Orange County Divorce Lawyer

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If you are experiencing a divorce, it can be difficult to navigate the complex legal processes while also making it through the disruption to your family and home. Particularly for families with children, divorce can be a challenging and overwhelming prospect. However, by working with a qualified and experienced Orange County divorce lawyer, you can work toward a favorable outcome for you and your family.

Divorce Representation in Orange County, CA

The Hatherley Firm focuses exclusively on family law cases, helping individuals through the complexities of divorce proceedings, including spousal support, division of property, child support, child custody and visitation, and even issues of domestic violence.

Every family’s needs and situation are different, so we understand that each case is different as well. That’s why we offer personalized representation that is tailored to each individual client. We can walk with you through each step of the process and help you meet your goals.

What Is the Divorce Process in Orange County?

The process for filing for divorce is both lengthy and potentially complicated. It is highly recommended that you work with an Orange County divorce attorney as soon as possible once you’ve decided you want to pursue a dissolution of marriage. The following outlines the general steps in the process:

  • Meeting initial requirements. Before you can begin the process and file for divorce, you must meet certain requirements. Since divorces are processed in the family court system in the county in which the couple resides, you must first meet the residency requirements. You or your partner must have lived in Orange County for at least three months and have lived in California for at least six months prior to filing.
  • Filing for divorce. Once the residency requirements are met, the petitioning spouse files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This officially begins the process and outlines the reasons or grounds for the divorce and any requests for settlement arrangements. The petition must legally be served to the other spouse, who then has 30 days to respond to the petition. Failure to respond could result in a default judgment by the court.
  • Negotiating settlements. Once the other spouse has responded, both parties must submit a full financial disclosure that outlines every asset, liability, income, and current expense. Both parties will then engage in negotiations in an effort to arrive at a mutually agreed-upon settlement. This agreement may be reached through attorney negotiation or mediation and will touch on issues such as property division, alimony, child custody, visitation, and support.
  • Involving the court. A judge will have to approve any arrangement agreed upon during negotiations to ensure it is equitable, fair, and, if there are children involved, is in the children’s greatest interest. When an agreement cannot be reached, the couple will go to court, where a judge will ultimately determine the settlement arrangements. The Judgment of Dissolution officially finalizes the divorce.

While this outline demonstrates the steps involved in filing for divorce, it is important to understand that California has a mandatory waiting period of six months between the time that a petition is filed and when it can be finalized. While couples may proceed with negotiations, mediation, and other processes, no divorce can be finalized before this waiting period has elapsed. Even couples who agree on all terms and conditions for their settlement agreement must wait for this period to complete.


Q: How Much Does It Cost to File for Divorce in Orange County?

A: The actual fee for filing for a divorce in Orange County is about $435. This is a mandatory fee that is paid to the court when you initially file for the divorce. However, the process of completing a divorce may include additional costs, such as fees for serving divorce papers, mediation, attorney fees, and court fees. The cost of hiring a lawyer is often offset, however, by the ways in which an attorney can help save you money.

Q: How Much Do You Pay a Divorce Lawyer in California?

A: The cost of hiring a California divorce lawyer can vary significantly based on the complexity of your situation and the experience of your attorney. Many lawyers require a retainer fee to reserve their services and additionally charge by the hour. Contested divorces tend to cost more than uncontested divorces, as they require more time and mediation.

Q: What if I Can’t Afford a Divorce Lawyer in California?

A: In some cases, the courts in California may order one spouse to cover the attorney fees of the other spouse in divorce proceedings. This can happen when there is a significant income disparity between the spouses or if one spouse is guilty of some type of misconduct. For instance, if there is a history of domestic violence, the abusive spouse may be required to cover the fees. Generally, the court seeks to ensure equitable access to legal counsel.

Q: Can I Get a Divorce in California Without a Lawyer?

A: Legally, you are not required to get a lawyer to file for divorce in California unless your case goes to court. However, navigating the legal system can be quite complex, requiring significant time, energy, and investment.

Additionally, those who choose self-representation are more likely to miss important legal considerations regarding property division, spousal support, and child custody, which could have significant financial consequences and impacts on family life as arrangements are determined. Seeking legal counsel is, therefore, highly recommended.

Contact Your Orange County Divorce Lawyer Today

If you are facing a divorce, it is important to work with an Orange County divorce lawyer who can walk you through the process as soon as possible. The Hatherley Firm is dedicated to helping families with the transition as they navigate establishing new arrangements. To discuss the details of your case and determine how an attorney can help you obtain a favorable outcome that matches your needs and goals, contact our Orange County office today.

Office Location

2050 Main Street, Suite 600 Irvine, CA 92614

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