As one of the premiere Los Angeles divorce lawyers in the city with more than a thousand cases under my resume I finally decided to start blogging. I recently made a video touching on “What to Expect at Your Divorce Consultation.” Here is a paraphrased excerpt of my divorce advice from that video.
Does It Matter Who Starts the Divorce Process First?
The person who starts the divorce first is called the petitioner and the petitioner goes first in a trial. The spouse being petitioned is called the respondent. There are pros and cons to being the petitioner or the respondent. The petitioner gets to set the tone of the trial because they are going to put their case on first. The respondent essentially gets the last say because they present their case after the petitioner has already presented their case to the judge. So there is a difference in being the petitioner or the respondent.
It’s not enough to be the one to initiate the divorce if you are unsure about get a divorce. However, if you are sure about moving forward with the divorce then just go for it. Don’t worry if you are first or second, that should not be your foremost concern. But as mentioned before there is a slight advantage to being the first (petitioner.)
Importance of Financial Expertise in a Divorce
Being a Los Angeles divorce lawyer for about 18 years now, I also have extensive experience as an account. I was a professional auditor and have an MBA in accountancy and worked many years in that practice prior to becoming a divorce lawyer. Having that experience is very helpful in the divorce world with the legal implications and analysis of a divorce case. I am able to learn about a couples’ financial situation by reviewing their tax returns.
Everything hits the tax return in some way. If you work back from a tax return, if you understand how to read a tax return then you can work backwards from there and understand where the income streams are coming from and can identify all the assets of a community (property.) Community property is what the spouses have accumulated during their marriage.
You Don’t Want Your Spouse to Get Anything?
That’s not going to happen. Any divorce attorney that says or implies otherwise is not giving you honest counsel. What you need as a divorce litigant is an attorney who is going to remove all the divorce myths and all the stories you’ve heard from friends and family, clear all that folklore away and tell you what really is going to happen.
The reality is it is not reasonable to say “My spouse is not going to get anything.” The correct way to approach the divorce is to ensure that YOU get what you ae entitled to under law. Should there be grey areas of the law situation where you need extended litigation you want an attorney that will pursue it in an ethical and diligent way and that will get you the most favorable financial and emotional outcome.
Child Custody in Divorce
The children are always the most important part of a divorce. It is not practical to fight for the other parent to not see the child unless there is a real threat to their safety and well being. Under California law there is wide range of what is considered acceptable parenting. What might not be acceptable to you might be considered acceptable parenting to the court or judge.
In divorce situations that warrant an investigation of one or the other parent’s allegations about the way their partner is parenting the children we have an “evaluation.” Evaluations get to the bottom of what’s going on in the family situation or your spouse’s particular parenting style. Ultimately these evaluations serve to make the parents better skilled at communicate and more sensitive to the best interest of the child.
To Be Continued..