Why Hire a Divorce Attorney?
How Can I Ensure that I Get What I Want?
Will My Divorce Become Public Information?
Divorce litigation is complex. An attorney needs to understand laws, procedures, rights, and rules. A working knowledge of the judge's preferences also helps form the case. Litigators spend hours researching issues, gathering evidence, and developing arguments. All the arguments require thought, information, and discussion from the parties and their attorneys.
The parties are more likely to get what they want if they settle their divorce. In most divorces, one party values something more than the other party. The parties can agree on how to divide particular assets. If the parties disagree and litigate the issues, then the judge decides. A judge will equally divide the value of the assets and distribute them to the parties. Both parties may have kept what they valued if they would have settled the case.
Documents filed with the court can be viewed by the public. However, with a settlement, it is less likely that the documents will be disclosed. Very personal information does not require public disclosure. The more litigious the parties are, the more likely that "dirty laundry" will become part of the public documents. One party may file a request to have the documents sealed, but it is up to the judge to determine whether or not they should be sealed.
What Areas of Law are Covered by a Family Law Lawyer?
How do I Know if I Have a Good Attorney?
What Are the Risks of Self-Representation?
The main reason an attorney is critical is because the legal field is complicated. In California, a family law lawyer may consult statutes from the family law code, the civil code, the evidence code, the probate code, the criminal code, the California Constitution, and the United States Constitution. Every aspect of the litigation consists of rules and statutes. Rules also govern the types of questions asked, what types of answers are privileged, the form of the question, etc. An attorney understands the nuances of the law and knows where to find answers for complicated scenarios. In fact, law students spend several years intensely studying law only to learn that they have scratched the surface of the legal field.
It is difficult to know the main mistake that self-represented spouse's make but several people who have represented themselves in their first marriage have visited an attorney surprised to learn they are still married to their first spouse which makes their current marriage void.
If you are convinced that you would like to represent yourself in a divorce action, visit an attorney before you start the process. Make sure that during the meeting you take an honest note of things that you misunderstood about the law and rethink the decision to represent yourself.
A good attorney will explain the law, analyze the facts, and summarize the conclusion. The decision to move forward with litigation is the client's decision. If the client feels too pressured, the client should move on to a different attorney with whom he or she feels more comfortable. The attorney's role is to advise the spouse not force the spouse into more litigation.
My spouse is mentally unstable, can I subpoena the therapist's records?
Therapist's records are protected by the doctor-patient privilege. If the parent holding the privilege does not waive the doctor-patient privilege or put his or her mental status “at issue,” the court will usually deny the subpoena to release the records. The privilege can only be waived by the party holding the privilege. If it is not waived, then the other parent cannot subpoena the records.
What is the significance of irreconcilable differences?
To obtain a judgment for divorce in California, one party must declare under oath that irreconcilable differences exist in the marriage. Irreconcilable differences occur when one spouse believes that the parties' differences are so severe that they cannot be overcome to save the marriage. The court will grant a divorce by one spouse's declaration under oath that the parties' differences cannot be reconciled and that no amount of counseling will help the spouses restore their marriage. Even if the other spouse disagrees and believes that the marriage can be saved, the court will grant the divorce. This requirement renders California a no-fault divorce state.