Claremont Contested Divorce Attorneys Serving Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley
Not all marriages last. Sometimes, divorce is the best thing, an opportunity for the couple to settle their affairs and officially dissolve the marriage so they can move on with their lives. In the best-case scenario, the parties agree on how to divide their property, determine custody and support for the child, and decide whether any spousal support is needed. The parties create a marital settlement and custody agreement, and the judge grants the divorce after reviewing the agreements to make sure they seem fair.
This is not how most divorce cases play out, however. Whenever there is disagreement regarding any of the issues that must be resolved, the divorce is considered contested, and additional steps must be taken to resolve contested matters before the divorce can be granted. A contested divorce is common, and it’s not something to be alarmed about. The family law attorneys at Blasser Law regularly handle contested divorce proceedings throughout Los Angeles County and the San Gabriel Valley. We can advise you and represent you in your contested divorce, working diligently to resolve disagreements and minimize conflict so you can obtain your divorce as smoothly and efficiently as possible with your rights and interests intact. Learn more about contested divorce below, and contact our California family law attorneys today for a consultation about your case.
A Divorce Can Be “No-Fault” and Still Be Contested
California got rid of fault-based grounds for divorce years ago. Today, all California divorce cases are “no-fault,” except for the rare divorce sought on the basis of a spouse’s incurable insanity. To get a divorce, the party filing the complaint need only allege that the parties have “irreconcilable differences” that have caused an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Courts generally do not require the complaining party to “prove” this ground by providing evidence of the breakdown. If one party contests the ground and claims the marriage isn’t broken, this disagreement itself can be evidence of the parties’ irreconcilable differences.
More often than not, a contested divorce does not mean the parties are arguing over the ground for the divorce, i.e. whether the marriage has broken down due to irreconcilable differences or not. Rather, a divorce is contested when the parties both want a divorce but disagree over one or more issues related to the divorce. Typically, disagreements center around one or more of the following areas:
Division of Marital Property. California is a community property state, and each spouse owns a one-half interest in all marital or community property. Still, couples can disagree over whether a particular asset (or debt) is marital or separate, or they might disagree over the item’s value. They might also disagree over how to divide up certain assets, such as a home, that cannot be shared but must either be sold and the proceeds split or exchanged for cash or other in-kind property between the parties.
Child Custody. Will the parents share custody of the children, or will one parent have sole custody? Will one parent have primary custody or will they share custody equally? Besides the issue of physical custody, how will the parents share “legal custody” – the authority and responsibility to make parenting decisions regarding the child’s medical care, extracurricular activities, religious upbringing, and other important matters? How will the parents handle custody exchanges, and where will children spend vacations and holidays? What if one parent wants to relocate far away? The issues surrounding child custody are legion and can take professional expertise and assistance to sort out.
Child Support. The courts follow statutory guidelines to come up with an amount of child support that is presumed to be appropriate, but for various reasons the judge can deviate up or down from the guidelines amount. Parents might disagree over the proper amount, the child’s needs, and a parent’s ability to pay, including their actual or imputed income and expenses.
Alimony. Spousal support is often an issue in a divorce. Spousal support is not automatically granted in every divorce. Instead, one party has to request it, and if the other party disagrees that support is needed or affordable, the court will have to hold a hearing and look into a host of factors to decide whether alimony is appropriate.
Contested, but Not a Contest
It’s natural to expect that divorcing parties won’t agree on every issue between them, and court intervention may be required to resolve the matter. Couples can disagree over property division, alimony, child support, and everything from family pets and wedding gifts to what happens with the marital home. These disputes can be financially complex and emotionally difficult, and in the worst cases, couples have been fighting for years over many different things, and divorce is the final stage of this fight.
But just because a divorce is contested, that doesn’t mean it has to be a fight or go to trial. There are many different ways to resolve a legal dispute, including negotiation and mediation with the help of family lawyers trained in conflict resolution and experienced in marital settlements. Contested divorces do tend to be longer, costlier and more stressful than uncontested divorce cases, and sometimes trials can’t or shouldn’t be avoided. Whatever your divorce requires, the California family law attorneys at Blasser Law will get you through the process with your rights, interests and well-being intact. We work with experts as appropriate, including forensic accountants and child psychiatrists, and we prepare and present a strong case that proves your point in court if needed.
Help With Contested Divorce Matters in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley
Whether your divorce is simple or complex, contested or uncontested, amicable or fraught, the family law attorneys at Blasser Law have the knowledge, skills and experience to deliver the right advice and representation appropriate to your case. For help with a divorce or other family law matters in Los Angeles or the San Gabriel Valley, call Blasser Law in Claremont at 877-927-2181.