Agoura Hills Divorce Attorney
Contested or Uncontested, Simple or Litigated
At Richard Ross Associates, we offer the highest level of legal representation – and in divorce, experience and knowledge makes the difference. Our lead and founding attorney, Richard Ross, is certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization as a Family Law Specialist. Few attorneys have dedicated the time and effort to receive this advanced credential. Our knowledge and insight into every aspect of family law is extremely high. Coupled with our extensive experience in court, in negotiating settlement agreements and in the collaborative law process, when you retain our services you will be represented by a true legal professional.
We understand how difficult it is to deal with the many issues involved in a divorce, which is not only a real financial concern, but emotionally draining. Your future financial health could be heavily impacted by the final decision. Our goal is to pursue the best possible settlement for our clients. As a divorce will include many important matters, from child custody to child support, as well as property division and issues related to spousal support, it is imperative that you have professional representation as early as possible.
Put a Team of Family Law Experts on Your Side
Our firm has access to highly respected professional resources such as forensic accountants, child health experts, vocational evaluators, property appraisers, and others that could be called upon to provide supporting evidence. Each case is unique with regard to the number of assets, the duration of the marriage, and the role each person played in the marriage. A full evaluation of the situation should take place as early as possible. If you are considering filing for divorce, our firm can advise you about how California state law could impact your case, and what you could expect with regard to the critical matters of custody, visitation, spousal support, the family home, and the division of assets. In cases involving asset protection / high-asset divorce, these are extremely critical matters.
The firm can analyze your individual situation and offer counsel in the options for a reasonable game plan to pursue in negotiations with the opposing attorney. We are well-connected in the legal community and have a high level of ability in negotiating every detail of a divorce settlement. When a divorce can be resolved without a trial, it can be of benefit to you. Not only will the case be resolved more quickly, as both parties are involved in the process, the terms are more likely to be reasonable. Those cases that must be litigated will require a great insight and skill into how to best prepare and present the case for the client. We have extensive divorce trial experience, as well as in all other matters related to family law.
Contested Divorce in Agoura Hills
If you and your spouse are completely unable to come to a compromise, there may be no option other than to take the case to court for a decision. The skill with which your case is presented to the court can be pivotal in the verdict, and all of the matters related to your children and finances. Cases that involve domestic violence must be carefully managed. The court makes decisions regarding child custody based upon what will be in the best interests of the children. When a child or the spouse has been the victim of domestic abuse, this will heavily impact the ability of the abuser to be in contact with the children.
A full documentation of the abuse, with expert opinions may be necessary, and it is not unusual for the fact of the abuse to be challenged by the opposing attorney. There are also cases in which the accusations of abuse are false but must be handled with a great deal of skill. Any false accusations of abuse with the goal of influencing a court decision, once exposed, are not treated lightly by the court. If you are the victim of abuse, or have been falsely accused, our firm can help you manage this extremely critical point in your divorce proceedings.
Get Professional Representation for Your Family Law Matters
We advise you to seek counsel before moving forward with your divorce. An understanding of state law and how it could impact the outcome of your case is important. As a community property state, your financial health is a concern, and issues regarding support can be evaluated so you know what to expect. The duration of your marriage and the income earning capacity of each spouse are all points that must be analyzed and considered. We have the insight and skills you need on your side, whether the case will be resolved through the negotiation process, through the collaborative law process, or at trial.
Contact our Agoura Hills divorce lawyer to make an appointment to discuss your divorce or family law matter.
I heartily recommend him to anybody in need of a well qualified, results-oriented, family law specialist.
“I would not hesitate to, again, retain the legal services of Richard Ross.”
Our family and our dignity have been restored.
“Mr. Ross and his supportive, competent staff put their hearts into their work and literally turned our lives around.”
The results far exceeded my expectations.
“The entire staff at Richard Ross Associates really helped me through my divorce and they were with me the whole way.”
Extremely thorough and professional!
“Richard has helped me through a very difficult divorce and I can't say enough good things about him.”
Polite, caring, and quick to respond.
“Richard Ross is a subject matter expert in the field of family law.”
This is very important: If you have separated from your spouse before one of you has filed for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, avoid agreeing to and placing into effect a temporary parenting plan arrangement regarding the children unless you will be able to live with this arrangement after the divorce papers have been filed. Once you begin a parenting plan that seems to be working, it becomes the "status quo." It is very difficult to convince a mediator or judge to change the status quo, especially if it is working or appears to be working and is not detrimental to the minor children.
If you have not received a judgment dissolving your marriage before the end of the year, you may file an individual tax return under the status of "married, filing separately" or a joint tax return with your spouse. You should consult your accountant as to the advantages of these options. You may obtain special information booklets regarding tax information for divorce or separated individuals from your local IRS office or read the IRS booklet online.
To file an action for divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, a person must have resided in the state of California for six months and in the county where the action is filed for three months prior to filing the petition in court. This is true of either the petitioner or the respondent - either person can meet the test and allow a filing. If your spouse meets the residency requirement, you can file even if you do not meet it yourself.
The court can and usually will order you to move out of your residence if your spouse convinces the court that you have been violent toward your spouse or threatened your spouse. You could be given ex-parte notice to be in court the next day because your spouse is seeking an order to make you move out and stay out. You can be ordered to leave immediately and not return even if your spouse is not on the property title or lease agreement! Once you are ordered to leave, it is not likely that you will be allowed to return.
Before you get a divorce, photocopy all relevant financial documents that you can obtain and store them off-site with a trusted friend or relative. Do not store them in the trunk of your car where they can easily be found and removed by your spouse. There may be both personal and strategic reasons not to tip off your spouse that documents are being reviewed for a possible dissolution proceeding. Make copies of documents that you find in the residence and return the original documents to their original location as soon as possible so that your spouse won't notice that they are missing. It is often advisable to make the photocopies when you are sure your spouse is away for an extended time, such as during a workday. It is advisable to gather as many relevant financial documents as possible while they are still available and before they have been removed or destroyed by your spouse. This will significantly reduce the cost of divorce litigation if the documents do not have to be recovered later. It will also permit us to get a true picture of all community assets and debts as soon as possible.