Contested Divorce In Orange County
How Child Support is Determined in California
Orange County Contested Divorce
When a marriage is irretrievably broken, ideally the parties can resolve their issues, finalize their divorce, and move on with their lives without need for judicial intervention. Consensually resolving a dissolution of marriage is always preferable to litigating divorce issues. But sometimes proceeding with a contested divorce is the only viable, available, option.
There are two means by which parties can complete a divorce: 1. The parties can agree how their divorce issues should be resolved on their own, outside of court (with the court’s only receiving and processing the required paperwork); or, 2. The parties can go to court, present evidence to a judge, and ask the judge to make decisions about the issues in their case.
If you and your spouse are unable to resolve your case by means of negotiation, assistance by a mediator, arbitrator, or other third party, you may have no other choice than to go into court, make your best case to a judge, and have the judge decide the issue(s) for you.
Litigation is, of course, always more costly and time consuming than resolving a case without contesting case issues from within the court system. So, it is all the more important to ensure that your own attorney is wisely guiding you on how your money is best spent. Most family law attorneys understand a client’s time and budget constraints, but some divorce lawyers are amenable to fighting just for the fighting’s sake – and billing the additional fees that accrue commensurate with the unnecessary fight. This tactic, sometimes called “over-litigating” or “churning,” rarely obtains any positive result for a client and always drives the cost of divorce much higher than necessary (or even possible for a client to pay).
A respectable and responsible family law attorney will always fight for the legal rights of their clients while simultaneously remaining cognizant of the client’s priorities – including managing their finances. Complicated cases can include retaining custody evaluators to determine what court orders are in children’s best interests, financial analysists to determine the value of property and the value of each party’s interest in property, the amount of income potentially available for spousal support and/or child support, and a host of other experts as may be relevant to case issues. Sometimes hiring these experts is valuable to litigating – or potentially settling – a case. Other times, however, the cost of hiring experts will likely exceed any advantage a party garners by obtaining additional information. A good family law attorney will wisely advise you about what your best choices are considering your own, personal, case circumstances.
Throughout the course of litigation opportunities may arise to shift the process to a less expensive means of resolution. Through the litigation process, many times parties can obtain all of the information they need to resolve their case issues without need for a trial. Once both parties more clearly understand the facts of their case (such as how much their property is actually worth and how much a support order should reasonably be), lawyers and the court system (including judges) can assist clients in resolving their case – while in litigation but without requiring a trial.
Some cases, however, simply cannot be consensually resolved. Where the parties’ positions on important case issues are too divergent for there to be any consensual resolution, a case must go to trial. As in any trial, a family law trial includes each party, through his or her attorney if they have one, presenting admissible evidence to a judge to prove that his or her position about an issue is correct. Where there are significant disputes about the value of property, each party must present evidence to a judge and let the judge decide how much that property is worth. Where there is a dispute about how much of each type of property should belong to each party, the parties must show the judge, via admissible evidence, that his or her position is correct. Where there are important disputes about what custody or parenting-time orders are best for children, both parties, as the children’s parents, must present evidence to the judge showing that what he or she believes is best for the children should be ordered by the Court.
A good family law attorney can and will advise you about all of your case issues and will suggest your best available solutions throughout the course of your case. As new information arises and potential options develop, your family law attorney should be clear about explaining those options and offering suggestions on which you can base your decisions. Appropriate cost/benefit analysis should occur throughout the course of your contested divorce. Even in a contested divorce, a good family law attorney will fight to protect your rights while simultaneously suggesting ways to minimize family conflict. Your attorney’s goal should be to ethically and professionally move your case forward throughout the litigation process, helping you reassess your case along the way, and offering wise solutions geared toward keeping both costs and emotions reasonably managed. Although family court litigation is not ideal, when resolving your divorce case in court is your best option a good family law attorney will assist you in making wise decisions about all issues related to your case and its best outcome.