In this article, you will learn:
- What to expect in a standard divorce
In its simplest form, a divorce is filing a petition, serving the other person, doing financial disclosures, and either arriving at a settlement or litigating the issues at trial in getting to a judgment. It seems very, simple and, it should be. My role as a family law attorney is helping people understand what the process is or understand what to expect in terms of child custody or finances, as well as helping them deal with the other person. There is actually a form in California for a settlement where we go through and check off the boxes, assuming we reach a settlement in an informal meeting or a settlement conference, and those issues are very basic technically. They are 1) assets, 2) debts, 3) child custody, 4) child support, 5) spousal support, and 6) attorney’s fees, if any.
People ask, “Why is a divorce so complicated?” Unfortunately, in my experience, it is because of people and their expectations going into it. When I tell people the easiest divorce that I ever handled in my family law career was also the largest marital estate I ever handled, they are surprised. It was a $93 million marital estate. The parties had signed their marital settlement agreement before they were even eligible to be divorced, meaning before the six-month period had passed. My client in that case explained to me, “Clarice, half of a lot is still a lot”, and I think it was that attitude that helped the situation go smoothly and helped keep the divorce so simple. My client had provided all the financial information, was very transparent and upfront, and that is what helped keep the divorce simple. It is what I would hope for other people as well, but I understand that other complications arise. Even if one person is committed to keeping the divorce simple and straightforward, if the other person is not, then this will lead to a more challenging divorce. But it remains my goal to keep the divorce uncomplicated and I use creative strategies to bring even someone who is trying to drag out the divorce to the table to reach a settlement.
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