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A General Look at the Divorce Legal Process

Posted on: May 13, 2014 by in Blog
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divorce in orange county california

A dissolution of marriage legal matter (“divorce”) can often turn into an uncomfortable chapter of a person’s life. No two divorces will ever be exactly the same – each divorce matter has its own unique legal, financial, and/or parenting issues that require unique strategies to achieve the desired solutions. Although differences exist within each case, each case has available the same general stages that may have to be completed before complete resolution. While the same general stages exist, an experienced divorce attorney should know that a case strategy unique to each case is the first step towards resolving a divorce case effectively.

Generally speaking, there are two types of divorce: contested and uncontested. If the divorcing parties cannot come to an agreement as to the terms of their divorce, their case is generally referred to as a contested divorce. An uncontested divorce is generally one in which both parties agree on how the assets and debts are divided, who gets custody and pays child support, and whether spousal support is needed.

Like anything else, a divorce can be handled in various ways. Some parties elect to represent themselves, while others allow experienced counsel to handle the case on their behalf. How long the process takes, how costly it turns out, and the amount of stress involved are issues in control of which are the two parties involved.

Generally, a divorce starts with the filing of a Petition for dissolution of marriage. Depending on the pending issues, temporary orders may be necessary to establish handling of various issues between the time of filing and the final judgment in the case. Temporary orders or agreements may be used to establish temporary child custody, property division, use of the marital home, child support, spousal support and a wide range of other issues depending on the parties’ circumstances.

An important step in a divorce case is the disclosure phase. In California, both parties have a duty to disclose to the other their true and complete financial circumstances. This may include disclosure of income, assets, debts and business opportunities. The correct handling of the disclosure phase is critical to a party’s credibility and future financial security.

If the parties simply cannot come to an agreement regarding the terms of their divorce, the case may need to proceed to a trial. The family courts in the State of California are currently experiencing heavy burdens on their available resources due to their budgetary issues and the volume of cases pending. In Orange County, a trial date may not be scheduled as quickly as the parties or their attorneys would like – this is not the fault of the attorneys or the judicial officers. It should also be noted that trial can be strenuous on the parties due to the amount of time and effort required to effectively prepare a case for trial.

Proper handling of a divorce or custody case most often requires the expertise of an experienced family law attorney. At Bayati Law Group, our firm is solely dedicated to resolution of family law cases in Orange County, CA. At our retention, we invest the time required to understand our client, their family, the nature of the pending dispute, the other side, the kids, the finances and the available means of resolution. Each case is different, and we have the resources and experience to tailor the family law process to each client’s individual needs. If you or someone you know is need of experienced Orange County divorce or custody attorneys, contact Bayati Law Group for a consultation. We look forward to helping you.

Discovery in Family Law

Posted on: May 7, 2014 by in Blog
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Orange County family law attorney

Similar to various other forms of litigation, parties in family law litigation have the right to conduct discovery on their adversary. Discovery is a fact finding vehicle by which opposing parties have an opportunity to learn the facts upon which the opposing party relies in making their legal claims. Discovery in a family regulation case exists in conjunction with a parentage law litigant’s duty of disclosure. While each party must make full disclosure of their assets and debts to the other party, a party must only respond to revelation if finding is demanded by the opposing party. With the increasing number of family law litigants representing themselves in parentage law litigation, discovery continues to be a challenge for both the party propounding and the party responding thereto.

As a means of illustration, the recent case of In re Marriage of Kahn serves to highlight some of the challenges with revelation and self-represented parties. Specifically, Mr. Kahn was a self-represented party in family regulation litigation to dissolve an approximate five year marriage.

During litigation, the wife’s attorney served Judicial Council Form Interrogatories along with a request for production of documents for Mr. Kahn’s response – both very common discovery vehicles in family law litigation. Mr. Kahn apparently failed to timely respond to either finding demand. The wife’s attorney filed the appropriate motion(s) to compel Mr. Kahn’s responses, which the court granted. When Mr. Kahn did not adhere to the court’s order, the wife’s attorney requested discovery sanctions from the court against Mr. Kahn. Ultimately, monetary and evidentiary sanctions were granted against Mr. Kahn.

Discovery is an important part of family regulation litigation and must be taken seriously. Failure to respond to finding can lead to monetary sanctions as well as evidentiary sanctions – both of which can have serious implications on a litigant’s ability to properly present evidence to a court. One must also consider the credibility implications associated with being the party that failed to properly respond to discovery.

If you are a litigant in family law litigation and were served discovery, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable not only in family law, but also with the discovery process. At Bayati Law Group, we exclusively practice family law and are experienced with the discovery process. Please contact us for a consultation to discuss your circumstances. We look forward to helping you.