Divorce / Legal Separation

Besides the considerable emotional pain, the end of a marriage is legally complex. Consult a lawyer if your marriage is ending. You will need sound professional advise to determine child custody, financial support, and to make a fair division of the property of the marital community. Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to consider counseling from a marriage counselor, social worker, psychotherapist, or clergy person, as an alternative to divorce. Such counselors are trained to help couples resolve differences. The counselor may be able to help you and your spouse learn new communications skills and to gain a better understanding of one another to prevent your marriage from failing. Even if divorce is unavoidable, counseling may keep the relationship with your spouse from worsening.

In the State of California, other possible alternatives to divorce include legal separation or annulment. Whether you chose divorce, legal separation, or annulment, your lawyer can advise you about your rights to child custody, child visitation, child support, and property division. Your lawyer can also prepare a legal separation agreement, assure that timely steps are taken to end your marriage, and advise you when unexpected problems arise. Your lawyer can also seek protection if your spouse threatens to assault or harass you, take your children in violation of child custody or child visitation rights, or hide property belonging to the marital community.

In addition, divorce has important tax consequences. Child custody can affect your taxes, including your right to claim head of household status, dependent exemptions, child care credit. Child support payments may be taxable or deductible. Property division may also affect your taxes. Your lawyer also can advise you about the tax aspects of divorce.

In the State of California, divorce is known as “dissolution of marriage.” Also, California has adopted “no fault” laws that allow a divorce without showing that one spouse was at fault. The grounds for dissolution of marriage are Irreconcilable Differences (Cal Fam Code 2310(a)) and Incurable Insanity (Cal Fam Code 2310(b)). Obviously, most California divorces are granted on the basis of the former. A California divorce action begins with the filing of a Petition by one party (the Petitioner) and service of the Petition, and other documents, on the other party. The other party (the Respondent) has thirty-days to file a Response. Failure to respond in timely manner may lead to a default judgment being entered, giving the Petitioner everything he or she asked for in the Petition. If you have been served with “divorce papers,” seek legal advise immediately.

Divorces can be uncontested or contested. An uncontested divorce can be granted when the parties agree on all issues such as child custody, time-share (also known as child visitation), child support, and property division. It may involve the filing of papers at the courthouse and, perhaps, a brief appearance before a judge or commissioner.

In a contested divorce, where the parties cannot agree on terms, a trial goes before a judge, resembling a standard lawsuit. Usually, such a trial will be preceded by one or more "Order to Show Cause" hearings, during which the judge will make temporary rulings concerning child custody, time-share schedules, child support and possibly property division issues. Ex-Parte (OSC) hearings are typically used to obtain Temporary Restraining Orders against one of the parties. Again, if you are served with OSC papers, or given notice of an Ex-Parte Hearing, seek legal advise immediately.

Mediation in the State of California is part of the dissolution of marriage procedure for all couples who have minor children. The couple must meet with a mediator in an attempt to resolve issues of legal child custody, physical child custody, and time-share. You and your spouse will meet with the mediator to discuss these issues and work out an agreement acceptable to both of you. Lawyers and judges are not present during mediation sessions and formal legal procedures do not apply. If you are unable to resolve these issues through mediation, a judge will decide them.

Later on, when the judge grants a divorce, you may have to wait a short period before remarrying. In California, the earliest possible date for remarrying is six months plus one day after the date of service of the Petition.

Divorce can be emotionally and financially complex. It is important to see a lawyer to protect your rights and your future. Your lawyer may help you to save your marriage by referring you to a marriage counselor. If divorce is unavoidable, your lawyer can help you take the steps to end your marriage and advise you about custody of your children, support, and a fair division of property.

For answers to your questions regarding your divorce or legal separation,
Call (949) 270-2904 Today to schedule a consultation with Attorney Dennis Connelly.


2901 W. Coast Highway
Suite 200
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Phone (949) 270-2904

Fax (949) 258-5093




Law Office of Dennis Connelly

(949) 270-2904

Orange County Divorce and Custody Attorney

The Law Office of Dennis Connelly represents people experiencing the trauma of family breakups and the ensuing disputes with former partners over support, property and children. We seek amicable resolutions whenever possible but vigorously advance our clients interests in contested matters.

Consultation fees are very reasonable so call us today and get armed with the necessary information to deal with your domestic legal issues.