If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, one of the first questions you will ask yourselves is whether you need a divorce attorney. There is no single answer to this question, as it often depends on the situation. It is always best to avoid the courts as far as possible, but you may still need an attorney, even if you stay out of family court. Here are some important insights into the family law industry, which you should consider if you are planning to get divorced.
Why Should You Work With a Divorce Attorney?
It is possible to go through a divorce without an attorney, but it is not recommended as there are many details involved, and your typical average joe or jane likely don’t have a full picture of the legal ramifications. You may miss a lot of the smaller details, which divorce attorneys will know to factor in. When children are involved, a lawyer should be there to help you with custody issues. The law will always attempt to act in the best interests of the child. Your lawyer will help you to argue your case accordingly. Similarly, if there are assets to be divided, a lawyer is the best means to protect your interests and see that your rights are respected. You can protect yourself better with a lawyer’s help and avoid inequitable results. If the divorce is particularly bitter or resentful, and your spouse decides to go on the offensive against you, you will need a lawyer to help you defend yourself. In short, it really will pay to have a divorce attorney on your side.
When going through a divorce, particularly if the split is inequitable or involves abuse or any power differential, it is best to have someone on your side who can advocate for you, fight for your best interests and argue your case in court. You will also need legal advice, as you cannot be expected to know all the legal ramifications of divorce, custody, child support, spousal support, etc. You have a life to get on with, so it is best to have a legal professional take care of these details for you.
Reconciliation or Divorce After Cheating?
Infidelity is one of the biggest drivers behind couples filing for divorce. When cheating occurs, the question is always whether to patch up the marriage and try to make it work, or simply end it. There is no rush to make this decision, and the greater good should always be considered, taking matters such as the welfare of the children, custody, and financial considerations into account. There are, however, several good reasons why divorce, or at least, legal separation, may be the best option after infidelity is discovered.
Firstly, after infidelity occurs, the trust between the spouses is broken. It can be difficult to rebuild it or to regain it – in fact, some people simply cannot get to that point. A marriage without trust is no marriage at all. It may be better to go your separate ways.
Infidelity may also expose other underlying issues that are undermining the strength of the marital bond. It is likely that there is much more than infidelity to consider. You will both start to ask yourselves a range of questions: Whose fault was it really? Was the cheating the cause of the rift, or a symptom of a division that took hold earlier than you think? Once that can of worms is opened up, it may be too much for the partners to consider reconciling.
Cheating may simply change the entire relationship dynamic. Along with trust, love and affection are likely to go out the window. Are both of you willing to make the effort to repair the marriage in spite of the damage? If not, it is probably better to split.
Surrogacy Laws in California You Should Know About
There is much more to think about when you start a family, or decide to end a marriage than just divorce. If you are considering having children through surrogacy, there is a lot you need to know before you make that momentous decision. Surrogacy is a long journey and it comes with several challenges. California law is quite different with surrogacy, in comparison with other states. California state legislation clearly covers all possible considerations and details on surrogacy contracts, while other states can be a bit vague on some of the smaller details. In California, there is no need to file for pre-birth parentage hearings, and same-sex couples have the same rights with no restrictions. There’s also no requirement for the intended parents to be married.
California law is also more friendly to international intended parents than any other state. In most other states, potential surrogate parents from other countries would have to go through adoption procedures in order to take the child out of the country. This is not the case in California.
How to Become Better at Arguing During Divorce
The divorce process usually involves a fair amount of arguing. “Arguing” is a term that is typically misunderstood by most people. It should not be synonymous with fighting or raising your voice. In legal proceedings, arguing involves putting your case forward in such a way that people are brought around to see your point of view. It is a way of convincing, overcoming objections, and winning a case. Here are some expert tips to help you argue more effectively.
- Stay calm. Once your emotions get the better of you, the argument is as good as lost. It is important to conduct a reasoned, well-constructed argument. If you feel triggered, count to ten before proceeding.
- Don’t retaliate. Slinging blame, criticisms, and insults back and forth will get you nowhere. It is better to disengage if this starts to happen.
- Listen carefully and be patient. It is vital that you hear everything the other side has to say. Be patient and hear them out.
- Speak for yourself. Rather than criticizing a word or action, speak to your own experience and how you feel. This reframes an argument and prevents it from degenerating into mutual attacks.
- Try to focus on points of agreement, rather than arguing over more contentious matters.
- Acknowledge the other party’s feelings and perspectives.
- If you are in the wrong, apologize! This is one of the most effective ways to defuse a situation and bring the discussion back to what really matters.
Stepparent Adoption: Insight From a Family Lawyer
In California, a stepparent looking to adopt a stepchild must file a petition to do so in the county court where the stepparent lives. The petitioning stepparent and their legal team must submit a written report known as a stepparent investigation. It includes statements by the stepparent and the birth parent, explaining the circumstances of the child’s conception in detail, allowing the identification of any person(s) who claim to have parentage of the child to be notified and consent to the adoption. A probation officer, a qualified court investigator, or the county welfare department may be assigned by the court to complete the investigation. Stepparent adoption usually takes about 2-4 months to complete from the time of filing. The laws governing stepparent adoption are complex and it is perfectly understandable if you feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the process. It is always best to have a family lawyer on your side to help you go through this complicated procedure.
Does It Matter Which Spouse Files for Divorce First?
Generally speaking in the family law industry, the spouse who files for divorce first has some advantage in the proceedings that follow. However, it is more a question of having made the first move, and therefore, having the opportunity to be several steps ahead when the other spouse is served. From the court’s perspective, it makes little difference who files first.
For starters, you can decide in which county, or even state, to file the papers. This can give you a kind of “home court advantage,” as it were. You also get to choose when to file, and you set the process in motion. The other party is then in the position of having to react to your actions. It is best always to have a solid plan and have considered all your options before rushing to file paperwork. By filing first, you get first choice when it comes to your legal aid, and you give yourself time to find additional support and gather all the necessary documentation before you make your move.
Bearing these matters in mind, there are some specific situations in which it is advantageous to file first. If you and your spouse live in different cities, counties or even states, there is the question of competing jurisdictions. If you file first, the case will be litigated in your home territory, rather than your spouse’s. You then don’t have to worry about travel costs and other inconveniences involved with traveling to present your case in a distant court.
In addition, if you think there is a risk of your spouse running away with money and other assets, it is best for you to file first. Once you have filed your petition and it has been served to the other party, automatic temporary restraining orders go into effect. Neither party can transfer or encumber assets once this is done. These orders are essential for the protection of assets, especially if assets need to be hidden from the other spouse.
Westover Law is a leading firm of family law attorneys in southern California. Our divorce attorneys will be happy to use their expert knowledge of divorce law and the law industry as a whole to help you with your divorce. Book a consultation today.