Westlake Village Divorce Lawyer
Filing for divorce? Get an attorney you can trust to protect you.
At Richard Ross Associates, our legal team has gained a reputation for high quality legal work in family law. Our lead and founding attorney, Mr. Richard Ross, is a Board Certified Family Law Expert, and has 40 years of experience in divorce and family law. Only a very small percentage of attorneys are certified as experts by the California State Board of Legal Specialization and can claim this credential. It takes time, dedication and personal effort to become an expert in a specific legal field. This training and certification can be a significant advantage for those who are seeking the right attorney to represent them in a divorce, or in another family law legal matter.
If you are seeking a divorce, you want to have the highest quality legal representation you can find representing you. The outcome of a divorce can vary widely, often based upon the in-depth research and attention to detail your Westlake Village attorney engages in. We are professional, committed and compassionate, and take our service to our clients very seriously. You could be greatly impacted by the outcome of your divorce, and there are many crucial issues on the table. The sharing of parenting time, child custody, child support, property division and spousal support must all be resolved fairly.
Issues such as who, if anyone, will retain the family home, the splitting of bank accounts, stock accounts and retirements accounts, the payment of any bills and other vital matters will all be resolved, either through a settlement or in court. In cases involving asset protection / high-asset divorce, these issues are more complex, and require a high level of skill and insight to resolve. Our firm can be called upon to review your situation and advise you about the impact of state law upon your situation, and how your case should be managed and presented to the court, when necessary.
Mediation, Collaborative Divorce & Settlements
There are various methods that could be employed to get these matters resolved, including engaging in a non-adversarial method, such as mediation or through collaborative law. Some cases will require litigation for resolution. When the court must make a decision, you want to ensure that your interests are well-represented in court, by a legal professional with a high level of skill. Our Westlake Village divorce attorney will carefully prepare your case with full attention to the unique details of your marriage, your finances and parenting issues.
The court makes decisions regarding child custody based upon the best interests of the child. They operate with the concept that children are best served by having equal access to both parents. This may or may not be best for your children, based upon your unique situation. We can advise you in this crucial matter, and what strategy could be employed in any custody proceedings, both in divorce or post-decree.
A large number of divorces are resolved through negotiation with the opposing attorney and will not require a trial. This is often a superior way to resolve the critical issues, as the final settlement is agreed upon by both parties rather than imposed by the court. How a settlement is created can vary widely and matters such as who will retain the family home, if anyone, how the children will be shared, as well as issues regarding pet ownership or sharing and who will pay what bills all will come into play. As each marriage is as unique as the parties involved, it is important to work out a reasonable solution for all of these issues. In cases in which there has been domestic violence or abuse, either physical or emotional, or there are accusations about domestic violence in a divorce case, this must be managed carefully, for your own protection.
Our firm has often been called upon to take over a divorce case that has gone off the rails. As your future financial health and quality of life can be heavily impacted by a decision in your divorce, your final settlement is of great concern. The first step is to have a full review of your situation. The earlier we get involved in your divorce, the more time we have to help you. An evaluation of your financial situation, living situation, the income and opportunities of each spouse, and the ownership of various types of assets must all be reviewed to determine how to best pursue a settlement that makes sense. Our goal will be to get the best settlement possible for you, based upon your unique situation.
Contact us for more information about family law in Westlake Village.
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.