, you and your spouse file jointly. It is quicker than a standard divorce, but you will still need to wait for six months after your paperwork is filed for your divorce to be final. Although summary dissolution is in some ways simpler than a divorce, there is still a lot of paperwork. Having a knowledgeable attorney will help ensure that your paperwork is filled out properly and that you understand everything you are agreeing to.
Divorce and summary dissolution both legally terminate a marriage. But there may be some situations in which you want to separate your life from your spouse’s, but stop short of legally ending the marriage. There are a number of reasons people may opt for legal separation, including:
- Not wanting to end a marriage for religious reasons
- Protecting access to a spouse’s insurance, military, or other benefits
- A trial separation and possible reconciliation, before committing to ending the marriage
As in a divorce, in a legal separation, you and your spouse would divide property, resolve issues relating to child custody, support, and visitation, and establish spousal support if appropriate. The terms of a legal separation agreement can take effect immediately, unlike a divorce or summary dissolution which involves a waiting period.
Compassionate Counsel and Powerful Advocacy for Your California Divorce
Attorney Kim Roberts concentrates her legal practice in California family law, including divorce and legal separation. She has over 30 years of legal experience and has guided numerous clients successfully through the end of their marriages and into the next chapter of their lives. Kim offers her clients the understanding, guidance, and responsiveness they need, while also standing up for them and their families when they need an advocate.
Roberts & Zatlin Family Law, located in Murrieta, serves clients in Temecula, Menifee, Hemet, Sun City, Lake Elsinore, Winchester, Wildomar, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County, Vista, San Diego, and throughout the Inland Valley. We invite you to contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your divorce or legal separation needs. We look forward to working with you.