Handling Divorce Matters in Pasadena & Woodland Hills With Compassion
The Law Offices of Steven A. Blunt educates clients on divorce
Divorce or dissolution of a marriage is a stressful and emotional time. You need representation that helps you see past the now and plan for the long term. The experienced professionals at the Law Offices of Steven A. Blunt have a long history in dealing with divorce and dissolution. We can help you understand the process and all the details that can affect your life in the years ahead.
The legal process
The jurisdictional requirements to file for divorce in California require that you must have lived in California for at least six months, and your county for at least three months, prior to filing. Where these requirements have not been met, there are alternatives, such as filing for legal separation and later, after the requirements have been met, converting to a divorce proceeding.
In California, divorces occur in up to three stages, depending on the relief required:
- Temporary restraining orders. Where emergency situations exist, temporary restraining orders may be sought by ex parte application, with little or no advance notice to the other side. Temporary restraining orders may be issued with regard to any number of issues, such as emergency child custody-related orders, orders prohibiting abuse or requiring the other party to stay away or move out of the house, or even orders prohibiting financial moves. Temporary restraining orders have a maximum life of 20 days (or 25 days for good cause shown).
- Pendente lite orders: “Pendente lite” means during the pendency of the litigation. Most divorces take several months, and in some cases, as long as several years to conclude. More often than not, pendente lite orders are issued early on in the case to delineate the manner in which the parties are to conduct themselves during the divorce process. Pendente lite orders are most often issued with regard to temporary child custody and support, temporary spousal support, temporary possession of assets, responsibility for payment of ongoing obligations, responsibility for payment of attorneys’ fees, management and control of businesses, investments and income-producing property, and restraints on personal conduct. They can, however, be issued in any area where a need arises. Pendente lite orders are issued either by agreement of the parties or at a request for order (RFO) hearing. They remain in effect until the case concludes. If circumstances change before the case concludes, the pendente lite orders can be modified to meet the changed circumstances.
- Judgment: Entry of the judgment represents the conclusion of a divorce case, It contains final orders of the court on all issues, including child custody, child support, alimony or spousal support, characterization and division of property and debts and attorneys’ fees. In most cases, it also serves to terminate marital status and restore the parties to the status of unmarried persons. The judgment is entered after a trial has been conducted in the case, or by agreement between the parties.
Certain aspects of divorce judgments, such as child custody orders, child support orders and spousal support orders, remain subject to modification, if circumstances change and modified orders are called for. Post-judgment modifications are sought through an RFO, which is filed with the court and served on the other party. A hearing is conducted during which the court determines if the modification is justified and, if so will enter orders modifying the judgment.
Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven A. Blunt have extensive experience in family law, and we can help you whether you are planning a straightforward uncontested divorce or are dealing with complex financial issues, such as in a high-asset divorce.
No-fault divorce and California law
One common question clients ask is what it means to live in a no-fault state for divorce. Simply stated, this means that in the state of California, all that is required to dissolve a marriage is one party stating that “irreconcilable differences” have arisen that have led to the irremediable breakdown of the marriage. No-fault also means that, with certain exceptions, a party’s conduct during the marriage will not affect the outcome of the divorce. The no-fault rules also apply to dissolution of domestic partnerships.
The no-fault concept is subject to several exceptions. No-fault does not mean that a person who endangers, harms or acts in a manner inconsistent with the best interests of the minor children, or who acts dishonestly during the marriage or the divorce proceeding, goes “unpunished.” Bad parenting will be reflected in child custody orders. A party who is caught attempting to conceal assets or income will be “sanctioned” (punished) in any number of ways, including through orders requiring payment of the other party’s attorneys’ fees or orders dividing the community property unequally in favor of the other party. In extreme cases, orders limiting the offending party’s ability to participate and present evidence in the proceeding will be issued.
Uncontested vs. contested divorce
In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree to the terms of a settlement, and a judgment is entered according to such agreement. Court appearances are not required, which means the process can move much faster and cost less. A contested divorce is one in which a trial and a judicial decision occur. Not surprisingly, the typical contested case takes longer and costs significantly more than the typical uncontested case.
Meet with a knowledgeable lawyer in Pasadena or Woodland Hills, CA
At the Law Offices of Steven A. Blunt, we are experienced in family court, and we have a long history of dealing with the changing landscape of divorce and dissolution litigation. Whether your separation is expected to be resolved through agreement, or you are expecting intense litigation, our firm can back your case with more than 35 years of legal expertise in family law. Contact us at 818-337-3595.