Dedicated Exclusively to Divorce & Family Law
Pinkham & Associates
Orange County Divorce & Family Law Attorneys
Pinkham & Associates is a dedicated Divorce and Family Law firm. We have been in practice for nearly twenty years. In addition to divorce, family law includes child support, child custody & visitations, spousal support issues, domestic violence, divorce mediation and several other more subtle areas. We are litigators. We have been litigating for all of our years in practice and we are very comfortable and confident fighting hard for our clients both in and out of court rooms.
However, although there are occasions when litigation is absolutely necessary, we are at all times cognizant of the fact that prolonged litigation is both time consuming and expensive. Therefore, anytime time we can negotiate a settlement that benefits our clients and we are able to avoid court or arguing before a judge, we are able to save our clients’ time, money and anguish. This being said, we only engage in settlement talks when the ends justify the means. We will not ever recommend a settlement that is not as good or better than we would expect to receive through court orders in court. As a side not, we find that people that are able to negotiate a settlement they can live with outside of court, are far more likely to follow those court orders through the years that if they had gone to court and received orders that were ordered on them by a judge.
Douglas S. Pinkham, Orange County Divorce Attorney – Yelp
Contact us for a free telephonic consultation and we will personally help to guide you through the process.
Pinkham & Associates APLC
Orange County Divorce Lawyers
Obviously, the battle of litigation is more costly and time consuming than agreeing outside of court and avoiding hearings before a judge, but often we do not have a choice. Sometimes, litigation is the only solution to finishing your divorce.
For example, if the other side takes an unreasonable legal position, or demands more than they have coming to them, litigation is necessary. However, it is important to pay special attention to whether the other party, or the other attorney or worse yet, your own divorce attorney, may be “over-litigating” your divorce in general or on any particular issue. Is the other side litigating reasonably, or are they just out for the fight? Are they making unreasonable demands? Does your spouse have unrealistic expectations? These are very important questions in order to better understand and determine potential depth of litigation that may face you and your team in your divorce. The majority of family law and divorce attorneys understand their client’s time and budget considerations, but there are divorce litigation attorneys who thrive on fighting, just for the sake of fighting. They thrive on over-litigating for the sole purpose of earning additional attorney fees with a greater concern on themselves than their client. Furthermore, although sometimes being tough and rigid are necessary, often times, these over-litigation or “Scorched Earth” tactics simply drive up the cost of the divorce without great benefit. There are however, tactics used in some higher value divorce cases, to intentionally over-litigate for the purpose of making it financially difficult and sometimes impossible for the other party and their counsel to “keep up” thereby forcing settlement that benefits the over-litigating party. This is unethical, but is not uncommon. If this is happening to you, you should know there are methods to combat these techniques.
At Pinkham & Associates we always fight aggressively for the legal rights of our clients while always being cognizant of their needs and priorities. If there are more direct methods for achieving a client’s goal, our divorce attorneys will discuss those methods with them, including a discussion of all the benefits and risks of their chosen tact and do a serious, real-world cost-benefit analysis of those chosen tactics. When your opponent is litigating unreasonably, forcing them into court to present their case to a judge may be the only way to win on a particular issue. These types of discussions take place throughout your entire case to make sure we are on the same page and moving forward in a cohesive manner.
The family law litigant should know there are only two ways to get through the divorce process: 1. Either, the parties agree on an issue and settle on that issue outside of court or, 2. They take that issue into court and present their evidence before the court, asking the judge to make the decision for you. If you and your spouse are unable to resolve one (or more) issues by means of settlement negotiations, assistance by a mediator, arbitrator or any other third party, the only other choice is to go into court.
Our Practice Areas
At Pinkham & Associates, we always fight hard for the legal rights of our clients, at all times and at all steps along the process. However, fighting for our client is not the most important objective, the single most important issue in any divorce is to be aware of and always cognizant of the client’s priorities and expectations.
If there is a quicker and more direct method to achieving our client’s goals, we always discuss those possibilities at the moment they arise. We always discuss the benefits and risks of any chosen tact and do a cost-benefit analysis of each possible path. It happens, but it is very rare to find a client that wants to drag out the divorce; wants to delay the process. We, at Pinkham & Associates, are proud to say that we always direct our clients to the most expeditious path through the divorce process. It may be negotiating a settlement, and it may also be going straight to court to avoid years of useless negotiations that do not benefit our client.
In California, if you are married for more than 10 years, the State of California deems your marriage to be a “long term marriage” and the court will maintain jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support indefinitely. Now, that may not be “forever,” but it like means that the court will maintain that jurisdiction until there is some “significant” change in the circumstances at the time the spousal support orders were made. If you are married for less than 10 years, the court will likely only maintain jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support for half of the length of your marriage. These laws can be confusing. We at Pinkham & Associates will help you understand how the duration of your marriage and other factors will affect your spousal support.
One of the more difficult issues in Family Law is child support. The two most important factors in determining child support are 1) the income of the parties, and 2) how much time the children spend with each parent. There are approximately 30 other factors that may come into consideration. If you are in Orange County and you are curious about how much money you should pay or receive for child support, call us.
The issues of custody and visitations are very sensitive. As a matter of fact, the term “custody” has two different meanings: physical custody, and legal custody. They really have nothing to do with each other and understanding the difference between each is a must for anyone going through it.
Division of Property
In a divorce, the characterization of property must be determined before the judge can divide and disperse the property. Characterization means determining whether a certain piece of property is the wife’s separate property, the husband separate property, or community property. This is not always easy to determine.
Unbundled services are an emerging area of law; if you simply need to hire an attorney to help you file a document, or to help you prepare a motion, we are happy to do that as well. We can also help with you with issues of Domestic Violence, as well as Annulment, Visitations, or any family law and divorce related legal case.
We Practice Divorce & Family Law Only
At Pinkham & Associates, we are a dedicated Family Law Firm in Orange County California practicing Divorce and all related Family Law issues. If you, or anyone you know needs advice about their divorce or family or legal matter, call us, we can help. When a marriage fails there are many issues that may need to be addressed, issues of child custody and visitations schedules, financial support of your children, issues of spousal support, and the division of all of your community property and belongings, including bank accounts, cars, and retirement accounts. Also, one party or the other may be self-employed or own their own business, and that business is likely to be a community property asset and will need to be valued and divided between the parties one way or another. There are also many other family law issues that we help our clients with, such as paternity cases, annulments, domestic violence, grandparent rights, and more. If you are involved in a Family Law matter, please look around our website for more information and videos on a number of different topics. We know you will have questions, if you are comfortable with talking to a Family Law Attorney, call us, we truly are happy to talk to you.
How does it all work?
Explore the wealth of information we’ve provided here to help familiarize yourself with some of the processes regarding divorce, custody and support, paternity, or other legal services that are available to you. We’ve also made a broad range of additional articles and testimonials available to you.
Where do I begin?
We can help you through your toughest of times, whether you’re ready to o move on from your marriage, or if you have child custody and child support issues, or whether you’re struggling with spousal support or domestic violence. It all starts with a simple call and we’ll be happy to provide you with a consultation at no cost.
What Our Clients Say
How Much Your Divorce Will Cost
The cost of a divorce depends on many factors. If you hire an attorney it will cost more, but you will get your divorce done correctly the first time. It is always more expensive if you have to redo the paperwork in the future.
Aside from attorney’s fees, there is a filing of $435 in most counties in California. There are a few counties that have slightly higher fees. Also, keep in mind that you are not required to hire an attorney, but it may be very difficult to complete your divorce properly without legal help.
There are a number of ways to get your divorce completed.
You can hire a Divorce Attorney generally to handle your entire Divorce, also known as Dissolution of Marriage or Dissolution of Domestic Partnership. The total cost of a Divorce Attorney will be dictated by three major factors; the first being the attorney’s hourly rate which can range anywhere from $300 to $700 per hour in Orange County; the second factor is the total amount of hours necessary to complete your divorce, and the third major factor relates to the amount of issues or complication of issues in your particular divorce. The more complicated, or the greater the amount of issues in your particular divorce, the more expensive it will be to complete. Lastly, you should be aware that the amount of animosity between the parties is a large factor. Obviously, the greater the animosity between the parties, the more time it will take to fight it out and therefore the greater the expense. So, unless you know in advance exactly how many hours your divorce would take and what that hourly rate will be, it is impossible to determine how much an attorney will cost to complete it. However, an experienced (10+ years) and knowledgeable attorney can save you thousands of dollars in legal fees and countless hours in unnecessary legal battles. The right attorney would have done this hundreds, if not thousands, of times. They can see dozens of red flags where you would be convinced everything is fine and they should ensure you get the best outcome.
You can also hire an attorney to simply do the paperwork for you, sort of on an A La Carte basis. For example, we charge a flat fee to assist some clients with filing their initial divorce paperwork.
We will also give them the information required to get it filed with the court and get the other party served properly. This is likely the most expeditious method for someone who does not have the resources to pay an attorney to go to court for them.
You can also hire a paralegal to assist you in preparing your paperwork. However, paralegals are not allowed to give you legal advice and they do not go to court. Therefore they do not truly understand the paperwork. Therefore, this is usually a very ineffective and dangerous method, and often costly, as you may very well need to hire an attorney after you learn the paperwork the paralegal compiled was done incorrectly. I say dangerous, because we get calls every month from people who hired a paralegal to assist them in completing their paperwork and they tell me that after 5 or 6 or 10 years they learned they are still married and that the paperwork never got completed properly. Again, this is because paralegals never walk into court, so they really do not understand the true effect of the paperwork that they fill out. In addition, when filling out the paperwork, certain boxes need to be checked, or not checked, spaces need to be filled in, and other items need to be marked or completed. A paralegal cannot complete those boxes without asking you questions and telling you what the box means. This means, the paralegal is going to inherently provide you with legal advice, which is illegal. Paralegals are not allowed to dispense legal advice.
Lastly, you can try to complete the paperwork on your own. This is obviously free, but you may not be able to figure out the paperwork. Obviously, this too can be dangerous or cost-ineffective if you still later find yourself in need of an attorney for real legal help. You probably shouldn’t try to act as an attorney, the possible consequences are not simply worth the savings. You would be better off negotiating a discounted rate or a flat fee with an attorney who is willing to work with you.
If you are in California and you have any further questions, please call us for assistance at 714 730 0111.
Hiring Us as Your Orange County Divorce Attorneys
A Personal Message From The Founder
If you are reading this page you are probably seeking the assistance of a family law or divorce attorney. You are looking to hire a divorce professional to help you or someone you know with their family law matter. Why should you hire Doug Pinkham and Pinkham & Associates as your Family Law attorneys? Here are a few reasons our clients choose us.
I have been practicing and litigating exclusively in the field of Divorce and Family Law for nearly 20 years here in Orange County California. I do not practice Personal Injury; I do not practice Criminal law and I won’t file your Bankruptcy case. All we do is Divorce and Family Law. Also, I am a law geek. That means to say that I really enjoy the law, its subtleties and angles, the underlying issues and reasoning behind codes, the inner workings. I sincerely have an unparalleled respect for the law and the practice of law. I hold my ethics to the highest of standards. There are only a few things you can really say you own in this world, and your ethics are one of them. You will never see me sell my integrity.
You may think after 20 years of doing this that Family Law and Divorce issues are old hat. Actually, I have learned every single divorce is different:
Your family dynamic is different from any other family, your children and your children’s needs and desires are different. The Custody and Visitation issues in your particular case are going to be different. There may be issues of Domestic Violence and those are always individual. You may have a specific concern with regard to a retirement account or some other property. You may have a case where one or both of you owned a piece of property or part of your retirement from before marriage and that needs to be discussed and dealt with. You may have issues of business ownership or self-employment income and those are always tricky, and more.
These are all issues that may be different in every single divorce case and because every case is different over the years I have learned the importance of personally sitting down with my clients and really dive into the individual issues in each case and work together with my clients to tailor a united pursuit of their best interests, their desire and the best outcome in each case.
I am an aggressive attorney generally speaking, but I am also keenly aware that sometimes it is way more valuable to play it a little smarter, a little more subtle to achieve an outcome that could not have been achieved using standard aggressive methods.
I realize that when you hire a firm to handle your divorce case, you may have a concern that you’re going to meet with the principal one time and never see him again. That will not happen with our office. Although we do have very talented associates and the most amazing paralegal on earth, when you hire Pinkham & Associates you get me, Douglas Pinkham. You will meet with me personally and we will go through the issues and process together. Throughout the process, if you want to speak to me, you will speak with me. And I will be litigating your matter in court. Unless there is some relatively benign issue or a small, less important hearing in court where an associate may be present to save you some money, it will be me standing next to you and fighting for you in court. Obviously there are research and writing assignments, some document preparation, filing and other work that can and should be handled by paralegals. It wouldn’t make financial sense for me to bill at my rate to do some of those types of assignments. The bottom line is this, if you want to talk to me you’re going to speak with me. Also while it is not always the case, I often make myself available on nights and weekends. I realize that we’re dealing with Family Law cases, which also means contingencies, emergencies, and I make myself available whenever necessary to deal with these kinds of urgent matters.
If you are ready to hire an experienced and passionate family law attorney, call me, speak to me personally. My initial consultations are always free and I’d be happy to provide some free legal advice and help you determine whether I am the right attorney to hire.
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