Divorce Attorney Sacramento
Divorce is always unfortunate. But if you must endure a divorce, do yourself a favor and hire an attorney who can handle your divorce properly, professionally, and as quickly as possible with each step calculated with you and your family’s best interests in mind. Hiring an experienced and professional divorce attorney is one of the best things you can do to make your divorce process as painless as possible. Also, the better divorce attorney you hire, the more likely you are to be satisfied with the results. If you have to divorce, get it done right. Choose the best divorce attorney Sacramento has to offer you.
The Best Divorce Attorney Sacramento Has to Offer
Cameron Fernandez and his team of attorneys are regarded by many as the very best divorce attorneys in California. Cameron has received many professional awards and distinctions including the following:
1. Certification as a Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization
2. A Perfect Avvo Rating of 10.0
3. The Avvo Client’s Choice Award
4. Lead Counsel’s Highest Rating for the Areas of “Family Law” and “Divorce,”
5. Martindale Hubbel’s highest award of Preeminent AV Rated
6. National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Trial Attorneys Under the Age of 40 in California.
While awards and distinctions may give an indication of which divorce attorney is the best for you, there is no substitute for meeting an attorney and seeing if they feel like a good fit for you. We encourage our clients to come to our office and take advantage of the opportunity to consult in-depth about their case. By the end of the initial consultation clients are often confident that they have found a divorce attorney who they can trust to handle their case effectively.
See Us in Action. Watch Our Video.
We Treat Your Case Like it Was Our Own -That’s What Makes Us Different
We have many clients in Sacramento who come to us for help with their divorce. We understand that divorce creates one of the most pivotal and stressful events in their life. We also know that they are placing a great trust in us by turning to us for help with something so important. We do not want to let our clients down. Our approach is to fight for our clients as if their cases was our own case. Our Sacramento divorce attorneys put in the same consideration, strategizing, and effort that we would put in to our own case, if we were in their shoes. This probably the one thing that make our law firm the most different from others you will find. We care like you care.
High Quality Divorce Attorneys Can Be Affordable
Many people mistakenly conculde that high quality divorce attorneys must necessarily be expensive. This is simply untrue. When you have an attorney who knows what they are doing, who strategizes carefully, and who has integrity, they can save you a lot of money. We frequently save our clients thousands of dollars that they would have spent for legal representation by other attorneys who wast their time and money, by being less careful, less intelligent, or less honest.
Basic Divorce Requirements in Sacramento County
A dissolution of marriage (divorce) in Sacramento begins by filing a Petition in the Sacramento Superior Court. In order to properly file for dissolution in Sacramento County, this must be the County where you have resided for the last three of the preceding six months immediately prior to filing. To file for divorce in California you must have been a legal resident of this State for at least six months. If you have questions about the residency requirements in California and Sacramento County specifically, call our office to consult with on of our experienced Sacramento divorce attorneys.
Once the Petition is filed, then your spouse must be served with the divorce paperwork, at which point he or she will be given an opportunity to participate in the divorce process by responding. Termination of marital status cannot be granted earlier than six months after the responding party is served with the court papers. This is the minimum mandatory waiting period in California. There is no way around it.
Dissolution vs. Legal Separation vs. Annulment
There are three formal ways in which the state can intervene to change the status of a marriage. These are dissolution, legal separation, and annulment of the marriage.
The vast majority of individuals who seek to terminate their marriage in California, pursue a dissolution. A dissolution dissolves the marital community changing the marital status of the parties. In California, divorce is not based on fault of one of the parties, and all that is required is for one party to claim irreconcilable differences.
A legal separation is an alternative to divorce that makes more sense in certain limited circumstances. For example individuals who cannot divorce for religious reasons may choose to legally separate instead. While a couple who is legally separated remains legally married, their marital estate can be divided and orders can be made relating to division of assets, child custody and support etc.
An annulment is a finding by the court that a marriage is void. In order to have one’s marriage annulled the need to prove in court that they or their spouse are still married, or underage, or that the marriage was based on some sort of fraud. There are a few other basis for an annulment but these are the major ones.
If you are considering divorce, but you believe one of these divorce alternatives may be a better choice for you, you should call us to consult regarding your various options.
Common Issues in a Sacramento Divorce
There are many issues that can come up in a divorce case. The most typical issues include:
1. Dissolution of the marriage and accompanying change in marital status
2. Child Custody
3. Child Support
4. Division of Assets (this includes real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, employment benefits)
5. Spousal Support
6. Attorney Fees
7. Restraining Orders
Timing Issues and the Availability of Immediate Orders (Temporary Orders)
In California, the very soonest that one can be officially divorced is six months after the responding party was served. However, many people require orders from the court that affect issues such as child support and child custody immediately. In a divorce case, a party can seek what are called “temporary orders” in which a judge makes an order relating to issues such as custody of the children, or child support, attorney fees, or spousal support effective immediately, and these orders control the situation until a final judgment,including final orders, later in the case.
Division of Assets in a Divorce
California is a “community property” state. In general, property and assets acquired, and debt incurred, before physical separation is legally presumed to be subject to an equal division upon divorce.
There are significant exceptions to this general rule. For instance, property owned prior to marriage, or acquired by gift or inheritance during marriage, is usually the separate property of the recipient.
However, separate property rarely maintains it original form, particularly in longer marriages. It is not uncommon for people to commingle (mix up) their separate property with that of the community or vice versa, or to inadvertently transmute (change the character of, typically by a change of record title) property from separate into community – typically where what was acquired separately now becomes joint by operation of law or the execution of some title transfer document. This commonly occurs with home refinances, where a one party is added to the deed.
Because division of assets can be so complicated, if you are planning to divorce and you have significant assets that are subject to division, you should consult with and hire an experienced divorce attorney.
Determination of Child Custody in a Divorce
One of the issues that commonly arises in a divorce is the issue of child custody. Child custody can either be agreed to by stipulation or the court can decide based on what the court determines to be in the best interest of the child/children.
California Family Code section 3010 provides that both parents “are equally entitled to the custody of the child.”
Family Code section 3020 expresses California public policy that to (a) “assure the health, safety, and welfare of children” and (b) to “assure that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage, or ended their relationship, and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing in order to effect this policy, except where the contact would not be in the best interests of the child,…”
Our Divorce attorneys Sacramento are some of the best your will find at securing favorable custody arrangements. If you are facing divorce and you have children, you should consult with us immediately.
Amicable Divorce vs. High Conflict Divorce
While divorces are almost always highly emotional and often painful processes, not all divorces need to involve protracted litigation and high levels of conflict. If you would like to avoid a high conflict divorce the first step is to hire a divorce attorney who values amicable resolutions and is skilled at entering highly emotional situations and bringing calmness to the situation. The best divorce attorneys know how to deal effectively with even the most difficult opposing attorneys are not unnecessarily inflammatory. Moreover, a great divorce attorney will be a proven litigator who is respected by opposing counsel. It helps if opposing counsel understands that a fight with your divorce attorney is a fight opposing counsel is likely to lose.
After choosing the right divorce attorney, the next step you can take to help avoid a high conflict divorce is to accept that not every possession or every issue is worth fighting for. There is wisdom in picking your battles intelligently and making amicable relationships a priority. Of course, if you want to engage in a highly combative divorce process that is your choice and a great divorce attorney will place a high priority on each of your objectives. If your case calls for aggressive litigation, our team of divorce attorneys are among the toughest in the state.
Divorce by Mediation vs. Divorce by Litigation
The typical divorce case is handled in the family court with a divorce attorney representing each party on each side, and the case ultimately decided by a judge. In this scenario, the parties litigate the outcome of the divorce.
One alternative to litigation, or divorce in the courts, is a process called mediation. Mediation is a non-adversarial process whereby each party to a divorce shares an attorney and the attorney mediates a joint resolution, privately without the need for court. Mediation provides a few advantages that should be considered by anyone considering divorce. One of the primary benefits of mediation is that it is often much less expensive. Further, mediation provides a private setting in which to amicably dissolve a martial community. Moreover, mediation tends to be much less stressful and often generates less negative emotions among the parties. While mediation carries some significant benefits over litigation, it is not a viable alternative for all parties. If you believe mediation might be a good alternative for you, call our office. As a Certified Family Law Specialist, Cameron and his team of divorce attorneys are perfectly suited to effectively and efficiently mediate divorce cases.
Frequently Asked Questions-FAQ UPDATED: 3/24/17
How Much Does a Divorce Cost?
Answer: The cost of a divorce can vary dramatically based on several factors including:
1. The level of acrimony or amicability in the case.
2. The complexity of the community property estate.
3. Whether child custody is an issue, and if that issue can be resolved by agreement.
4. The attorneys involved in the case.
5. The judicial officer assigned to the matter.
If one of your primary concerns about a divorce is the cost, you should consult with one of our Sacramento divorce attorneys and discuss specific ways they can help you keep the cost down. A divorce attorney who is aware of your goal to save money can really do a lot to help you achieve this goal. But don’t make the mistake of trying to handle your case without an attorney to save money (unless an attorney advises you to), as this may end up costing you more.
For an in depth answer to this question see our blog post:Click Here
What Makes Some Divorce Attorneys Better Than Others?
Answer: There are various factors that make some divorce attorneys better than others. Some of these factors include:
2. How Much the Divorce Attorney Cares About Their Clients
3. Attention to Detail
4. Work Ethic
6. Compatibility with the Client
While numbers 1-5 above are pretty intuitive, #6 is a factor that is underestimated by many. Each divorce attorney has his/her own style and that style may or not be valued by every client. That is why it is so important to find the best divorce attorney for YOU. This can only happen by meeting with the divorce attorney to see if your styles mesh.
For an in depth answer to this question see our blog post:Click Here
What is a Summary Divorce and How Do I Know if I Qualify?
Answer: In California the state legislature has created an easier mechanism for some couples to divorce called: Summary Dissolution.
Summary dissolution is a quicker and easier way to dissolve a marriage, for those who qualify.
Below is a basic summary of the requirements for a summary divorce:
1. You must not have children together
2. You must have been married and/or in a domestic partnership five years or less
3. You cannot own real property together (no real estate) and you must own limited personal property
4. Your community debt must be minimal (less than $6,000)
5. You and your spouse must agree that you do not want spousal from each other
With this procedure, you will not have to appear in court and You may not need a divorce attorney, but it is in your best interest to consult with a divorce attorney in order to determine if you qualify for a summary divorce and whether it is in your best interest to proceed in this manner.
How Long Does a Divorce Usually Take?
Answer: The length of the divorce process varies greatly from one case to another. On the short-end, due to California’s “cooling off period” law, no divorce can occur in less than 6 months from the time the responding party is served until judgement is entered. Thus a divorce in California cannot occur in less than 6 months. However, it is common for many divorces to last much longer than 6 months depending on how much the parties fight, or delay, or switch attorneys etc.
One tactic that may be advisable in some cases is to bifurcate the divorce into the issue of marital status and the other issues such as asset division or child custody. By bifurcating the divorce, some parties can speed up the process of having their marital status changed from married to single, even if the other portions of their divorce will take some time to resolve.
In general, in a basic divorce, without extensive assets to separate, if the two parties are committed to finalizing their divorce quickly, and are ready to settle it without the need for contested hearings, a divorce can reasonably be completed within a year. Again, while this is possible, this will depend on how each party cooperates through the divorce process.
What If My Spouse Does Not Want a Divorce, But I Do?
Answer: In California, you do not need the consent of your spouse to get a divorce. Thus, even if one spouse refuses to engage in the divorce process, you can proceed with a divorce. In such a situation, the party who refuses to participate in the divorce will have a default judgement entered against them. But, you do not need consent from your spouse to get a divorce.
What if I Cannot Afford a Divorce Attorney Because My Spouse Controls the Money?
Answer: California Family Code provides that if one spouse has the financial means to hire an attorney but the other spouse does not, the court can force one spouse to pay the attorney fees of the other. If you would like to be represented by a competent divorce attorney in Sacramento, but you cannot afford it because your spouse is in possession of the money, there is hope. Call our office and consult with one of our divorce attorneys today.
Is It OK to Take Money Out of My Joint Bank Account to Pay for My Sacramento Divorce Attorney?
Answer: Yes. If you are married and you would like to hire an attorney it is generally ok for you to pull money from your family bank account to pay for your divorce attorney.
What Can I Do to Maximize My Chances of Obtaining Custody of My Children in a Divorce?
Answer: Please watch the following Video for answers to this question:
Sacramento Divorce Resources
Here is a link to a the Sacramento Family Court Website with helpful Sacramento Divorce Resources:
Sacramento Family Court Website