What Is Family Law?

California law consists of 29 codes, each pertaining to different subject areas. Different codes, like different areas of law apply to different aspects of life, from how we vote to how we drive on the highways, how we run our businesses and how our affairs are settled when we die. Family law and California’s Family Code include laws and regulations that specifically have to do with marriage, divorce, children, child support, child custody, adoption and a vast number of issues inherently related to families. Because this type of law is very specialized, it requires a family law attorney who are themselves the best in the area of family law

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Meet Our Team

Learn what makes us different and why experience really matters with your divorce. Here's why you should hire us.

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Types Of Divorce

There are many types of divorce in California. We lay them out for you here.

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Orange County Divorce Counsel When You Need It Most


Your Divorce Lawyer-Red Hill Family Law

We Are A Dedicated Law Firm Focused On Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support And Family Law Cases In The Irvine CA And Orange County Areas.

At Red Hill Family Law, we are devoted to providing a caring environment for you and your case. But when we need to, we are not afraid to provide aggressive representation.

Let's face it, Family Law matters are not always easy and sometimes you need a attorney to stand up for you and be aggressive so you don't have to worry about it!

  Divorce Attorney Irvine CA

For many years, we have proudly served our clients as a divorce attorney and more in and around the Orange County CA area and surrounding cities.

No matter how simple or complex your issue is, we are here to help you get through it, and come out better on the other side. Our greatest concern is to make sure that we absolutely minimize the emotional strain put on you and your children during the process.

We are here to make things easier on you and take the weight off of your shoulders so that you can move on with your life like you deserve. The Staff at Red Hill Family law are highly experienced, trained in all aspects of family law and completely committed to your success as your separation or dissolution law firm.

We are here to provide you with peace of mind and do everything we can to protect you, your children and your property.

"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."

~John F. Kennedy

The United States has the highest divorce rate of all the major countries in the world, with a rate of almost 5 divorces per 1000 people.

Although the State of California stopped keeping specific records on divorce statistics years ago, extrapolating data from various legal sources indicates that approximately 160,000 divorce proceedings are processed in California every year.

It is estimated that one out of every four adults will experience at least one "legal parting of the ways" in their lifetime.

Orange County is one of the most populated areas of California. If you are at a point in your life where you (or your spouse) have decided to seek a divorce because circumstances have made it impossible for you to continue your marriage, then the next steps you take must be deliberate and completely thought out. Any decisions you make from this point forward could have a lifelong effect upon your future and that of your children.

A divorce has both immediate and short-term impact. For example, in the book, the Divorce Revolution, the author states that the typical woman suffers a 73% reduction in her overall standard of living following a divorce, while her ex-husband enjoys a 42% increase in his standard of living.

Meanwhile, only 17% of fathers in the United States have sole custody of their minor children.

This is a difficult period for our clients in Orange County because extremely personal, highly emotional issues like pain, anger, and grief crash headlong into practical issues such as child custody, support, and division of property.

During this stressful and confusing time, it is extremely important for you to keep a level head and look toward a brighter future for everyone concerned.

Remember, a divorce is not about revenge. It is about ending a marriage as simply, equitably, and productively as humanly possible, so both spouses may eventually recover and move forward with the rest of their lives.

The Need for a Lawyer

Whether you are in Irvine CA or anywhere in Orange County CA the process of obtaining a divorce in California is complicated enough that all parties should seek assistance from a qualified divorce lawyer.

There are a number of very important issues that must be carefully and legally resolved so that there are no future complications or unnecessary difficulties for anyone involved.

Examples of issues that are affected by divorce –

  • child custody
  • child support
  • division of property – the home, cars, investments, savings, personal and community property, for example. Under certain circumstances, even a person's future earnings can be subject to division with an ex-spouse.
  • taxes
  • alimony
  • businesses
  • retirement
  • pets

Just as every marriage is different, so is every divorce. There may be many, many more considerations that must be examined and decided upon in your particular case.

A Good California Divorce Lawyer Provides Expert Advice

The goal of your divorce attorney is to help you make sure that you receive everything to which you are legally entitled during your divorce.

With so many complicated issues that need to be settled, an experienced lawyer can be your greatest resource to protect your interests and can help guide your decisions over the next few months.

They Will Help You Reduce Stress

Whether you are the one seeking the divorce or you are the one being sued for divorce, the odds are that the entire process and the events surrounding it have you completely stressed out and at your wit's ends.

The last thing that you need at this immediate point is to have to try to handle all the individual details of your divorce all alone. Now is not time to try to be a "do-it-yourselfer".

Once your attorney has gotten the necessary information and records from you, he or she will then take care of virtually everything else that is needed. By shouldering the burden of the legal work, your divorce lawyer will give you the time that you so desperately need to take care of yourself and your family.

They Will Help You Avoid Mistakes

It's easy to understand why people who attempt to handle their own divorce often end up making mistakes that can cost them dearly, whether financially, emotionally, or by the inconvenience of future legal proceedings.

People who try to complete their own divorces are usually too stressed out to think clearly enough to navigate the complicated legal process.

Even forgetting a seemingly-minor detail such as a single credit card debt can cause you financial harm in the court's final judgment, and may even require the expense and hassle of future legal requirements.

An experienced and dedicated divorce attorney will ensure that the case is handled right from the beginning, and will help you avoid any disastrous missteps.

Your Counsel Will Help You Avoid Delays

There are a number of specific forms that must be completed in California in order obtain a divorce, and even more documents are needed from you in order to support the information that you supplied in the forms.

If you make a mistake or an omission at any point on any of the forms, then your paperwork might be declared to be inadequate and rejected. You may even have to re-file, thereby causing a delay as to when the divorce may be finalized.

The right attorney can make sure all required paperwork and supporting documentation is gathered and then properly turned in, so you can have your divorce completed as quickly as possible.

The Right Law Firm Will Help You Prepare an Agreement That Is Both Clear and Binding

Even if you and your ex-spouse come to an agreement beforehand and properly turn in your documents to the court ahead of schedule, it is still possible for the court to misunderstand the agreement.

The result of this could be a divorce decree that actually states something different than what was intended or agreed upon. By using an experienced attorney, you can be absolutely sure that your documents will clearly declare to the court your express wishes. There will be no costly or damaging court decrees resulting from misunderstandings due to unclear legal language.

What You Need to Know

As might be expected, there are a number of legal requirements in the state of California that can greatly affect any divorce proceedings.

Residency – State law requires that at least one spouse must be a resident of California for a minimum of 180 days before either party can file for divorce.

The person filing must also be a resident of the specific county where they plan to file for the divorce for at least the last three months. If both spouses meet this residence requirement, the divorce can be filed in either county.

Once the divorce has been legally filed and the paperwork delivered to the other party, another six months must pass before the divorce is final.

Depending upon the complexity of the individual case due to such issues as division of property, alimony, child custody, child support, and debts, a divorce is may, and often will, take longer than six months, but it will never take less.

Under certain circumstances, exceptions to the residency requirements may be granted for same-sex couples who are married or who have formed a domestic partnership.

Legal Separation – If neither party meets the residency requirement, they are still able to file for a legal separation. When the residence requirement has been met, the petition can be amended to ask for divorce.

Summary Dissolution – Under certain circumstances, couples that have been married for less than five years can be granted a "summary dissolution", which is an easier way to end the union. The requirements are –

  • Married for less than five years, from the date of marriage to the date of separation.
  • Have/adopted/expecting no children together before or during the marriage.
  • Do not own any land or buildings.
  • Do not rent any land or buildings, except the primary residence.
  • Are not responsible for more than $6000 worth of debts incurred during the marriage, excepting car loans.
  • Have less than $40,000 of community property.
  • Do not have separate property with a value of more than $40,000.
  • Neither spouse will receive spousal support.
  • There is an agreed-upon Division of Property document signed by both parties.

Grounds – California recognizes the "no-fault" divorce. This is important, because unlike in other states, a person cannot sue their spouse for divorce based upon some wrongdoing.

The most commonly-cited reason for divorce is "irreconcilable differences" that make it impossible to continue within the marriage.

As a general rule, the only thing the court is interested in this assisting the divorcing spouses/domestic partners come to a fair agreement about how their lives will be restructured following the dissolution of their marriage.

The goal is for both parties to be able to rebuild and move on with their lives.

Fault for the divorce still has some degree of relevancy. When adjudicating the division of property or the granting of alimony, the court will often take into account any mitigating circumstances – abandonment, adultery, domestic violence, etc.

Common-Law Marriage – California does not recognize the concept of "common-law marriage".

Two people are not married unless they officially obtained a marriage license and thereby entered into a legally-recognized relationship. Therefore, a legal divorce is not possible where there has not been a legal marriage. To be clear, unlike in some other states, it does not matter how long the parties have been cohabitating or even if one spouse has taken the other's name.

Property Division – California adheres to the principle of "community property" within a marriage. This means that all property as well as all debts acquired/incurred during the marriage are to be equally shared by both parties.

This means all incomes and interest earned or property purchased by either party, both separately and jointly.

Any real or personal property that was owned by either spouse before the marriage – including any gifts or inheritances – is not included when figuring community property.

Custody of Children – In most cases, judges in California courts try to support joint custody agreements, because the presumption is that it is in the best interest of any children to have continuing and frequent contact with both parents following a divorce.

If both parents can come to a mutual agreement as to a parenting/custody plan, the court will usually approve it. However, if no agreement can be reached, an order is usually made for mediation. It is greatly in your self-interest to try and come to some sort of an accord at this point.

As a last resort, the court will take over to make the final decision. This is where the judge – not you – has the ultimate decision in how often you get to see your children. If at all possible, you want to avoid arriving here.

Child Support – As in all other states, California basis child support on the income and resources of each parent, as well as how much time each parent will spend with the children, based upon the custody agreement.

Judges in California will sometimes impute, or "assign", a level of income to a parent who has the ability to earn more than they are currently. In this case, it is the potential income, rather than the actual income that is used in calculating child support.

Special Circumstances for Same-Sex Couples – Same-sex married couples who were married in California but who now currently live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages or divorces can then file in California, without regard to any residency requirements. It is required, however, that the divorce is filed in the same county in which they were married.

If neither party lives in California, then the only adjudication made will be about the divorce. Other issues, such as spousal support, child custody or support, or the division of property will be outside of California's jurisdiction.

If a same-sex couple engaged in a domestic partnership that was registered in California decides to end that partnership, they are able to do so even if they do not live or have never lived in California. If, however, the domestic partnership was registered elsewhere, then that couple falls under the regular residency requirements.

Learn More about The Types Of Divorce Here

How Property Is Divided In Your Divorce

Mediation And Divorce

More on Alimony And Divorce Here

Learn About How Pre-Nuptial And Post Nuptial Agreements Work In Divorce

You can learn much more about Orange County CA here http://ocgov.com/

For more on the City Of Irvine, CA visit here.

Learn about divorce in the United States.