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Why Should You Hire a Malibu Divorce Attorney?
If you require a Malibu divorce lawyer, partners Steven Fernandez and Mark Karney are Certified Family Law Specialists with over 50 years of combined experience dealing with every element of divorce. Furthermore, they have a group of lawyers, paralegals, and support staff members devoted to accomplishing the best possible result for your unique circumstances. This experienced group includes partner Crystal Boultinghouse, who specializes in the litigation of high-conflict family law issues.
California Family Code § 2300 specifies divorce, or dissolution of a traditional marital relationship or domestic partnership of same-sexed individuals, as a judge’s order that successfully “restores the parties to the state of unmarried persons.” Once the individuals are declared single again, divorcees deal with significant, life-altering effects and modifications in their rights, responsibilities, and financial status.
A certified family law specialist firm, such as Fernandez & Karney divorce attorneys in Malibu, CA can help you navigate child custody and child support issues in your case. If you are wondering whether it is worth getting a divorce lawyer, schedule a free consultation with an attorney to learn more.
How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Malibu Cost?
Since navigating the law can be tricky, in most cases, it is wise to hire a divorce lawyer in Los Angeles. Although individual cases vary, the total cost of the proceedings is between $12,500 and $15,300 (based on the hourly rates of the Malibu divorce attorney’s law firm). Simpler cases are often more affordable to resolve since less time will be required.
It’s important to note that cost isn’t the only concern when you’re getting divorced. You also have to make sure you meet California’s residency requirements. For a judge to approve a divorce in California, the partners should have been citizens of the state for six months, and in the county where they filed for a minimum of three months.
An exception to this guideline is allowed when it comes to nullity procedures, legal separation, or same-sex marital relationships.
When Should I Contact a Malibu Divorce Attorney?
No one expects their “happily ever after” to come to an end, but sometimes life takes spouses on separate paths. When you’ve come to the realization that you and your spouse would be happier apart, it’s time to contact a divorce attorney. Some common signs that divorce is likely inevitable include:
- Lack of intimacy and companionship in the marriage
- Lack of trust due to cheating or addiction
- Feeling as though you’ve only remained together for the children
- Physical or emotional abuse
- One or both spouses’ unwillingness to seek marriage counseling
If you’ve decided that divorce is the best option for your family’s emotional well-being and happiness, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney so you know the important first steps and what to expect from the divorce process in general, as well as the specifics in your case.
If you haven’t yet decided to take the first step by filing a petition for divorce but you’ve been served with divorce papers from your spouse, don’t wait. It’s crucial to have skilled representation before the time limit to file your response expires. In California, respondents to a divorce action have 30 days to respond. Failure to respond on time means your spouse can obtain a divorce by default, leaving you no say in important matters like child custody, child support, and division of marital property.
What Are the Legal Grounds for Obtaining a Divorce in Malibu?
California courts offer only two legal grounds for divorce. Spouses may file for divorce by citing irreconcilable differences or permanent mental incapacity. At one time, California and other states required spouses to prove legal grounds like adultery or abandonment. This changed when then-Governor Ronald Reagan signed the Family Law Act into law in 1969 to cease the drawn-out court battles over the reason for seeking a divorce to better focus the court’s time and resources toward more pressing matters like property division and child custody. Today, like most states, California’s grounds for divorce are simple:
- The grounds of irreconcilable differences mean the spouses cannot get along on such a deep level that the marriage isn’t salvageable
- The grounds of permanent legal incapacity mean that one spouse lacks the ability to make decisions. This requires proof of mental incapacity through the testimony of mental health experts
These are the only grounds necessary for seeking a divorce in California. The only other way to end a marriage in California is to seek an annulment on the grounds that the marriage is invalid and was no true marriage under the law.
How Long Will a Malibu Divorce Take?
The amount of time a Malibu divorce takes greatly varies depending on whether or not the spouses agree on terms and can draft their own divorce agreement settling all matters including child custody, child support, and division of marital assets. Even in cases of uncontested, amicable divorces, the process requires at least 6 months. Contested divorces may take much longer as negotiations take place back and forth, the spouses may attend mediation, and both sides may present arguments in court before a judge decides.
Important Information about Divorce from Your Malibu Attorneys
In California, no divorce is final for a minimum of six months, so the more quickly you hire your Malibu divorce lawyers, the faster you can begin the next chapter of your life. This includes the filing of the divorce petition and summons having been served to the non-filing partner. In addition, if the respondent appears in court before, the six-month period may start from that appearance.
California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning the court will not designate blame for the disintegration of the marital relationship. Although evidence of misbehavior, such as cheating or domestic violence, might be considered when determining spousal assistance or child support, it has no bearing on the judge’s choice to approve the divorce. A basis for the dissolution could be a claim by one spouse that the marriage or domestic partnership is defunct or that “irreconcilable differences” exist.
The courts may also permit divorce or legal separation if one of the partners has become legally incapacitated. This is a complex issue that a Westlake Village law practice may be able to help you understand.
A divorce can encompass many different family law legal issues, including child custody and child support. That is why it’s crucial to have a certified family law specialist on your side. When you retain the services of Fernandez & Karney, you can rest assured that your case will be handled successfully and in a timely manner by a highly-qualified family law attorney in Los Angeles.
Family Law Attorneys Malibu or Santa Monica
Although family law attorneys in Malibu can assist you, it is the courts who decide the following aspects of your separation:
Although the state’s primary goal is to make sure children have frequent contact with both parents, these family issues are not so straightforward in cases there is child abuse or threat to the child’s health. In child custody family law matters, courts also consider the best interest of the child.
Considering the cost of living in Malibu, California, establishing a proper amount of child support is crucial to parents. Both parents have equal responsibility for the support of their minor children. However, one parent can claim a deduction for hardship in certain circumstances. A court can also make a temporary order for the payment of support in case child support is the subject of dispute between the parents. A family law attorney can provide detailed information regarding these legal issues.
When it comes to the division of the property, many believe that a couple’s property is divided into equal halves. But, family law in Malibu, CA, is not that simple. Division of the estate and assets may depend on several factors, including when the property was acquired, how it was purchased, as well as whether a written agreement regarding the property exists.
To get a better understanding of how the court determines these things, peruse the resources on our site, or reach out to speak with one of our team. As a certified family Malibu divorce attorney, we provide a free assessment of your case. Contact us today.