Contested Divorce

If any aspect of your divorce is unresolved, you will need to file a contested divorce. Our attorneys client-centered service will help negotiate a settlement and, although most contested divorces end in a negotiated settlement, they can aggressively defend your interests in the courtroom.

First and foremost, Hershon Law is committed to helping our clients find a common ground in order to avoid the stress and expense of a trial.

Some issues that may be contested in a dissolution of marriage:

  • Child Custody & Child Support
  • Equitable Distribution
  • Visitation Rights
  • Spousal Support

Uncontested Divorce

If you and your spouse agree on all the terms of your marriage dissolution, you can save money and stress by agreeing on an uncontested divorce. We can help you work through the necessary steps.

Often during a free consultation, our attorneys help clients recognize and settle unresolved issues. Our firm strongly recommends any party involved in a contested or uncontested marriage dissolution should contact us.

Potential issues of a divorce agreement on which you may need help:

  • Child Custody & Child Support
  • Equitable Distribution
  • Visitation Rights
  • Spousal Support

Divorce FAQ

  • What is community/non-community property?
  • How is property divided in a divorce?
  • How does a divorce effect property ownership?
  • What is a no fault divorce?
  • What is required to file a petition for divorce?
  • What is a legal separation?
  • Can the provisions of a divorce be changed after finalization?
  • What is alimony?
  • What are the types of child custody?
  • What is the difference between a temporary and permanent parenting plan?
  • What is a court mandated parenting plan?
  • Can a parenting plan be modified?

What is community/non-community property?

Property may be considered community or non-community, depending upon where the couple resides. Unless the property was acquired as an inheritance or a gift, or it was acquired before or after the marriage, California considers each spouse to have one-half ownership rights to the property. Nine states have community property laws (California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho, Texas, Washington, Louisiana and Wisconsin). A spouse who purchases property in a non-community property state may be considered the sole owner.

How is property divided in a divorce?

In California, a community property state, the courts consider property to be owned equally by each spouse and that it should be divided equally when the marriage is dissolved. If a spouse has separate property it can be kept by the owner.

How does a divorce effect property ownership?

Ownership of property is a common point of dispute during a marriage dissolution or legal separation. In California, this is particularly common because of the drastic appreciation/depreciation of property values. If community property increases in value, both spouses own half of the appreciation. If the property is considered non-community, the spouse who acquired the property has ownership rights over the property value increase. The court makes its determinations based on contributions, actions and efforts of the couple.

If a couple has been married for a long time, there may be considerable real estate, trust funds, business assets, retirement plans, joint and separate bank accounts, investments, insurance and debts to be contested. Couples who attempt to divide property on their own can have a very difficult time doing this equitably. This is a complicated and time-consuming process that often can require lawyers, accountants and appraisers. Often, property disputes can be resolved through alternative dispute resolution (e.g. mediation).

What is a no fault divorce?

In a no fault divorce, both parties agree that there is no “fault” involved in the grounds for divorce. California is a no fault divorce state, and any misconduct is irrelevant to the divorce proceedings and is not considered by the courts.

Please note that states’ laws differ on the issue of fault or no fault divorce. Among the 50 states, 15 (including California) provide no fault divorce as their residents’ only choice; residents of other states may pursue fault based or no fault divorce.

What is required to file a petition for divorce?

The requirements vary from state to state. In California, one of the parties must have resided here for six months. Other states do not have a residency requirement.

What is a legal separation?

In a legal separation there is a court order declaring all the issues (e.g. distribution of property and custody) concerning the marriage have been resolved, and that a couple is no longer living together. A legal separation is not a termination of marriage or legal status as a married couple. The spouses are not free to remarry.

Can the provisions of a divorce be changed after finalization?

Unless there is a specific provision in the separation agreement, the provisions of a divorce cannot be changed unless there is a mistake or fraud by one of the parties. However, there is a provision in the law to amend spousal support based upon a change of circumstances.

What is alimony?

Spousal support, or alimony, is the concept of one spouse providing funds to the other. Usually these funds can be provided for a definite or indefinite period of time. In order to determine the amount of alimony to be paid, courts consider the couple’s standard of living during the marriage, whether the spouse being awarded alimony can provide for his/her needs, and if the spouse paying alimony has enough property and income to provide for the other spouse’s reasonable needs.

What are the types of child custody?

When custody of a child goes to one parent this is called sole or primary custody. Joint custody, shared custody and split custody all refer to an agreement where both parents have custody of the child. Joint custody can be legal (decision making power over major aspects of the child’s life), physical or both. If parents have joint legal custody, both parties have decision making authority and must agree on decisions about school, religion, medical care, extra-curricular activities, etc. Often, this creates issues for exes because who have a difficult time cooperating with each other. Physical custody can be split equally, or the child may spend more time with one parent and less with the other. The statutory requirement regarding joint legal and physical custody varies depending on jurisdiction.

What is the difference between a temporary and permanent parenting plan?

This depends on whether the parenting agreement has been filed with the court or if it has been finalized and implemented in the divorce. Temporary plans have been filed with the court and is enforceable regarding child custody and visitation until the plan has been finalized. it is important to file a parenting plan as soon as possible because there can be a time delay between the filing of a temporary order and the final court decree.

What is a court mandated parenting plan?

If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court may be forced to decide what is best for the child. The court will take each parent’s plan into consideration and create a to which each parent must agree in order for it to be finalized in the divorce decree.

Can a parenting plan be modified?

A change in circumstances after a divorce, commonly the relocation of one parent or a change in financial circumstances, can cause a parenting plan to be modified. The parties must make a motion to the court for a modification that must be confirmed by the court based on the best interests of the child. The court will not modify a parenting plan simply because one of the parents has violated the plan. Commonly, the court will readily modify a plan if there is evidence of abuse (physical/emotional), an inability of the parents to cooperate withe each other, child endangerment, neglect, or a change in a parent’s mental/physical/financial circumstance.

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