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Navigating the ‘Divorce Maze’ in Orange County, California

  • Divorce rates in the United States have risen steadily over the years. Orange County, California is among leading states when it comes to divorce. Statistics show that about 7 out of 10 marriages in Orange county end in divorce. The national average stands at 50 percent. This makes Orange County divorce attorneys some of the most sought after professionals in the county. How would one go about the divorce process?

    1. Secure expert representation

    If you are going through this process, you probably want to start by looking up some of the best divorce attorneys in Orange County. A quality attorney does not only provide information on set legal procedures. The attorney also takes time to understand exactly what you want to achieve and how existing law can work for you.

    2. Understand the options

    Several avenues could be used to end a marriage.  Orange county divorce attorneys generally advise that clients understand the specifics of all options, in order to select the most appropriate.

    i. Legal Separation

    In a legal separation spouses remain legally married. They are not free to re-marry. Like in divorce, the spouses still live separately and divide property. If there are children to be considered, child custody and support orders are determined.

    ii. Annulment

    Marriage annulment renders the marriage invalid. It declares that the marriage never existed. To qualify for annulment, one spouse must prove that one of the following was true at the time of entering into the marriage:

    • One party was below 18 years of age
    • One party was already married
    • One party deceived the other into the agreement
    • One party was of unsound mind
    • One party was incapacitated and unable to consummate the union. The incapacitation is permanent.

    iii. Divorce

    It is a more lengthy process which permanently ends all legal bonds between spouses. Worthy of note is that it is not mandatory that both parties agree to a divorce. One party’s refusal to participate in the process does not stop it.

    iv. Summary Dissolution

    This option is available to couples who have been married for less than 5 years. It is ideal for those who have no children and little or no assets or debts.

    3. Key Factors to be determined

    The following questions have to be answered and agreed upon:

    • How will assets be divided and debts paid off?
    • Is spousal support necessary and who will pay the other?
    • If spousal support is necessary, how much will be paid?
    • Who will pay child support and how much?
    • Which parent will be granted custody of children, and will the other get visitation rights?

    Bottom Line

    Even with the best divorce attorneys in Orange County, it takes at least six months to finalize dissolution. This period is based on the date the spouse who initiated the process had the other served with the petition. It could also be based on the date the receiving spouse responded. Regardless of time taken, dissolution is not complete until a ‘judgment of dissolution’ is signed by a judge.