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What to Expect in an Irvine Divorce Case

You probably know certain facts about your divorce case. You know that you are asking the judge to dissolve your marriage, and you know that the judge will decide important issues regarding child custody, child support, spousal support and the division of marital property, assuming you and your spouse are not able to work out the details for all of the above. There may be other aspects to your California divorce you are not aware of. Below are some parts of the process you should definitely know about so you are not surprised going in to your divorce. For more information or for high-quality legal assistance with a divorce in Irvine, contact attorney Landon C. Villavaso for a free initial consultation.

Temporary Orders – Some of the key issues to be finalized in a divorce include child custody and child support if the marriage produced children, and spousal support if needed. But a divorce can take many months to finalize. How are custody issues worked out in the meantime, and what if one spouse cannot support him or herself while the divorce is pending? Either spouse can request the court to issue temporary orders regarding any of these issues. In the best case, the spouses can work out these issues on their own and ask the court to approve them in formal temporary orders. If the spouses disagree, then it may be necessary to argue the issue of temporary orders before the judge. The court may also implement its own temporary orders, such as ordering both parties not to sell off any significant assets or make any substantial purchases which might impact the division of community property.

Preliminary Financial Disclosures – Both parties are required to complete preliminary and final disclosures to enable the court to make a proper division of community property. Required disclosures include:

  • A complete schedule of assets and debts
  • A property declaration for community and quasi-community property
  • A property declaration for non-community property
  • An income and expense declaration
  • Two years of tax returns
  • A statement of material facts and information regarding valuation of all community property assets
  • A statement of material facts and information regarding valuation of all non-community property
  • An accurate and complete written disclosure of any investment opportunity, business opportunity or other income-producing opportunity presented since the date of separation

If you don’t know what community property and quasi-community property are, don’t worry. Just make sure you retain an experienced and qualified Irvine, California divorce attorney to help you with your divorce, and your attorney can explain these concepts to you and help you complete all required disclosures.

Child Custody Evaluation – If the parents cannot agree on the child custody arrangement, or if one parent raises concerns about another parent’s fitness regarding parenting ability, the court is likely to order a custody evaluation, also known as a 730 Evaluation. In this scenario, a qualified evaluator, who is either a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or marriage and family therapist, will interview the children and possibly conduct or order psychological testing (conducted by a trained psychologist). The evaluator may observe the children interacting with each parent in the home setting or other locations and may also interview teachers, school counselors or even family friends. The evaluator then submits a report to the judge overseeing the divorce or child custody dispute. The evaluation may or may not include recommendations for the judge.

A 730 Evaluation only serves as guidance to the judge, and it is only one factor used in determining custody matters. If you disagree with the findings of the custody evaluator, you can have the report reviewed by another mental health professional, whose opinion can be admitted in court as evidence along with the initial evaluation. Either party may request a custody evaluation, or the judge may order one on his or her own initiative. An evaluation may be comprehensive or limited to just a single issue, depending on the situation.

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