What is contested divorce and do I need an attorney?
A contested divorce is a divorce in which spouses cannot agree on one or one or more issues. There are some additional options to change contested divorce into uncontested divorce available if parties cannot come into agreement themselves: collaborative agreement, mediation. There are many good private mediators in Orange County. During the mediation process, the parties will be guided through the process of reaching mutually beneficial or at least mutually acceptable solution which would minimize the impact of the divorce on the children and financial situation of both parties. If the spouses would not be able to reach an agreement on the issues of child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support and property division, the divorce is still contested. In this situation it is advisable to get an attorney. However, it is not always necessary. The parties could still be able to complete the divorce process in PRO PER. It means they would represent themselves at the court hearing and to do the documents preparation for the contested divorce on their own.
If the parties decide to proceed with contested divorce in PRO PER they can use the options available to the public for self-represented in a contested divorce people. If you live in Orange County, self-help centers in Orange County Superior Court would help each of the spouse to fill appropriate for each step of the process documents. In addition, both or each of the could hire a divorce paralegal for more efficient way going through the divorce process.
How much more expensive contested divorce?
Contested divorce, of course, more expensive than uncontested, especially if you and your spouse are represented because more paperwork involved, the process of divorce is longer longer and more complex. The most expensive litigation in divorce matters is contesting child custody issue because expert witnesses and specialists involvements. The spouses usually need to go through custody evaluation including but not limited to professional observations, tests, interviews. If the move away situation arises, costs are quickly elevated and can reach the tens or hundred of thousands range.
Also, be sure that your residency requirements are satisfied before you file for a divorce. If you are filing in Orange County, be sure you or your spouse live in State of California for at least 6 months and in Orange County for at least 3 months.
If ether of the parties subsequently decides to hire an attorney for his/her contested divorce, we would recommend that another spouse get attorney as well because if one of them is represented by an attorney it would place his/her spouse in multiple disadvantage.
The important point about using an attorney for contested divorce as well as uncontested is that if you are very limited in your budget, you don’t need to retain an attorney for the whole process. You might consider hiring an attorney to represent you in the court and proceed with the document preparation using contested divorce paralegal or using self-help centers. Most paralegal are working as LDAs. It means they will not be able to handle contested divorces, but will be efficient in uncontested. However, some paralegals who are working under the supervision of an attorney will assist you with divorce documents in both kinds of divorces.
The mail source of legal information for divorce in California is California Family Code.
We can help you with either divorces if you wish to use our legal services because we have a paralegal and an attorney. If you need the documents preparation and filing with the court our paralegal can do it for you for low cost. Call us 714-390-3766