Stevenson Ranch Divorce Lawyer
Divorce and Family Law Firm in Stevenson Ranch, CA
At Richard Ross Associates, we offer a high level of legal representation in all family law matters, from divorce to other critical personal legal issues. Our founding attorney, Richard Ross, is certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization as a Family Law Specialist. This credential is achieved through extensive training beyond what the large majority of lawyers have engaged in. To gain certification, the lawyer must have at least five years of experience in family law, must have served in the capacity of principal attorney in more than 30 cases, and fulfilled a minimum of 45 hours of further education in family law.
Beyond these requirements, the lawyer must pass an examination, very similar to a shorter version of the bar exam, focused specifically on family law issues, and have received recommendations from other lawyers who work in family law. The examination process continues throughout the years and must be once again taken every five years to maintain certification as a family law specialist. We believe that our qualifications, experience and insight into all matters of divorce and family law can be of great benefit to you if you are facing an urgent legal matter such as divorce.
Litigation, Mediation, Collaborative Law and Negotiations
It is important to explore the options to resolve your divorce with non-adversarial methods when possible. Often, the two parties in the marriage have such difficulty in communicating, or there is such a high level of emotional turmoil, that it is difficult to imagine that there could be a reasonable agreement reached without a trial. In fact, the skills of your attorney have a great deal to do with whether these alternatives to litigation are successful. In many cases, we have brought matters to a close without the need for a trial, even in cases in which it seemed impossible. Allow us to review your situation and advise you about the alternatives, and discuss the issues, including the crucial matters of child custody, child support, property division, retirement benefits, and spousal support. If it is necessary to litigate, you can be confident that you are represented by a true legal professional with extensive trial experience.
We are well-versed in collaborative law, and this process could allow you to reach a resolution. We have worked within the legal community for decades, are familiar with many lawyers and law firms, and have the ability to negotiate for our client and press forward with our client's interests at the forefront of everything we do. No matter what your situation is, state law will impact the outcome. California is a community property state. It is important that you know what that means to you, specifically, in your divorce. Who will get the family home, the split of bank accounts and retirement accounts, and the outstanding debts will all have to be resolved. It is important that you are treated fairly. We know state law, and we are zealous in protecting our client's interests in divorce. Our experience and knowledge of all family law matters can be of great benefit to you in your divorce.
We have many years of litigation experience and know how to present a case to the court that has a higher chance of success. When we can avoid trial, we will attempt to do so, as it can be far more expensive, as well as dragging out the process for many months or longer in some cases. We believe you will be well-served to get your divorce finalized as quickly as possible, so you have the opportunity to move ahead with your new life. As the decision of the court or the settlement reached through an alternative method will impact your finances, the sharing of children, and matters such as your possessions, the family home and even pets, every detail must be carefully managed throughout the process. We know how important these matters are to you, and we act accordingly. Our goal is to help you through this period of transition and get you the best agreement possible.
Contact our firm for an initial confidential consultation.
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.