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3699 Wilshire Blvd. Ste 700, Los Angeles, CA 90010 Mon-Fri 9am-6pm +1-213-387-4508

California Divorce Overview

Get a basic understanding of a Los Angeles County Divorce as it pertains to California Family Law

family law attorney los angeles

An Overview of a Los Angeles Divorce

You deserve the top legal representation and divorce firm of  Charles M. Green, APLC. Led by the highly skilled courtroom lawyer and Certified California Family Law Specialist Charles M. Green. Our firm brings a rare blend of talented legal expertise and deep financial insight to your family law issue. With over 26 years of dedicated legal experience with California divorce cases and a unique background as a CPA, Charles M. Green stands out as a family law attorney of exceptional caliber.

Our team at Charles M. Green, APLC, combines a seamless blend of keen financial insight and formidable legal expertise, uniquely equipping us to guide you through the complexities of divorce and other areas of family law. We are dedicated to helping clients in Los Angeles County who are ready to move forward in life with the strongest footing possible. Our organized method and efficient communication ensure that every aspect of your case is handled with precision, paving the way for a future built on solid ground. Make us the best of your legal options for a Los Angeles divorce lawyer.

Los Angeles Divorce Practice Areas


Understanding Divorce In California

Under California Family Code § 2300, outlines the legal framework for the dissolution of marriage, allowing married individuals to return to a single status. This section of the law sets the foundation for the divorce process in California, marking the official end of a marriage and thereby altering the legal rights and responsibilities of the individuals involved. It provides the legal basis for couples who want to dissolve their marriage, providing a transition back to single/ unmarried status under the state’s legal system.

The repercussions of divorce on property entitlements have become a staple for tabloids in numerous high-profile celebrity divorces. Furthermore, its influence on parental and visitation rights has been highlighted amidst acrimonious custody disputes, leading to the perception of divorce as an inherently distressing ordeal within family law. At Charles M. Green, APLC, we understand the emotional complexities of divorce. The attorneys at our law firm apply strategic yet compassionate advocacy administering legal help. We aim to give legal options that shield our clients and their loved ones from potential trauma and ensure a transition that is as favorable and harmonious as possible.


Residency Requirements for a Dissolution

To initiate a divorce in California, at least one spouse must have been a resident of the state for a minimum of six months and of the county where the divorce is filed for three months preceding the filing.

However, the residency prerequisites differ for legal separations domestic partnerships and other types of relationships:

  • Legal Separation: There is no waiting period for filing a legal separation in California. If one spouse resides in California, they may file immediately. Should the need arise, the petition for legal separation can be amended to a divorce petition once the residency requirements for divorce are met.

  • LGBTQ/Same-Sex Couples: Same-sex couples who married in California but currently reside in a jurisdiction that does not recognize or grant divorces for same-sex couples can still file for divorce in the California county where they were married. While the court can dissolve the marriage, its authority to rule on related matters like property division, spousal support, or child custody may be limited. It is advisable to consult with a legal professional for detailed advice.

  • Domestic Partnership: For a domestic partnership registered in California, the residency requirement for divorce does not apply. The court can terminate the partnership but might be limited in its ability to make decisions regarding property, support, or children if neither partner meets the residency criteria. On the other hand, if the partnership is not registered in California, the standard residency requirement for divorce applies.

Understanding these nuances is crucial. The attorneys at the firm of Charles M. Green, APLC, navigate these legal waters and represent our clients with unique skill and personal attention.

Whether you are facing a contested or uncontested divorce, our approach is designed to protect your interests and minimize the emotional and legal strain of the California divorce process. We will ensure that your rights are upheld and your voice is heard.


California is a “No-fault” Divorce State

In the state of California, the law embraces a “No Fault” approach to divorce, signifying that the spouse seeking a divorce isn’t required to prove any wrongdoing by their partner. Typically, divorces are filed on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” a term that simply implies the spouses can no longer coexist in harmony.

The law in California maintains a neutral stance on marital misconduct such as infidelity. Engaging in an affair won’t subject one parent a spouse to penalties in terms of asset division or the obligation to provide increased financial support during the divorce proceedings.

Within the divorce process, the spouse initiating the action is designated as the “Petitioner,” while the other spouse is referred to as the “Respondent.” While there is no inherent legal benefit to being the first to file for divorce, certain situations may present a strategic advantage in taking this initial step.

It’s essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to understand the potential implications of filing first in a divorce case. The attorneys at Charles M. Green, APLC law firm can provide expert guidance to ensure that any actions you take are strategically sound and aligned with your best interests.


Divorce Waiting Period

In California, there is a mandatory waiting period for finalizing a divorce. Under Section 2339 (a) of the California Family Code, spouses cannot finalize their divorce until six months after the date of service of a copy of the summons and petition or the date of appearance of the respondent, whichever occurs first. This six-month waiting period is designed to provide a window of opportunity for the couple to reconsider the decision and possibly reconcile.

However, it’s important to note that just filing a divorce does not start the clock ticking. The waiting period starts from the date the divorce summons, and petition are served on the respondent, or the respondent makes an appearance. This period allows for any necessary negotiations or court proceedings to take place.


Grounds for Divorce

In California, divorce can be granted on two legal grounds: irreconcilable differences and permanent legal incapacity.

Irreconcilable differences refer to situations where the spouses have such profound disagreements that they cannot continue the marriage. This is a no-fault ground, meaning neither spouse has to prove that the other did something wrong. The spouse seeking divorce needs to state that the couple cannot get along, leading to an irremediable breakdown of the marriage.

Permanent legal incapacity, on the other hand, requires expert medical or psychiatric testimony to prove that one spouse is unable to make decisions. Ground is less common and is used in situations where a spouse has a severe mental or physical condition that prevents them from participating in the divorce process.


Types of  Dissolution Cases 


Uncontested Divorce:

An uncontested divorce settlement is the most straightforward and amicable option. Both spouses agree on all key issues such as, but not limited to, property division, child custody, alimony, and child support, without the need for court intervention.

As an option, uncontested divorce is suitable when both parties are willing to cooperate, communicate openly, and reach a mutual agreement on all divorce-related matters.

Contested Divorce:

In a contested divorce, spouses cannot agree on one or more aspects of their divorce, such as property division, child custody, or support. These disputes often require court intervention and legal proceedings.

When spouses are unable to reach a consensus on crucial issues, a contested divorce is necessary. It typically involves negotiation, mediation, or litigation to resolve disagreements.


Description: A default divorce occurs when one spouse files for divorce, and the other party does not respond within the specified time frame. The court may proceed with the divorce based on the filing spouse’s terms.

Default divorce is an option when one party is unresponsive or uncooperative but can also result from genuine unawareness of the divorce proceedings.

Summary Dissolution:

Summary dissolution is a simplified divorce process available to couples with very few assets, no children, and a short marriage. It streamlines the divorce process and involves fewer paperwork requirements.

Couples seeking a summary dissolution must meet specific criteria, including a marriage duration of five years or less, limited joint assets and debts, and no children from the marriage.

High-Net Worth

Common for Business owners, High-asset divorce cases involve intricate financial considerations and require specialized legal representation to adequately protect financial interests. These cases often include the division of businesses, professional practices, real estate portfolios, stock options, and other significant investments, which demand a sophisticated understanding of both legal and financial strategies. Charles M. Green also has a unique distinction amongst attorneys, he is a former accomplished CPA for prominent New York and Los Angeles accounting firms.


LGBTQ divorces, while legally akin to heterosexual separations, often involve distinct considerations like marriage recognition, child custody, and pre-marriage asset division. A knowledgeable attorney in LGBTQ family law is essential to address these specific needs, ensuring equitable treatment and protection of rights for all involved.

Legal Separation:

Legal separation allows spouses to live separately and formalize their separation agreement legally. It addresses issues like spousal, child support, and property division without ending the marriage.

Legal separation is an option when couples want to remain married for personal, religious, or insurance reasons but no longer wish to live together.


Navigating Property and Marriage Concerns with a Skilled Divorce Attorney in Los Angeles

The division of property during a divorce is a complex and often contentious issue in California, where community property laws mandate an equal split of marital assets and debts. This includes everything earned or acquired during the marriage and any debts incurred together.

The date of separation is an important line, marking the boundary between what is considered community property and what is deemed separate. This date affects how assets and debts accumulated afterward are classified.

Navigating these complexities, especially in high-stakes divorces, frequently requires the expertise of appraisers, forensic accountants, family law attorneys, and business valuators to ensure an accurate valuation of the marital estate.


Understanding Divorce Proceedings

Embarking on a divorce can also be a complex landscape that involves far more than just the decision to end a marriage. It can encompass critical negotiations over such things as property division, child custody and support, and alimony obligations—critical items that can lay the foundation for both parties’ futures. These discussions often hit impasses, leading to court intervention, where judicial decisions become binding. The intricacy of divorce proceedings underscores the need for skilled legal guidance to help you navigate these waters successfully.

At the Law Offices of Charles M. Green, we specialize in a holistic approach to family law. We address not just the basics of divorce but also associated issues such as paternity, relocation matters, and high-net-worth divorce complexities. Our expertise extends to protecting your rights in contested and uncontested divorces and ensuring fair outcomes in cases involving domestic violence.

Contact us for a personalized case assessment, during which we’ll explore the most effective legal strategies for your unique situation. We are committed to success and your well-being and aim to guide you through this challenging time with professionalism and care, securing a resolution that aligns with your best interests.


Starting the Divorce Process

The initial step in seeking a divorce in California begins with one spouse, known as the petitioner, filing the necessary legal paperwork at the courthouse. Following this, the other spouse, referred to as the respondent, must be officially served with these documents. The respondent then has a critical decision to make — whether to file a response, which must occur within 30 days of being served. This period marks the commencement of a legal process that could range from a swift agreement to potentially extended negotiations involving motions and hearings before the divorce is finalized.


Understanding Your Options

At Charles M. Green, APLC, we guide you through the various paths your divorce can take, from contested to uncontested proceedings and summary dissolution for qualifying couples. Understanding the nuances of each option allows you to make informed decisions tailored to your unique situation.


The Importance of Detailed Financial Disclosure

A pivotal part of the divorce process is the exchange of financial information, known as the preliminary declaration of disclosure. This step ensures both parties are fully aware of each other’s financial situation, laying the groundwork for equitable division of assets and responsibilities.


Tailoring Your Approach

Divorce can be both time-consuming and costly, but many couples find that mediation or collaboration through a family law facilitator can lead to more amicable and cost-effective outcomes. Our firm specializes in facilitating these discussions, ensuring that any agreements reached can be officially filed with the court for future enforcement.


Leveraging Experienced Legal Representation

In Los Angeles, family courts encourage parties to negotiate settlements independently due to the high volume of cases. With over 26 years of experience and a background in accounting, Charles M. Green brings unparalleled legal expertise to your case and a deep understanding of the financial stakes involved. Our firm is committed to helping you navigate the settlement process wisely, aiming to resolve as many issues as possible outside of court, yet always prepared to fiercely advocate on your behalf if trial becomes necessary.


Eligibility for Summary Dissolution

For those in marriages or registered domestic partnerships of less than five years, summary dissolution might offer a simpler way to part ways, provided certain conditions are met. Our team can help determine if this is a viable option for you and guide you through the process if it is.


Post-Divorce Considerations

Choosing Charles M. Green, APLC means selecting a partner dedicated to your future. From understanding the initial steps of filing for divorce to exploring every legal avenue available, including the handling of complex financial distributions and custody arrangements, we ensure your rights are protected. Our approach is designed to provide not only legal advocacy but also support and guidance through this challenging time, ensuring a resolution that aligns with your best interests and sets a solid foundation for the next chapter of your life.



What to Expect at Your Divorce Consultation

Charles M. Green, a seasoned Los Angeles family law attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist, understands the intricacies of divorce law. Our initial consultation is an opportunity for you to meet with Mr. Green personally, allowing you to gauge if our firm aligns with your needs and legal objectives.

During this meeting, we aim to:

  • Provide a comprehensive overview of the divorce process, highlighting key aspects such as property division, child custody, and support.
  • Offer insights tailored to your case, setting realistic expectations based on our extensive experience.
  • Establish a clear understanding of how Charles M. Green can represent and advocate for your interests, whether your case requires strategic negotiation or determined litigation.



Are Divorce Records Public Record?

In California, divorce filings, like marriage records, are part of the public domain, making them accessible to anyone interested. However, to safeguard sensitive details, such as financial disclosures or personal matters, you can request a protective order. This is particularly relevant for high-profile individuals and those with substantial assets in Los Angeles County, where privacy concerns are paramount. Charles Green, with over 26 years of expertise in family law and a unique background in financial matters, can guide you through securing your privacy. Contact our office for tailored solutions to keep your personal information confidential.”



Rules of Engagement While Dealing with Divorce

California divorces range from smooth, diplomatic transitions to tumultuous, emotionally charged battles, often landing somewhere in between. Unique individual experiences and unaddressed personal issues can exacerbate the emotional intensity of a breakup, making it crucial to approach the process with a mindset focused on minimizing negativity for everyone’s benefit. Experienced divorce attorneys, like Charles Green, play a pivotal role in guiding clients to maintain rational thinking and composure, not only for moral reasons but also to potentially save on financial costs and future implications associated with the divorce.

Adhering to constructive “Rules of Engagement for Divorce ” can significantly influence the outcome of a divorce case. These guidelines include maintaining decorum and civility, prioritizing children’s well-being, and being mindful of communications, including avoiding discussions with the divorcing spouse’s family and friends that could be used against you in court. Essential advice also covers not canceling any shared health or insurance plans and refraining from any actions that could be perceived negatively by a family court judge. Keeping detailed notes on all interactions and seeking spiritual or mental support are recommended strategies to navigate the challenges of divorce while aiming for the best possible outcome.



los angeles divorce lawyer

Attorney Charles M. Green, Esq.

Charles M. Green, distinguished as a Certified California Family Law Specialist by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California, expertly blends his mastery in financial accounting with his acumen as a litigation attorney specializing in Family Law. This unique dual expertise equips him to adeptly navigate the complex waters of family law disputes, offering his clients unparalleled legal support. Beyond family law, his diverse experience extends to various crucial legal areas impacting individuals, families, and businesses.

Securing  Charles M. Green as your divorce attorney guarantees access to a profound depth of legal knowledge and a commitment to securing favorable outcomes. His approach, deeply informed by both financial insight and legal strategy, makes him an invaluable resource for those facing the intricate processes of family law, including navigating a California divorce. With Charles, clients receive more than just representation; they gain a dedicated advocate committed to their future.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a divorce lawyer cost in Los Angeles?

In Los Angeles, the cost of a divorce lawyer typically ranges from $200 to $900 per hour.

What is the average retainer fee for a divorce lawyer in California?

The average retainer fee for a divorce lawyer in California is between $3,000 and $5,000.

How to find a divorce lawyer in Angeles?

To find a divorce lawyer in Los Angeles, start by researching online using resources like the lawyer’s website, Yelp, Avvo, Findlaw, Lawyers.com, or the local bar association, such as the Los Angeles County Bar Association. This will help you explore available options and make an informed decision.

What is the role of a divorce attorney in Los Angeles?

A divorce attorney in Los Angeles acts as a trusted advisor, legal advocate, and emotional support for clients, managing complex legal tasks and providing advice on substantial marital assets, while also steering clients away from emotional decision-making.

What are the types of divorce cases in Los Angeles?

In Los Angeles, the common types of divorce cases include uncontested, contested, high-value assets, and dissolution of domestic partnerships.

The judge can order your spouse or another parent to pay for all or part of the legal costs. Even if one may have money to secure a lawyer, if the other person is more financially abundant, the court can order them to assist in paying your divorce fees.

How long can a spouse drag out a divorce in California?

In California, uncontested divorces can be finalized in as little as 6 months. We’ve seen situations where, more complex cases with disagreements over items such as child custody, property division, or spousal support could take a few years. The length really depends on how cooperative you or your spouse are and the complexity of your case.