Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers
Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers
We are different from other family law firms. Our attorneys make sure that they oversee all of the aspects of your case. You won’t have to worry about inexperienced staff members handling your case. We aim to make sure that everyone has the best representation possible.
The Spodek Law Group is a premier, divorce law firm, with an emphasis on positive outcomes for their clients. Todd Spodek has a reputation for handling tough cases, and getting the best possible outcome. His cases have captured the media spotlight. His experience handling tough and difficult to win cases has distinguished him from his peers all over the country. Our goal as your divorce law firm is to help you get through this difficult time in your life – with as much customer service, honesty, and efficiency as possible. We constantly share our experience and expertise with you – so you can make the best possible decision for your family.
What are grounds for divorce in California?
California has drastically simplified the divorce process by establishing two legal grounds for divorce:
- Irreconcilable differences, which have caused a breakdown in the marriage
- Permanent incapacity to make decisions
Bottom line, these are two general and vague concepts which divorce lawyers in Los Angeles can use as basis for a divorce. This is sometimes called a no-fault divorce. Whether we’re talking about contested, or uncontested divorces, these are grounds which can be used to grant an order of divorce. In some states, adultery and other grounds still exist for divorce. California has decided that its best that the reason for divorce is not in contest — and that the state simply accept that the divorce is happening, and instead the state should focus on more important matters like property, assets, and children. In California/Los Angeles, fault is not considered in property division and alimony. Some states award a greater amount of alimony to a spouse who has been wronged as a result of adultery. As your Los Angeles divorce lawyer will tell you, this approach is not followed in California. The only factors that weigh into alimony and property division are financial issues. Spouses don’t get punished by the court for adultery.
In California, a divorce can be offered for irreconcilable differences. It essentially means, circumstances that a judge determines have ended the marriage. It can be virtually anything from a disagreement that spouses cannot resolve, to adultery, or abuse.
In some instances, California laws will let your Los Angeles divorce lawyer offer a divorce if there’s a permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. It means the doctor has determined that your spouse is incapable of making decisions. This can be the result of illness, psychological disorder, or injury.
Are there rules that my spouse and I must follow during the divorce process?
Even though divorce is common in the USA, the process will vary. Short term marriages without children or property, can result in a less complex and time consuming divorce than marriages which are long term marriage. For example, divorce couples who have child custody, property division, debt, and spousal support, will have a less stressful divorce than couples who agree/refuse to work together on the divorce proceedings.
The first step is filing the divorce petition. Regardless of whether both spouses agree to it or not, one spouse can file a legal petition to ask the court to terminate the marriage. The spouse who files the petition has to include some preliminary information, such as:
- statement which tells the court that at least one of the spouses meets the state’s residency requirements for divorce
- legal reason for the divorce
- any other statutory info that the state requires
Residency requirement vary, depending on where you live. States require that at least one spouse live in the state anywhere from 3 months to 12 months. Divorcing spouses have to meet the state’s residency requirements before the court is allowed to legally accept the divorce case. Bottom line, your divorce attorney can help you.
Grounds for divorce will vary from one state to the next. Many states offer a no-fault divorce.
Can I get a legal separation or an annulment instead of a divorce?
If you’re unhappy about being married, but don’t want to get divorced, whether for legal reasons, or religious reasons, there might be alternative methods. Depending on your situation, an annulment or separation could be better.
Annulment: This is different from a divorce. While both end a marriage, the two do not accomplish the dissolution of the marriage in quite the same way. Divorce legally ends the marriage, but it recognizes the existence of the marriage. An annulment has the effect of erasing the marriage. An annulment can only be granted on legal or religious grounds. Generally, states only grant an annulment in certain situations. One reason, is to prevent couples from going around the divorce laws – because these laws were meant to protect spouses. There are grounds for annulment. In an annulment, there generally has to be someone whose at fault. For example, a reason for annulment can be fraud or misrepresentation. You cannot get one, just because your husband/wife has a drinking problem and goes to the liquor store too often, and needs a hangover cure. In oder to get an annulment on this basis, one of the parties has to have lied about something material, such as whether they were married to someone else already. The lie has to be significant. Fo example, it must be something you should have known about – and if you had known this information, you would not have agreed to marry the spouse.
Another basis for annulment can be concealment. This involves hiding material information, instead of lying about it. Concealment is when someone discloses to fail something about themselves that is major. One example is having a criminal record.
How do I file for divorce?
There are a few ways to handle divorce in Los Angeles. If you’re representing yourself in a divorce, you’ll need to complete standard forms to begin the process. You can find these forms on the California Courts website online. The Courts website provides instructions on every single form. Typically, it’s a good idea to review the free information provided as you work your way through the divorce process in Los Angeles. Each of the courts use the same basic divorce forms, but some people might have to complete other forms depending on where they live. California has a lot of self-help centers throughout the state. If you have questions on which form to use, you can visit one of the self-help centers, or talk with a court clerk. The Los Angeles superior court website is a great website where you can find info.
How can I get information from my spouse about our property and finances?
It’s unfortunate, but often spouses attempt to hide assets before, or during, a divorce, in order to avoid splitting them with their spouse. However, spouses in all states have legal tools available, to help them “discover” hidden income and assets. For example, if a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer helped your spouse get a personal injury settlement, this could be part of your joint finances. The first step in dividing assets during a divorce is painting a financial picture of all the assets owned by each spouse. You should have an idea of what assets you have, and categorize them as marital assets and separate assets, and tell your divorce attorney about it. Using the “discovery,” legal process, you can discover assets that the other spouse has. If your spouse handled all the bookkeeping of the assets during the marriage, and you played no part in finances, then you are an “out-spouse.” It means you have no access to, or knowledge of, your financial information – but your spouse does. If you’re the “out-spouse,” then your first course of action is to ask your spouse for copies of all the financial records. If your spouse is willing to produce and gather documents, then this process won’t be too painful. This is rarely the case. With online access to everything nowadays, it’s easy to get accounting records. Many spouses refuse to provide info because they’re hiding assets. Finding hidden assets can be challenging. The process of finding assets, when your spouse isn’t voluntarily disclosing them, is known as the discovery process. This provides you with methods to get information.
Document Demands: Your attorney can ask your spouse to produce information and documents, like tax returns, financial statements, etc.
Interrogatories: Your spouse must answer questions in writing, or admit specific remarks.
Inspection demands: You can ask to inspect property.
Testimony under oath: You, and your spouse, and lawyers, will appear before a court reporter. Your spouse is sworn, under oath, and must tell the truth, and is asked questions by your attorney.
Bottom line, the discovery process is an invaluable way of getting information from your uncooperative spouse, because the court has the power to compel the spouse. If your spouse fails to produce documents, the judge can order your spouse to do so. If your spouse disobeys this order, then the judge will punish the spouse by imposing a sanction, such as a fine, or judgement.
Breaking Down the Brick Walls: Dividing Property in a Divorce
So you’re getting divorced. There are plenty of hurdles ahead, my friend, not least dividing all your joint stuff. With the Spodek Law Group at your side, you’re in good hands but let’s dive deeper. All your possessions and debt – doesn’t matter who bought that quirky toaster or ran up the credit card bill – have to be split between you two before you can say, “Arrivederci, darling”.
Now, you’ve got two choices to make. Either you hammer out who gets what (including that toaster, sorry folks…) together like mature adults or let the court – aka the impartial aunt in your family spats – do it for ya. And if you hang your hat in a community property state (such as California), the court’s gonna split everything right down the middle. Have something special that’s yours? Then let’s request the court to give it back to you, just like asking for your favorite record back from that ex.
Divorce or Legal Separation Self-Help – Los Angeles Superior Court
California Courts Divorce or Separation Info
Divorce Overview Diagram – Los Angeles Superior Court
Family Law Facilitator Information – Los Angeles Superior Court
Filing Court Locator – Los Angeles Superior Court
Divorce and Family Law Glossary – Los Angeles Superior Court
Divorce Forms – Los Angeles Superior Court
Tools to Help Navigate Divorce: An Overview
What You Shouldn't do When Getting a Divorce
Divorce may come after months or years of unsuccessful attempts at patching things up or it may come as a total surprise. In each situation, individuals must deal with many emotions and changes in their upcoming life. Everyone is affected by divorce, including children and other family members. It’s a tough time to say the least. And while this difficult time may throw you for a loop, remember that you should keep your bearings. Some things you just shouldn’t do when an impending divorce is in your future. Social Media 101 Social media provides an outlet to express frustrations,happiness, anger, and all other emotions we feel. And so, many couples turn to social media pages during divorce, all-too-eager to share their deepest, darkest feelings and secrets. Even sharing this type of information with private settings attached isn’t a guarantee that others won’t see what you’ve posted. Your social media pages can come back to haunt you in court. Keep it off social media until the divorce is over. Don’t Forget Financial Changes One big change many people don’t anticipate after divorce is the financial changes that it creates. Surviving with one income is considerably more difficult than with two, but it’s now the new way of life. Where will you live? Who will babysit the kids? Who pays daycare costs, rent, and buys food? All of these thoughts should be among the first you consider as you venture into this new way of life. Don’t Let Your Emotions Take Over A divorce is an emotionally-charged occasion in a person’s life. Not acting and/or responding with emotions is difficult. That’s why hiring a lawyer is so important. They work for their clients best interest, making sure decisions aren’t made off of emotions. Don’t sit around and cry, suzuki and wonder where and why it all went wrong when divorce is around the corner. Don’t Put the Kids in the Middle Children deal with emotions when parents divorce. Some children may feel uncomfortable with those emotions or may be unaware how they should pass them. Children love both parents and should not be placed in the middle. This can emotionally scar a child and cause negative feelings toward one parent or the other. This is not fair to parents or to children. Instead, talk to the kids and tell them the divorce is not their fat. Let them know how much love they have and take other measures to protect their emotional well-being. Lawyer-Free Divorce Lawyers protect the interest of their clients during fivorce. Without a legal expert around, you may get the short end of the stick in the matter. Lawyers will have none of that. Instead, they ensure clients move on to the next chapter of their lives with a clear conscience and no unresolved trauma from the diovrce. Ther legal knowledge and expertise looks good in court, especially when the case ends satisfactorily in your favor. Lawyers speed up the divoce process, look out for your best interest and keep the process as smooth and lighthearted as possible. Don’t be Unrealistic We may want a lot of money, the houses and the cars, and the pets from our spouse. We may never want to see the kids again or have other unreasonable expectations that come from anger we hold within. Don’t be unrealistic during the diovrce. There is less hurt when the divorce decree is handed down if you are realistic with the divorce and the anticipated outcome. This is yet another area where lawyers benefit their clients, since they can help them maintain realistic expectations. Divorce causes many strong, overwhelming emotions for many people facing this life-altering experience. Couples who’ve been together for many years as well as couples still in their marriage infancy may find these emotions a part of their divorce. It is a sad part of life, with some 41 percent of all first marriages ending in divorce, but one that we must accept should it occur. Be prepared, be realistic, and follow the above information for satisfactory outcome in our divorce case.