Masson & Fatini is an Orange County Family Law firm, providing services to clients all throughout Southern California, including Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino counties. It is our goal to provide the highest-quality service to our family law clients.
Our extensive family law services are customized to the particular needs of each client. Our Orange County Divorce attorney’s are experienced in divorces, legal separation, paternity, post-judgment modifications and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. We represent clients in all aspects of their divorce including child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, separate and community property characterization, division of property and complex property issues. Please contact us if you would like to arrange an appointment or have further questions.
A divorce in California is also known as a dissolution of marriage. In a divorce, all related issues are typically resolved and your marital status terminated. These issues involve child custody, visitation, child support, alimony or spousal support, characterization of separate and community property, division of property, assets and debts, reimbursements and credits for separate property spent on community debts or assets and any other issues regarding the marriage.
Traditional Divorce Process
The traditional divorce process begins when one spouse files a Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Court. Additional papers are required if there are minor children of the marriage. The spouse that files is known to the Courts as the Petitioner. Once the papers are filed they are required to be properly served on the other spouse and that spouse has 30 days from the service to prepare, serve and file a Response to the Summons and Petition. Both the Petition and Response indicates the parties’ initial position in the divorce.
Ordinarily one or both parties hire an attorney before or after filing papers with the Court. An attorney can ethically represent and give legal advice to only one spouse.
If a spouse is not fully aware of their separate property and community assets, debts or income of the other spouse, the discovery process can be utilized to gather the information by requesting bank statements, credit cards, paycheck stubs and other financial documents from either the other spouse or financial institutions. Discovery can also be utilized to sort out other important issues in your matter such as the characterization of complex separate and community property issues.
To conclude a divorce the two most common approaches include:
Settlement: A full settlement is also called an “uncontested divorce.” In this method the parties eventually come to a full decision and a written Marital Settlement Agreement or Judgment on all issues is prepared and signed by both parties and their attorneys. Even complex divorce cases can be successfully resolved with skilled representation and advice. Our divorce attorneys will be able to advise you on whether you should make the decision to compromise in a settlement or move forward with having the Court decide your matter. Having an experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney can increase reaching a good settlement agreement as well as providing you with cost-effective representation.
Contested Matters: If the dissolution case does not settle, then the parties go to court and a trial is held. After each party presents his/her case through evidence, testimony of lay and expert witnesses, the Judge rules on the matter. A trial can be as short as an hour or two, or in complex cases, can require several weeks. Having a family law attorney who has extensive experience in trial litigation is extremely important for increasing your chances of a successful win in the Courtroom. You can trust that our attorneys have the experience and expertise to aggressively represent you if your matter goes to trial.
Combination of Settlement and Contested Matters: A matter falls under this category when they are able to settle some issues but not all issues. In this type of situation, the parties have written agreements on the issues they have resolved but will have the Court decide on the unresolved issues. An example of this is when spouses are agreeable to child custody and property division but cannot agree on Spousal Support and Attorney’s Fees. An agreement is written establishing the agreement on the custody and property issues and the Court decides at a trial the issues on Spousal Support and Attorney’s Fees.
How can we help?
We have extensive experience in all aspects of Family Law and we can help you at whatever stage you are at in the divorce process. Our divorce attorneys can provide detailed advice that will help you make decisions about your divorce so you can move on with your life in confidence. Contact us today if you have additional questions or would like to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys.