Divorce Attorney Services In Orange County, Ca

What To Expect When Going Through A Divorce In Orange County, Ca

What to expect once a divorce case is initiated: One party (the Petitioner) will file a Petition for Dissolution. The Court will process that paperwork and then provide the Petitioner with a file-endorsed copy of the paperwork to be served upon the other party (the Respondent). There are a few different service options: If the Respondent is cooperative, the paperwork can be mailed to him/her along with a Notice of Acknowledgement and Receipt for the Respondent to sign. If that is not a good option, personal service needs to be arranged either through a professional process server or any person (other than the Petitioner) who is at least 18 years of age. Once served, the Respondent has 30 days to file a Response. If a Response is not filed in a timely manner, the Petitioner may request a default Judgment. The Court makes all litigants wait 60 days from the date the Petition for Dissolution is served before a final Judgment of Dissolution can be entered and the parties can be restored to their status as single people. If there are issues that need to be addressed in the meantime (such as child custody/visitation, child support, spousal support, etc.) either party can file a Request for Orders. The Court will process that paperwork and assign a hearing date for those matters to be addressed.

"Christie Mulligan represented me when I was going through a contentious divorce. She thoroughly prepared for trial after trying to get the other party to be reasonable. Her knowledge of family law and her tenacity is outstanding. I recommend her for any family law matter."
- Terri Rollins Morelock, January 2020​

How A Divorce Case Is Resolved In Orange County, Ca

Cases (whether it be a divorce action, paternity case, or request to modify an order) can be resolved in one of two ways – either by agreement of the parties or through litigation. The best case scenario is that the parties can come to an agreement, which will be drafted, signed by the parties, and filed with the court. If the agreement covers all of the previously disputed issues, the parties will never have to appear in court. When the parties cannot come to an agreement, an evidentiary hearing or trial will take place. In cases that involve custody and visitation of minor children, the parties will be required to attend mediation through Family Court Services before the Court will make any orders. The goal of mediation is to try to get the parties to come to an agreement, which will then be made into an enforceable order. In extreme (“emergency”) cases, the parties can make an ex parte request which bypasses the normal statutory timelines involved with filing a regular Request for Orders. An issue is considered an emergency if irreparable harm will likely occur if the requested order is not granted immediately.

In divorce cases, the court requires that Preliminary Declarations of Disclosure be exchanged by the parties before a final Judgment of Dissolution will be granted. A Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure includes a Schedule of Assets and Debts and well as an Income and Expense Declaration. Once a party has complied with his/her preliminary disclosure obligation, he/she will file a declaration, signed under penalty of perjury, stating that his/her preliminary disclosure duties have been satisfied. Completing disclosure documents is a time consuming task and it requires certain supporting documents be attached to the required Judicial Council forms. As such, it is best to start working on preliminary disclosure documents right away. As a matter of practice, I usually initiate settlement negotiations once Preliminary Declarations of Disclosure have been exchanged.

Cost Effective Divorce Attorney

My goal is to handle cases in the most cost-effective manner possible for my clients. I prefer to keep money in my clients’ pockets rather than rack up unnecessary fees and costs. A “simple” dissolution case involves limited assets and straightforward financials (such one or both parties being W-2 employees). Sometimes simple family law cases are referred to as “basic” family law cases. I do not like the term “basic” because I feel it diminishes how important the case is to my client. Whether a case involves multi-million dollar assets or assets with little or no financial value, the case is important to the parties, especially when minor children are involved. If both parties are willing and their respective attorneys, if represented, are reasonable, there is no reason most simple family law cases cannot be settled informally (without the need for an evidentiary hearing or trial). The law is the law and there are very few issues in simple family cases that are not straight forward. Some cases require the involvement of a forensic accountant to determine, for example, the fair market value of a business and/or income available for support. Those cases are more complex than simple family law cases but absolutely can still be settled informally once required information is ascertained. Having said that, sometimes the opposition’s position is simply unreasonable making courtroom litigation necessary. Either way, I believe that each and every case matters so I handle all of my cases with the time, care, and attention to detail that they deserve.

The court can make an order for spousal support once a Petition for Dissolution is filed. In other words, litigants do not have to wait six (6) months for a Judgment to be entered before requesting or receiving an award of spousal support. Before a final Judgment is entered, a spousal support order is referred to as “Guideline” or “temporary.” In determining how much temporary spousal support, if any, is appropriate, the court uses a computer software program that is mandatory in California. I always run those calculations in advance in order to give my clients a best case and worst case scenario. Temporary spousal support orders can be modified by showing that the circumstances have substantially changed since the time the order was made (such as one or both parties’ income increasing or decreasing). The same computer software program is used to determine child support and child support orders may also be modified based upon showing a substantial change of circumstances.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

Please call (949) 945-5035 or fill out this form to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.







Family Law Services Include But Not Limited To:

  • Divorce (Dissolution) - Contested and Uncontested
  • Paternity
  • Legal Separation
  • Annulment (Nullity of Marriage)
  • Child Custody
  • Child Visitation
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support (Alimony)
  • Modification of Court Orders
  • Enforcement of Orders
  • Prenuptial Agreement (Premarital Agreement or Prenup)
  • Restraining Order (Protective Order)