Westlake Village Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
An Easier Way to End Your Marriage
It is a common misconception that with every divorce, courtrooms dissolve into battlegrounds, where lines are drawn, and the two parties volley litigation back and forth. While divorce is rarely a painless process, an uncontested divorce offers a way out of a marriage that is much more amicable and significantly less time-consuming and less emotionally damaging to children and the parties themselves than the alternative. It has been said that sometimes the fruits of victory can be ashes in your mouth.
Our Divorce Lawyers Serve Westlake Village & Thousand Oaks!
An uncontested divorce may be right for you if you and your spouse agree on the crucial points and issue involved in ending your marriage, including property and asset division, spousal support, and, where children are involved, parenting roles such as custody and visitation.
Uncontested divorces may benefit from:
- Mediation, where a neutral third-party facilitates discussion and helps a divorcing couple come to agreements.
- Collaborative divorce, which is a hybrid between mediation and traditional divorce where both parties hire a collaborative attorney and sign a "participation agreement" where they commit themselves to peaceful negotiation and staying out of court.
- Private judges, once only available in high-profile matters, allows a couple to interview and select their own judge. The process is usually quicker and more confidential than a traditional divorce.
Even when both spouses are in agreement, it is important to have a legal professional involved in the divorce proceedings to ensure that what you and your spouse have discussed and agreed upon is consistent with state and local laws. Additionally, when you retain legal counsel, you will be assisted in writing the actual divorce agreement. At Richard Ross, we offer the services of our divorce attorney who is a California Certified Family Law Specialist.
Uncontested Divorce Attorney in Thousand Oaks
It is never a good idea to attempt to resolve a divorce alone, especially where the issues involved are complex. Even in an uncontested divorce, the involvement of an experienced legal professional is crucial to make sure that everything happens legally and follows state and local law, to avoid undue delays and increase the odds of getting the best possible outcome. An attorney can also help to make sure that your rights are protected under the agreement you have made with your spouse, to raise issues that you may not have considered, to discuss your options with you, and to assist in ironing out any conflicts that may crop up along the way.
A contested divorce may be better suited for your needs if you doubt that you and your spouse will be able to reach a compromise, if your spouse changes his or her mind on anticipated agreements, if you have a large estate or complicated legal issues, or if you have been the victim of domestic violence. In any of these cases, a qualified attorney from Richard Ross Associates can help you decide what the best course of action might be for you.
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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!
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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.