In a California divorce litigation, each spouse may hire their own lawyer, who acts as an advocate for their client: protecting their interests, offering advice, and devising a case strategy to ensure their client achieves the best result possible.
When Litigation is the Best Approach
For particularly complex litigated California divorce cases where spouses are unable to agree on some or all of the issues – such as child custody or the division of marital assets and debts, or spousal support – litigation might be the only process to resolve their case.
Other reasons to choose litigation to resolve divorce-related issues include:
- Domestic violence or child safety issues. If one spouse is afraid they or their children will be harmed if they don’t give into their spouse’s demands, they need a lawyer to advocate for them – and protect them with restraining orders, if necessary.
- One party suffers from severe mental illness. If their illness renders them incapable of making good decisions for themselves or their children, they need an attorney to represent them and protect their interests.
- One party has an ongoing substance-abuse problem. A drug or alcohol addiction may mean a party is unlikely to be able to make good decisions for themselves and their children.
- One party is being completely unreasonable. This is the type of case that will likely appear before a judge.
The Litigation Process
The California divorce litigation process could include multiple steps, such as the gathering of evidence in discovery, settlement proposals and counter-proposals, a pre-trial hearing, and possibly a trial with a judge rendering a final ruling.
Before setting a court date, your attorney will negotiate on your behalf with your spouse’s attorney. The usual topics for negotiation are division of marital debts and assets, child custody and child support, and spousal support. Of course, there are a myriad of other issues that could be resolved in divorce litigation, but the prior are the most common. Your attorney will ask the other side to produce documents relevant to the case – including a financial statement, tax returns, bank statements, and any other pertinent information – and your spouse’s attorney will do the same.
If the negotiations fail, then your case will go to trial, which requires both parties and their attorneys to go to court. The attorneys will present their cases – which usually includes testimony from the parties as well as expert witness testimony, if necessary – and enter documents into evidence. After hearing the testimony and reviewing the evidence, the judge will make the final decisions regarding any previously unresolved issues. If your case is particularly complicated and/or has multiple issues, your trial could last for several days – or even weeks.
The Hemmer and Barr Advantage
The attorneys at Hemmer and Barr are highly experienced in California divorce litigation; we have the negotiation skills to resolve the most complex disputes, and we also have the trial skills to fight for your rights in court. Throughout the divorce process, we will negotiate with your spouse’s attorney or your spouse directly if they have no attorney, working tirelessly to reach an agreement without involving the court if possible.
Our experienced family law attorneys know the judges in Sacramento courts, and how they are likely to rule on a given issue, so we can provide advice about which issues are worth fighting for – and which are not. Knowing when to compromise will help to keep costs down, and it will save time as well. Unlike some attorneys who may predict unrealistic results to win your business, our respected attorneys will provide an honest assessment of your case.
If going to court cannot be avoided, we will prepare you for the trial and the potential outcome(s).
It is crucial to have a skilled attorney by your side to protect your interests and to help you navigate the complicated divorce process. The judge’s final decision could be far from what you were hoping for if your spouse comes prepared with an experienced divorce attorney and you hire someone who only “dabbles” in family law. Hemmer and Barr offers capable attorneys who will act in your best interests during the entire divorce litigation process, offering you advice and possible outcomes, while keeping you organized during the many hearings and requests to produce documents that may arise.
A litigated California divorce is adversarial by definition, but an overly aggressive approach from an attorney can result in spending more time and money than necessary. Choosing the right attorney for your case is key; Hemmer and Barr offers skilled negotiators who seek to settle your case without going to court – but they are ready and able to take your case to trial if the other side is being unreasonable.
Going to trial is always somewhat risky, since a judge who does not know you personally will be making life-altering decisions regarding your children, finances, and property. Hemmer and Barr can help to reduce that risk by providing experienced and knowledgeable attorneys who have successfully argued the most complex divorce cases.
Although divorce litigation is the right choice for many people, it is not the only way to settle your divorce-related issues. Other no-court options are mediation or collaborative law, and private judging our skilled mediators and collaborative lawyers would be pleased to discuss these alternative dispute resolution processes with you.
To speak with a representative at Hemmer and Barr regarding our experience in litigation contact us by calling (916) 922-8500.