PINKHAM & ASSOCIATES REMAINS FULLY OPERATIONAL AND CONTINUES PROVIDE LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO THOSE IN NEED DURING THIS PANDEMIC.
At Pinkham & Associates, we take the health, safety and concerns of our clients very seriously and we understand that even during difficult times, life does not stop and people need help! While some businesses have closed, or relieved their staff, Pinkham & Associates has taken a different approach that ensures that all attorneys and staff continue to work diligently from home. WE ARE NOT CLOSED. Maintaining open communication with our clients and reassuring them during these turbulent times remains our top priority. Every member of our firm is accessible via telephone and e-mail during this time of “Social Distancing” because we believe that WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER.
The Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic has introduced new catch phrases to our society such as “Social Distancing”, “Shelter in Place”, and “Safe at Home”. Our community leaders are taking serious measures to protect the health and safety of our communities and everyone is expected to do their part. Every aspect of our life is being impacted, whether it be on a social, personal or professional level.
The sudden closures of the SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORINA-COUNTY OF ORANGE sent shockwaves throughout the legal community and litigants when it announced that:
“Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, all Orange County Superior Court locations will be closed to the public, including attorneys, until March 30, 2020. The closures are in response to the health concerns and public safety challenges raised by the Coronavirus (Covid -19) Pandemic”.
This closure has had a direct impact on family law litigants who had pending hearings on calendar and has caused a lot of confusion. Currently, all non-emergency matters scheduled to be heard during this period of closure are being continued to another date by the individual courtroom staff of the department that each case is assigned to.
During this time, the family law court is electronically processing and scheduling telephonic appearances for EMERGENCY HEARINGS ONLY, this would include:
- Domestic Violence Restraining Orders; and
- Emergency child custody requests that involve an imminent threat of injury or death to a child.
THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT OTHER MATTERS ARE NOT BEING PROCESSED. You can still file for divorce and request hearings for all other family law related matters, such as child custody and visitation, child support and spousal support, etc. Our office can assist you in navigating through this process.
Pinkham & Associates is dedicated remain informed and up to date with the fast-evolving courthouse procedures and real time changes that affect our clients and the legal community at large because we believe that WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER.
Orange County Divorce Attorneys
Pinkham & Associates is a dedicated Divorce and Family Law firm. We have been in practice for 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 courtrooms.
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 note, 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.
Douglas Pinkham – Orange County Family Law Attorney & Managing Attorney
Allan Johncox – Family Law Attorney
Ju Kyung Lee – Family Law Attorney
Liby Mendoza – Senior Family Law Paralegal
Iraida Oliva – Divorce & Family Law lawyer
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, maybe “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 the 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, this 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 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.
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 number of issues or complication of issues in your particular divorce. The more complicated, or the greater the number 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 it 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 Note to Our Potential New Clients
Anyone who is seeking to hire a family law or divorce attorney should know that the choice of the attorney is one of the most critical decisions that will make a difference to the final outcome of their case. While it is an emotionally overwhelming period at a personal level for anyone in this situation, it is time to be objective and make a well-considered decision about the type of family law firm to hire. Here are a few important reasons why Pinkham & Associates is the choice for many clients who are focused on achieving the desired results to their family law or divorce case.
Focusing Only in Divorce and Family Law
At Pinkham & Associates, we have acquired a deep knowledge and authoritative expertise in handling divorce and family law cases in Orange County, California because that is our sole area of practice for the last 20 years. We do not distract ourselves by dabbling into any or all kinds of areas of law. For example, we refuse to accept cases related to personal injury, criminal law, bankruptcy, or any other area. Our firm has steadfastly continued to focus only on divorce and family cases all these years. As a result, Pinkham & Associates has acquired the skills, knowledge and experience as a specialist in this area, and built an outstanding reputation as a family law and divorce law firm with a very high success rate.
Led by a Knowledgeable, Passionate, and Ethical Family Law Team
We earned a great amount of respect and trust from our clients, as well as other attorneys and Family Law judges, over the years. The credit for it goes both to Douglas Pinkham, the founding attorney, and the entire team of lawyers and paralegals who have been with us. We are proud of upholding the highest ethics and standards of the legal profession throughout the past two decades. We believe integrity and commitment to our clients is more valuable than anything else. That is the reason why clients believe in us and recommend us to others, and that has been our firm’s biggest strength over the years. We are committed to never trade ethics and integrity for anything. Our team is also exceptionally knowledgeable about California divorce law, and our deep understanding of the intricacies and subtleties of the law often becomes the winning edge in a client’s case.
Individualized Legal Strategy and Approach for Every Case, Every Client
One of the traps that a majority of lawyers get into is that they start believing that every case is the same. They start giving each case the same treatment, and as a result, they get into the cycle of taking on far more cases than they can actually do justice to. With Pinkham & Associates, clients have the assurance that they will receive exclusive, personalized attention to their case at every level until it is resolved to its best possible outcome. The greatest learning and the greatest principle over 20 years that we abide by is that every single divorce and family law case is different, and should be treated as such. Each divorce is unique, each family dynamic is unique, and the children’s needs and desires in each family are unique. The Custody and Visitation issues in your particular case are going to be different. There could be issues of Domestic Violence and those are always very 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 are going to be different in every single divorce case. This is why Douglas Pinkham, the founding attorney, will personally sit down with every client and deep dive into their highly individual issues related to the case. Our team will work closely with the client at every step to tailor a united pursuit of their best interests, their desire and the best outcome in each case.
Personal Handling by Douglas Pinkham for Your Divorce Case
While we, at Pinkham & Associates, have the reputation of being an aggressive law firm that is fiercely protective of its clients’ interests, we also recognize that sometimes it is way more valuable to play it smarter, and subtle to achieve an outcome that could not have been achieved using standard aggressive methods.
Understanding those subtleties and nuances of a divorce or family law case requires highly personalized involvement and attention from the attorney. At many law firms, clients may experience that they meet with the principal one time and never see him or her again. That does not happen at Pinkham & Associates. Although the firm has exceptionally talented associates and a highly dedicated paralegal, when clients hire Pinkham & Associates, they get Douglas Pinkham. You will meet with Douglas personally and he will go through the issues and process together with you. Throughout the process, when you want to speak to him, he will be personally available. Douglas will be personally 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 Douglas standing next to you and fighting for you in court.
However, this personalized attention to your divorce case will not come at the cost of financial prudence. The research work and writing assignments, some document preparation, filing, and other work that can and should be handled by paralegals, will be handled by them most professionally to save you on costs. The bottom line remains that when you wish to speak to Douglas, you will have the opportunity to speak to him personally. Recognizing the contingencies and emergencies that may arise in sensitive divorce and family law cases, Douglas strives to make himself available to his clients even on nights and weekends.
Call Pinkham & Associates Now for a Free Consultation!
If you are ready to hire an experienced and dedicated divorce and family law attorney in Orange County, California, call Pinkham & Associates now to speak to Douglas personally. Your initial consultation is free and we will be happy to provide some free legal advice and help you determine whether we are indeed the right Family Law firm to represent you.
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