California Divorce Agreements: Drafting Services
Our Vista divorce lawyers at Andrew P. Johnson, APC, are available to provide legal guidance, help and support with drafting and filing divorce documents. Our legal team believes in doing things right the first time. We know that time and money are of the utmost importance. When you and your spouse are in agreement about getting a divorce, let us help you accomplish your goals and complete your divorce in a timely fashion at a reasonable cost.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce Settlements
Did you know that 70% of Californians try to file for divorce by themselves? Unfortunately, this can actually result in a lot of frustration and headaches. It can be a struggle to decipher all of the forms, how to complete them correctly and how to file them. Often, people in this situation are referred to a nonlegal clinic, which is not allowed to provide legal divorce or family law advice.
A nonlegal clinic is designed to help answer questions, but it does so on a limited, first-come, first-serve basis. It is not uncommon that after a few appearances in court, several failed attempts at trying to find help and months of time passing, many people find themselves right back where they started.
When You And Your Spouse Agree On The Terms Of Your Divorce
In the state of California, all aspects relating to the divorce itself should be worked out before the judge can issue a decree to terminate your marriage. This agreement must incorporate several critical legal elements to ensure that all issues are addressed. They include the following:
- Property, asset and liability distribution
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support/alimony
- Retirement and pension accounts
- Investment property and accounts
- Business or professional practice ownership
If you and your spouse are in 100% agreement on all issues, then all you need is an experienced attorney to draft the necessary documents. An experienced attorney can ensure that your agreement meets all of California’s standards. When your terms meet California’s legal standards, the state will legally implement and enforce the agreements that you have worked so hard to reach. This is not always easy to accomplish.
A lot of “do-it-yourself” divorce agreements are found to be legally insufficient under California law. For example, even if you and your spouse agree to terminate child support, you cannot legally do this under California law. Subsequently, what may have been a material issue that is related to other concessions within the agreement ends up being invalid. As a result, this opens you up to additional financial liability and exposure in the future.
What If You And Your Spouse Agree On Spousal Support, Will The Court Approve It?
In the state of California, a judge will consider the income and earning potential of each spouse when deciding on alimony or spousal support. The court will also consider the length of the couple’s marriage and the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage.
Generally, if both spouses are in agreement on the amount of spousal support, the court will approve it. However, the court will also evaluate the parties’ knowledge and understanding. For example, if a lawyer was involved in helping the parties draft the agreement, a judge might be more likely to sign off on the agreement than if the parties used a form without the advice of an attorney.
The Importance Of Reaching An Agreement On The Issues In A Divorce
Most clients who approach our lawyers at Andrew P. Johnson, APC, are concerned with the following three issues:
- Completing their divorce
- Time and how long everything will take
- Money and how much everything is going to cost, and wanting ways to keep that cost down
The time and cost of a divorce directly correlate with the amount of disagreement between the parties and the course that both parties mutually choose to take to resolve their disagreements.
The legal framework for resolving issues includes negotiation, mediation and, ultimately, litigation. As the process evolves from negotiation to litigation, the parties will lose control of the ultimate outcome of these issues and the impact that those issues will have on their future.
Emotion plays a strong role in the divorce process. It is important for the parties to learn to set their emotions aside as they approach the issues. The ability of the spouses to do so, directly affects the time frame and cost of their divorce. It will ultimately influence their divorce experience.
Experienced Guidance With A Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS)
Our firm’s founder, Andrew Johnson is an experienced California Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS). He and our team will work to help you resolve all issues and recommend specific strategies to work through complex problems. Andrew’s calm, methodical and personable style will provide competent counsel as you approach the issues in your divorce and steady guidance to help bring things to a productive and successful completion.