Q: What is a legal divorce?

A: Divorce is the dissolution of marriage.

Q: What if my spouse cheated on me does that affect the distribution of assets?

A: No, California is a “no fault” state meaning that the circumstances that lead to the divorce are, for the most part, irrelevant, including infidelity.

Q: What is an uncontested divorce?

A: An uncontested divorce is when the parties do not dispute any material issues in the divorce proceedings such as distribution of assets, spousal support, child custody etc.

Q: Once divorced who pays spousal support?

A: Spousal support may be ordered to be paid by the higher earning spouse.

Q: What is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce?

A: A legal separation is not final as is a divorce. The court can make temporary orders as to division of assets, child support, child custody and spousal support until the parties decide to file for divorce. A legal separation protects your interests until the filing for divorce.

Q: If my spouse has been providing health insurance and other benefits do I have to obtain separate health insurance once I file for divorce?

A: Once you file for divorce the court places a temporary freeze on assets and benefits including health insurance so until the divorce is final you would remain status quo.

Q: What if my spouse does not respond to the summons and complaint.

A: If the respondent does not respond to the summons and complaint after 30 days then they are in default. In this case, the petitioner wins and for the most part obtains what they asked for.

Q: How long will my divorce take?

A: A divorce takes at minimum 6 months. Courts provide a 6 month window to ensure the parties have made all disclosures and come to terms prior to finalizing a divorce.

Q: Can the provisions in a final judgment be changed afterwards?

A: The provision in a final judgment can be changed in very little circumstances, such as for fraud, undue influence and mutual mistake. Aside from those grounds there is no way to modify a judgment. Make sure you are represented by counsel and are well advised as to the judgment.

Q: What is a marital settlement agreement?

A: A marital settlement agreement is, essentially, a contract entered into by the parties and it defines their rights with respect to the issues of the divorce such as property division, child custody, child support and spousal support. A marital settlement agreement usually becomes a final judgment.

Q: What is a temporary restraining order?

A: Unfortunately, at times, a spouse may become abusive toward a party or children and in those cases it might be wise to seek a restraining order. A temporary restraining order is usually granted with little evidence, at times on a declaration alone. A temporary restraining order lasts for only 20 days. Usually, a hearing is held to order a more permanent restraining order which would require more evidence.

Q: Should I attend mediation in order to resolve issues in my divorce?

A: Mediation is absolutely helpful. It reduces costs and allows the parties to communicate through a neutral third party. There is never a drawback to attending mediation.


A Brief Guide to Divorce Law in California

Divorce is one of the most difficult and traumatic events a person can experience. The complexities of California divorce law, including property division, child custody, and separation agreements, can make the emotional pain of divorce proceedings all the more difficult. The State of California hasa few different kinds of divorce, and different divorce proceedings require different factors to be met and have different procedures. Because divorce can be a complex issue legally, financially, and emotionally, it is almost always worth your time and money to find a qualified Los Angeles divorce attorney like Maryam Atighechi of the Atighechi Law Group.

The least complicated kind of divorce in the State of California is called Summary Dissolution. If you and your partner have no children together, and have been married less than five years, own very little common property, have few shared debts, and agree about the terms of the separation agreement and how to divide your property, you qualify for this kind of divorce. This is the quickest and easiest form of divorce available in the State of California. This divorce can be finalized after several rounds of forms are signed and notarized by both parties and then filed. You do not need to speak to a judge, and are not required to hire a divorce attorney. However, even with this simple form of marriage dissolution the State of California and the City of Los Angeles both recommend retaining a divorce lawyer. If you live in LA, a qualified divorce attorney like Maryam Atighechi of the Atighechi Law Group can help you complete your paperwork and finalize the marriage dissolution without confusion or delay. In any divorce proceedings, hiring divorce lawyers is always in the best interest of both you and your partner.

If you do not qualify for the terms of Summary Dissolution, you may still qualify for an Uncontested Separation Agreement if you and your partner agree to the terms of a divorce. In these cases, you and your partner must agree on all the terms of the separation agreements, including child custody, child support, and property division. If you believe that your partner will not file any forms with the court to dispute your divorce terms, you can file for an Uncontested Divorce or Default Judgment this means that the courts will still proceed with the divorce proceedings as uncontested, even if you and your partner do not respond on the terms of the Petition. These types of divorce proceedings can usually be settled with filings, and may require no meetings with a judge. Even if you believe that you and your partner agree on the terms of your divorce, it is still in both your best interests to hire divorce attorneys. Qualified and experienced divorce lawyers like Maryam Atighechi of the Atighechi Law Group can help clearly define the terms of separation, including child custody, child support, and property division so that both partners understand and are happy with the terms of the separation agreements.

If you and your partner do not agree on the terms of a divorce, the State of California classifies it as a Contested Divorce Case. Contested cases often occur when the partners disagree about matters of child custody, child support, or property division. If your partner files papers to dispute the terms of the divorce in your case, you will have to resolve your disputes, either through negotiation, mediation, or consultation with the family law judge. If you resolve your disputes through one of these processes, you can file papers to rescind the contest, and proceed as an Uncontested Separation more quickly and at lower cost. Contested divorce proceedings are difficult for both partners, and especially if children are involved. It is in your best interest and the best interest of your children to resolve your disputes as quickly and maturely as possible. The best way to accomplish that is by being represented by qualified and experienced divorce lawyers. If you live in Los Angeles, your interests can be best represented by a divorce attorney like Maryam Atighechi of the Atighechi Law Group.

Although the State of California tries to make divorce proceedings as smooth and clear as possible, they are still difficult, both because of the legal issues involved, and because of the emotional turmoil of divorce proceedings. Although we cannot make the pain any easier, Maryam Atighechi of the Atighechi Law Group is an experienced, caring, and understanding Los Angeles attorney who knows the details of divorce law, and can help you and your partner hammer out your separation agreements and make your divorce proceedings as fast and painless as possible so you can get on with your life.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Divorce Proceedings in Los Angeles

Divorce is a major life event. As such, it should be treated very seriously, and done with the greatest care and maturity to ensure the best outcomes for you, your spouse, and your children. If you are considering divorce, you should speak to a qualified divorce attorney like Maryam Atighechi of the Atighechi Law Group to determine what kind of divorce proceedings you are in for, and what kind of preparations and negotiations you need to undertake in order to finalize your divorce.

The first step you should take if you are considering a divorce is to make every attempt at reconciliation. Marriage is a serious commitment, and you owe it to yourself, your spouse, and your children to do everything you can to see that commitment through. Talk to your spouse. Tell him or her what’s troubling you, and why you are considering the very serious step of divorce. Seek out marriage counseling or religious counseling to help you work through your differences. As part of divorce proceedings, California family law judges can order a period of separation and counseling before any further rulings can be made. It helps if you go into your divorce proceedings as open-minded as possible. Most divorce law firms can refer you to a marriage counselor or individual counselors if you ask them.

If your differences are irreconcilable, the next step you should take is to retain a qualified and experienced divorce attorney. If you live in LA, Maryam Atighechi of the Atighechi Law Group is knowledgeable about California divorce law, and can help you and your spouse negotiate mutually agreeable separation agreements. Maryam Atighechi of the Atighechi Law Group can also file your paperwork and appear in court with you, if necessary, in order to make your divorce proceedings as quick and painless as possible.

You should then visit the local California Family Court or Superior Court house in order to get copies of paperwork that you will need to file in order to get your divorce proceedings moving. Courthouses often employ facilitators who will help you understand the family laws involved in divorce proceedings. These facilitators are not lawyers, however, and are not permitted to dispense legal advice or represent you or your spouse. You can also consult the State of California website for family laws and divorce courts. These offer downloadable copies of divorce paperwork and information on filing deadlines and requirements. Divorce law firms also have all of the paperwork and information that you need in order to complete divorce proceedings. Divorce attorneys like Maryam Atighechi of the Atighechi Law Group can explain and facilitate the process so that you can keep focused on your life rather than the complex requirements of family laws.

The next step in divorce proceedings is to gather your financial records and debt information for both you and your spouse. Detailed knowledge of your financial situation is necessary for California family laws courts to make determinations about child custody, child support, and property division. You should gather all of your financial documents, including bank statements, loan payments, tax returns, and retirement plans for at least the last five years. You should close or freeze all joint bank and financial accounts, particularly if you believe that your spouse may contest the terms of the separation agreements. You should keep track of all debts and payments you make, particularly on joint property like homes and cars. Pay by check or electronic transfer rather than cash to ensure that accurate records exist.

You should then begin negotiations with your spouse about the terms of the divorce, including property division, child custody, and child support. This is a difficult and detailed step that can be made worse if you and your spouse are emotionally combative. Even in the best of cases you should seek out the help of divorce law firms to help you negotiate the detailed business of separation agreements. Maryam Atighechi of the Atighechi Law Group in Los Angeles, California has practiced divorce law for many years and negotiated countless separation agreements. Although we cannot guarantee that you will get everything you want out of a divorce settlement, we can guarantee that your separation agreements will be mutually agreeable and legally valid.

You should also make a plan for child custody and child support. Even though both parents want what is best for their children, they rarely agree on what that is. Retaining a qualified divorce attorney like Maryam Atighechi of the Atighechi Law Group, who is experienced in child custody law will ensure that your case is fairly represented in family laws courts, so that your children have the support they need and that custody decisions are fair and legally binding.

A Brief Guide to California Child Custody Law

One of the most difficult aspects of divorce proceedings is the question of child support and child custody. Like every state, the family laws in California are designed to award custody in the best interest of the child, which may not necessarily reflect the wishes of the parents. Winning full or partial custody of your children requires demonstrating parenting fitness, financial stability, and emotional maturity. Family law judges have a certain amount of leeway in making custody and child support rulings, but they must also follow the letter of the law. In order to best represent yourself to the courts and get the best possibility of custody rulings in your favor, you should familiarize yourself with the types of custody, and other terms and concepts connected to family laws in California. With a matter as important as the future of your children, it is also in your best interest to retain a qualified and experienced Beverly Hills Divorce Lawyer who is well versed in child custody laws. Maryam Atighechi of the Atighechi Law Group has practiced in divorce and child custody law for years, and understands the burdens of proof and the procedures involved in ensuring the best future for your children.

The State of California considers many factors in determining the best interest of the child. These factors include the child’s age and health, the emotional bond with his parents, the ability of the parents to care for and provide financially for the child, whether there is a history of domestic abuse by either parent, and how well the child has adapted to the home, school, and community environments.

You should understand the distinction between physical and legal custody in California. A parent who has physical custody of a child is the parent that a child lives with most of the time. Legal custody means that the parent has legal rights to make decisions about a child’s health, education, and religious upbringing. Both physical and legal custody can be shared by both parents or awarded to one parent and not the other. One parent will usually be awarded primary physical custody of a child, so as not to overly disrupt the child’s life or routines. The other parent will be awarded visitation and access rights based on the child’s schedule and well being.

Because even division of physical and legal custody is difficult to achieve practically, and because the family laws courts may have concerns about the fitness of one parent or the other, it is important for both parents to come to an agreeable parenting and visitation agreement as part of divorce proceedings. Care, custody, and support of children are usually the most emotional issues that a divorcing couple can face, and more often than not result in heated arguments and possible court hearings. Divorce lawyers like Maryam Atighechi of the Atighechi Law Group, who are experienced with child custody and support issues, can help you and your spouse negotiate and mutually agreeable child custody and support settlement as part of your separation agreements. Failure to retain a qualified divorce attorney to represent your case and your interests could result in the court imposing a child custody and support ruling on you against your wishes.

In most family laws rulings, the courts will award one parent primary physical custody and assign the other parent visitation rights. This can be the case, even when both parents have equally shared legal custody of the child. Physical custody is often granted to the parent who will remain in the family home, or at least in the same neighborhood, so that the child’s life can have the greatest possible continuity with his or her life prior to the divorce. The family laws court will draw up visitation rights and schedules for the other parent. These can range from roughly equal time to weekend and holiday visitation to no visitation rights at all, depending on the court’s findings about parental fitness. Family laws courts in California can also require that parents have supervised visitation if they are concerned about the welfare or safety of the child. Supervised visitation means that either the other parent or a representative of a child welfare agency must be present when the parent is visiting. This is usually imposed only when the parent has a criminal record especially including domestic abuse or drug use convictions.