Santa Rosa Divorce Lawyer

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SANTA ROSA, CA DIVORCE ATTORNEY

Reaching the decision to end your marriage is never easy, and it can be very traumatic to suddenly discover your spouse no longer wishes to remain married. Some couples reach mutual decisions to divorce after their marriages slowly deteriorate over many years, while others divorce abruptly in response to specific issues like infidelity, domestic violence, or criminal activity. Whatever your reasons may be for ending your marriage, it is crucial that you know what to expect from the dissolution process, how an experienced attorney can help you, and how to reach the best possible outcome for your impending divorce.

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Divorce Representation You Can Trust in Santa Rosa, CA

The Carroll Law Office has cultivated a strong reputation as a leading choice for divorce representation in the Santa Rosa area. Attorney Carroll has extensive professional experience with California divorce law, and our team has assisted many past clients in all types of divorces. The state’s dissolution statutes can seem overbearing in some cases, and many people hold misconceptions about what divorce entails in Santa Rosa.

When you have reliable legal counsel on your side, you will be better equipped to handle whatever legal challenges your case presents. The Carroll Law Office has helped many past clients reach better outcomes for their divorces than they initially expected, and you can expect responsive and compassionate legal advice from our team throughout all stages of your case.

santa rosa divorce lawyer

Why You Need a Santa Rosa Divorce Attorney

There may be no legal requirement to hire an attorney for your upcoming divorce case, but do not make the mistake of assuming you can handle your divorce on your own. Even if you and your spouse are relatively amicable toward one another and have reached a mutual decision to end your marriage, the actual legal process you face can present many unexpected challenges. Working with an experienced Santa Rosa divorce attorney means peace of mind during very stressful proceedings, and their counsel will significantly increase the chances of reaching a positive outcome for your divorce.

Your legal team can handle your case’s procedural requirements while you focus on your professional obligations and personal affairs. If you are divorcing and have children with your spouse, it’s crucial to take time to help your children understand what is happening and how their routines might change after you finalize your divorce. Even when divorcing spouses do not have children, they are still likely to face a host of complex issues from the outset of their proceedings. Therefore, it’s crucial for them to secure reliable legal counsel as soon as possible once they have decided to end their marriage to have the easiest experience possible.

There may not be a formal legal requirement to hire a Santa Rosa divorce attorney, but the right one could positively influence your divorce. The Carroll Law Office develops individualized legal strategies for every client we represent. In addition, we take time to evaluate each client’s unique needs and the complex challenges they face as they head into their divorces.

What to Expect in Your Santa Rosa Divorce

California’s divorce statutes are relatively strict, and divorcing spouses face the state’s community property law when it comes to property division in their divorce. Divorcing spouses must evenly divide all the marital property they control regardless of the underlying reason for a divorce. When one spouse’s actions directly caused the divorce, the other is likely to feel as though the community property statute is unfair or that the specific cause of their divorce requires attention and consideration when it comes to the final terms of the divorce order.

State law does not require a married person to provide a specific reason to file for divorce. In a no-fault divorce state, anyone can file for divorce once their marriage has irretrievably deteriorated, and further reconciliation attempts would not serve the interests of either spouse. Most divorces in Santa Rosa are filed for “irreconcilable differences,” but it is possible to file for divorce with cause if your spouse has harmed you, your children, or committed any other egregious act that directly resulted in the breakdown of your marriage.

There are strict procedural requirements for filing for divorce that you must meet, and you’re likely to encounter various obstacles as your dissolution proceedings unfold. The issues a couple must address in a Santa Rosa divorce case include:

  • Property division. Each spouse may keep their separate property, but all marital property and debts are subject to an equal 50/50 division under the community property law.
  • Spousal support. If one spouse depended on the other financially during their marriage, they might have grounds to seek alimony or spousal support in their divorce.
  • Child custody. When parents divorce, they must resolve custody of their children. The Santa Rosa family court tends to prefer joint custody agreements whenever workable to ensure a child has as close to equal access to both of their parents as possible.
  • Child support. State law requires divorced parents to contribute equally to their children’s living expenses. However, a noncustodial parent typically pays child support to a custodial parent, and the terms of their support order may change over time.

Your Santa Rosa divorce attorney can provide more specific guidance for addressing the unique details of your divorce, and you could face factors that could present unique opportunities to improve the final outcome of your divorce. Ultimately, if you want to reach the best possible outcome for any divorce case in Santa Rosa, a divorce attorney you can trust is the best asset to have on your side.

Understanding Property Division in a Santa Rosa Divorce

The state’s community property law outlines two types of property that will come into play in a divorce. First is separate property, which is anything a married spouse owned prior to the marriage, gifts given to them, and inheritance from family members. The second is marital property, which includes everything purchased, earned, and acquired during the marriage. Marital property usually includes income earned by both spouses during their marriage, jointly owned assets, and investments. Marital property also includes debts acquired during the marriage.

Both spouses in a divorce will need to submit complete financial records during the financial disclosure process. It is vital for both spouses to be honest and accurate in these submissions. Any intentional omissions can lead to contempt of court and severe penalties. Your Santa Rosa divorce attorney can help to ensure your financial disclosure statement includes all necessary records, and they can also help you resolve any discrepancies that may arise with your spouse’s disclosure statement.

The community property statute must divide all marital assets and debts equally. This may require liquidating certain assets and dividing the proceeds between the spouses. When a divorcing couple elects to try mediation or another type of alternative dispute resolution, they may have more control over the outcome of property division in divorce. Regardless of your net worth or your unique financial concerns regarding your divorce, an experienced Santa Rosa divorce attorney is the best asset to have on your side for improving the financial outcome of your divorce.

Child Custody and Child Support

While many divorcing spouses in Santa Rosa are able to take advantage of alternative dispute resolution to streamline their divorce proceedings, some divorce-related issues must be resolved by the court. Specifically, you and your spouse cannot privately resolve child custody or child support. The two of you can develop a parenting plan that outlines your respective preferences for custody and support terms, but a family court judge must have the final say.

A family court judge overseeing a custody determination in a divorce must evaluate each parent’s fitness to handle their child’s basic needs. A parent is likely to be deemed automatically unfit if they have engaged in any type of domestic violence or if they have any type of record of child abuse. It’s also possible for custody or visitation rights to be denied if the judge has any reason to believe that a parent poses a safety risk to their child due to a substance abuse disorder or mental health condition.

Most judges prefer to arrange joint custody orders that provide a child with as much access to each of their parents as possible. Some of the factors used to determine custody and support include each parent’s respective income and work schedule, as well as their respective living arrangements and proximity to relatives, the child’s school, and medical providers. If a child has disabilities or unique concerns, the judge must take these factors into account as well.

Resolving Your Divorce in Santa Rosa, CA

When most people imagine divorce, they picture heated courtroom exchanges, but litigation may only be necessary to resolve a fraction of the issues your divorce entails. As a result, most divorcing couples throughout the United States are choosing alternative dispute resolution to save time and money on their dissolution proceedings. For example, divorce mediation could enable you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to resolve your divorce much more quickly than litigation would allow. An experienced Santa Rosa divorce attorney will be an essential asset if you want to maximize the benefits that alternative dispute resolution could provide.

Ultimately, you will need to finalize your divorce in the family court, and your Santa Rosa divorce attorney can help you prepare for each courtroom appearance you must attend to finalize your divorce. At the Carroll Law Office, our goal is to help our clients reach the best results as quickly as possible. We’ll help you take advantage of alternative dispute resolution to the fullest extent possible if this is an option for your case, and we can represent you in whatever measure of litigation will be necessary to complete your divorce.

Revisiting a Divorce Order in Santa Rosa, CA

The family court system acknowledges that an unforeseen event in your life can tremendously impact the terms of a standing family court order. For example, if your divorce order requires you to pay alimony to your ex, but you lose your job due to a catastrophic injury, this change in your life is likely enough to justify a release from your spousal support obligation. It’s possible to adjust child support, child custody, or other terms of your divorce order under certain conditions.

The modification process begins with a petition explaining the desired change. The petition must clearly explain the change the petitioner is seeking and an explanation as to why they believe the change to be both necessary and reasonable. Once the court receives the petition, a hearing is scheduled, and all parties involved in the case have the chance to speak on the issue. While it’s possible to file a petition for modification and even succeed with it without an attorney, there is always a chance for a modification petition to generate contention, and you will need your attorney’s help to resolve any such controversies that might arise with your petition.

FAQs About Santa Rosa, CA Divorce Laws

How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in California?

The cost of a divorce lawyer in California can vary widely based on factors like complexity, location, and attorney fees. On average, it can range from a few thousand to several thousand dollars.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in California?

The time it takes to get a divorce in California depends on several factors, including the complexity of the case and court backlog. In general, it can take anywhere from six months to several years to finalize a divorce in California.

Contact an Experienced Santa Rosa Divorce Lawyer Today

Legal representation you can trust can make every aspect of your impending divorce easier to manage and more likely to generate agreeable results. The Carroll Law Office takes time to learn as much as possible about each client we represent. While all divorcing couples in Santa Rosa will face some similar challenges as they resolve their divorce proceedings, every divorce will entail some unique details that the average person will not know how to properly address on their own.

Your impending divorce is likely to influence the next several years of your life in various ways. Regardless of your case’s apparent simplicity or complexity, the right attorney is the best asset to reach an agreeable outcome for your proceedings. The team at the Carroll Law Office is ready to provide the ongoing support and guidance you are likely to need as you resolve your divorce. If you are ready to speak with a Santa Rosa divorce attorney you can trust, contact our team today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our legal services.

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