Contested Divorce with Children

Experienced Family Law Attorneys Serving Orange County Communities

Divorces involving children may be stressful for parents and children alike. In fact, a child custody dispute is sometimes the most emotionally charged aspect of a marriage dissolution. If you are going through a contested divorce, you should reach out to a skilled Orange County divorce lawyer who can advise and represent you. With over 20 years of experience, the attorneys at the Law Offices of David P. Schwarz are committed to protecting the wellbeing of your family and helping you find an arrangement that is in the best interest of your children.

Understanding the Complexities of a Contested Divorce with Children

California is a “no fault” state, which means that either party’s misconduct will not be the basis of a divorce. By contrast, a couple will seek a divorce on the basis of “irreconcilable differences.” This simply denotes that the marriage has broken down beyond the point of repair.

A California divorce may be contested or uncontested. A contested divorce is one in which the parties are unable to come to an agreement to resolve important issues related to the divorce. When this happens, the judge resolves each of the issues on which the spouses cannot agree. An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, is one in which the parties are able to agree on the important terms of the divorce, such as child custody, property division, spousal support, and more. With this type of divorce, you can typically avoid going to trial. It usually also is less time-consuming and costly.

In California, all custody and visitation determinations are made according to what is in the best interest of the child. The judge has broad discretion to consider any factor that is relevant to the child’s health, safety, and overall wellbeing. Typically, a judge will consider the child’s wishes, each parent’s relationship with the child and whether either parent is unlikely to encourage a positive relationship with the other parent, the health of the child, and the current living arrangement, among other factors.

In contested divorces, the parties will start by engaging in a process called discovery. This step is when the parties exchange information and supporting documents that are relevant to the case. After reviewing all of the information, the judge may award joint legal custody, sole legal custody, joint physical custody, or sole physical custody, depending on the situation. Legal custody refers to the right of a parent to make decisions about important matters in the child’s life. When parents have joint legal custody, each of them has the right to make these decisions. Physical custody refers to the time that each parent has the child in their care.

Seek Assistance from a Divorce Lawyer in Orange County

If you are going through a contested divorce and are dealing with child custody issues, it is important to discuss your needs with an Orange County divorce attorney. At the Law Offices of David P. Schwarz, we are experienced in custody matters and can put our knowledge to use in your case. We serve residents of Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, San Clemente, Dana Point, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Orange, Irvine, and Newport Beach, among other communities. To learn more about your rights and options, call us at 949-735-9266 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with a child custody attorney.