Divorce in Santa Clara County

Lockhart Park, LLP represents clients in all types of family law matters including: divorce, property division, spousal support/alimony, child support, child support modification and enforcement, child custody/visitation, domestic violence/restraining orders and mediation.

Divorces come in many shapes and sizes and range from those that are amicable to divorces that are highly contentious. Filing for divorce, however, is usually a difficult decision and is often the beginning of an emotionally taxing process. If one spouse wants to file for divorce in California, the other spouse cannot stop them from doing so. The attorneys at Lockhart Park, LLP will meet with you to understand your specific situation and address any concerns and jointly determine the best path forward to accomplish your goals. Thereafter, we will work tirelessly to represent your interests and protect your legal rights whether in negotiating a favorable settlement, arguing motions at court hearings, representing you through mediation or trial, or as simply helping you navigate the complex procedures and paperwork to ensure a speedy resolution.

An individual filing for divorce in Santa Clara County must be a California resident for at least six (6) months and have lived in Santa Clara County for three (3) months. The spouse filing for divorce must file a written Petition with the Court. The Petition may include a request for temporary orders, including without limitation: child support, spousal support or alimony, child custody/visitation, domestic violence/restraining orders, or property division. The non-moving spouse must file a written Response within 30 days. If no Response is filed, the court may order a default judgment to be entered and the law will then treat the divorce as if the parties are in agreement with the requests set forth in the Petition. Public policy requires that a divorce in California be completed within six (6) months.

CONTESTED DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS

A typical contested divorce consists of four general phases: discovery, court hearings, settlement negotiations/mediation, and trial.

Discovery

During the discovery phase, the parties exchange information through written or oral statements. The parties exchange financial disclosures regarding income, assets, debts, and separate property. Formal discovery, including document requests, special interrogatories, requests for admissions and depositions may be necessary to force an uncooperative spouse to comply with the Discovery Act and make a full disclosure of relevant financial information.

Settlement Negotiations/Mediation

In family law matters, parties are generally advised to attempt to work out a compromise with respect to custody and support issues. Judges and court proceedings can be unpredictable and it is usually beneficial to reach a compromise agreement, even if not ideal, rather than to leave critical issues up for debate and subject to a decision by a judge. We recognize, however, that it reaching a compromise where one or more parties are particularly unreasonable is difficult. The attorneys at Lockhart Park, LLP are skilled negotiators who will assist you in reaching compromise where possible and beneficial to you. The importance of having a skilled advocate who can protect and advise you of your legal rights should not be underestimated in divorce negotiations. While negotiated settlements are often the best for all involved, our attorneys will ensure that your interests are protected and that you are fully advised before entering into any settlement. If the parties agree on the terms, a Marital Settlement Agreement is finalized and filed with the court.

Court Hearings

Should the parties be unable to reach agreement on issues such as child/spousal support, property division, and child custody/visitation, the court will then become involved and a judge will decide the outcome after written motions and responses are filed and served and oral argument is presented. The litigation attorneys at Lockhart Park, LLP have decades of experience in law and motion and court hearings and will zealously represent you in court.

Trial

Only a small percentage of Divorce cases proceed to trial. In a divorce trial, both parties have an opportunity to make opening and closing statements and present evidence by way of pre-marked exhibits and witnesses, including expert testimony by accountants/appraisers, or psychologists in custody disputes. Divorce trials can last for hours, days, or weeks depending on the issues involved. Once the trial is completed, a Judgment of Dissolution will be prepared and filed with the court, after which the parties are legally entitled to enter into another marriage.

Whether your divorce is amicable or heavily contested our Santa Clara County family law attorneys will be walk with you every step of the way to guide, provide counsel and protect your interests through this difficult time. Please contact one of our aggressive yet compassionate family law attorneys today.