Best Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers
The Spodek Law Group is an elite California divorce law firm that provides superior service and white glove professionalism, to a unique clientele nationwide. Our divorce attorneys handle tough cases, that need experience, excellence, and dedication, to win. With over 50 years of combined experience, we have experience handling virtually every type of divorce and family law situation you may find yourself in. Our Los Angeles divorce lawyers offer a risk free consultation with a fully licensed, and credible, California divorce attorney who is here to answer any question you may have. We offer flexible payment plans, so that you don’t have to worry about your finances when choosing the California divorce attorney attorney you want. At Spodek Law Group, we understand the stress you are feeling, and empathize. We answer calls promptly, respond to emails punctually, and take pride in offering white-glove service for all of our clients. Founding partner Todd Spodek is one of the most reputable attorneys nationwide and is frequently interviewed by the media.
Spodek Law Group is a second-generation law firm, that operates nationwide. Our team of attorneys based out of Los Angeles has experience handling uncontested divorces and complex divorces alike. What matters is the fact that when you hire our law firm, you’re hiring a seasoned team of family law attorneys who have experience dealing with serious family law issues. We have over 50 years of combined experience practicing law, and are pleased to utilize it to help you get better results. Our Los Angeles divorce lawyers know how stressful family law matters can be, which is why we strive to be a guiding light and a voice of reason for our clients.
Our Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers Treat You Like Family
Founding partner Todd Spodek, and his team of Los Angeles divorce lawyers, is here to help guide you through this complicated time in your life. Todd has handled cases that have captivated the media spotlight and has many years of experience handling cases in the limelight. His unique perspective is unique amongst his peers, and other attorneys you may be considering. Our team’s goal is to help keep your emotions in check, and to make decisions with a sound, and reasonable, state of mind. We constantly share our experience and expertise, so you can make the best decision possible. Founding partner Todd Spodek, and his team of Los Angeles divorce lawyers, are here to help guide you through this complicated time in your life. Todd has handled cases that have captivated the media spotlight and has many years of experience handling cases in the limelight. His unique perspective is unique amongst his peers, and other attorneys you may be considering. Our team’s goal is to help keep your emotions in check, and to make decisions with a sound, and reasonable, state of mind. We constantly share our experience and expertise, so you can make the best decision possible. Our Los Angeles family law attorneys have experience with all aspects of family law cases and divorce. Regardless of whether you need a prenuptial agreement in order to preserve your premarital property, or want a postnuptial agreement – we can help. Perhaps you, and your child, are the victims of domestic violence and need a restraining order against your spouse. We can help. We empathize, and we understand. We can take immediate action to preserve your safety, and get you the court-ordered protection you need.
We approach each case with a desire to tailor our approach to your needs. This is critical. No two situations are alike, just as no two people are alike. We listen carefully to your goals and concerns – and provide a tailored strategy. This strategy revolves around what we think is possible, what the law dictates, and most importantly: the outcome you’re looking for. We strive to understand where you’re coming from so we can come up with a solution that is customized to your needs. Going through a divorce can take an emotional toll, especially if you don’t have counsel that properly reflects your goals and desires. There are many steps to take into consideration from child custody to alimony, not to mention the division of property. That’s where our family law attorneys step in and take over the process. Our goal is to move you through the divorce process, so you can receive a fresh start and not be encumbered by your spouse.
At Spodek Law Group, our Los Angeles divorce lawyers understand the gravity of a legal dispute with your family. It can be a challenging and emotional time, especially when children are involved. That’s why our attorneys are here to guide you through the process and help you make informed decisions about your future.
With over two decades of experience handling the most complex family law matters in the Los Angeles area, we are equipped to aggressively defend our clients’ interests and fight for the most favorable outcomes. Our approach has led to multi-million dollar property settlements, successful child custody arrangements, and generous alimony and child support orders for our clients.
We understand that every family and divorce is unique, and we strive to customize our legal representation to fit your specific needs and desires. Our attorneys listen actively to your concerns and personally handle your case from start to finish. We don’t pass cases off to inexperienced attorneys or legal support staff.
If you’re facing a family law dispute and are unsure of your options, call Spodek Law Group to schedule a free case evaluation. Our skilled legal team will listen to your story, outline your legal options, and develop a personalized strategy for your specific situation. The future of your family is at stake, and we’re here to help. Don’t hesitate, call us today.
Hire a Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer Who Cares
Navigating the tumultuous waters of divorce can be a trying and stressful experience, particularly when children are involved. The Los Angeles divorce attorneys at Spodek Law understand the gravity of this life-altering decision and are dedicated to easing the burden for you and your family.
At Spodek Law, we specialize in both contested and uncontested divorce cases, and are committed to providing personalized and comprehensive representation for our clients. Our team of experienced family law attorneys will take the time to truly listen to your concerns, answer all of your questions, and evaluate your unique situation to advise you of all your legal options.
Our primary goal is to protect your rights and the best interests of your family, while also taking into account the various other aspects of your life that may be affected by the divorce. We understand that ending a marriage is never an easy decision, and strive to create a tailored experience that you can look back on with a sense of closure and without regret.
At Spodek Law, we pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge of California divorce laws, and our ability to stay up-to-date with the latest rules, laws, and best practices. Our team of attorneys also work collaboratively to tackle even the most complex legal issues, and we form long-term relationships with our clients for optimal results. Additionally, we use in-house resources to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness for our clients.
In California, most divorce cases must be filed in the county in which the couple resides, and there are specific residency requirements that must be met. However, if those requirements are not met, a legal separation can still be filed. California is a community property state, meaning that marital assets and debts must be divided equally in divorce. Our attorneys are well-versed in the process of property division and can guide you through the necessary steps.
At Spodek Law, we also offer expert representation in a wide range of family law matters, including contested and uncontested divorce, high net worth divorce, legal separation, child custody, property division, debt division, spousal support, child support, child visitation, maintenance, and post-decree matters.
No matter the nature of your particular divorce or situation, the attorneys at Spodek Law are here to provide the support and guidance you need. We can help you navigate California’s complex divorce laws and statutes, and work towards a resolution that is in the best interest of you and your family.
Ending a marriage is difficult
Ending a marriage can be a difficult and emotional process, and there are a few different options available to couples looking to dissolve their union. One of these options is divorce, which is often used interchangeably with another option called marriage dissolution.
While both divorce and marriage dissolution involve ending a marriage, they have different meanings from a legal standpoint. Divorce typically involves one spouse alleging the fault of the other for the split, while marriage dissolution is a mutual decision to end the marriage. This is often referred to as a “no-fault” divorce, as it does not involve assigning blame to either spouse.
In California, the laws surrounding divorce and marriage dissolution are such that almost every couple in the state achieves marriage dissolution rather than divorce. This is because the state has no-fault laws, which means that the courts will not punish one spouse for wrongdoing, even if that spouse committed adultery or ended the marriage in another way.
Another option for couples looking to end their marriage is legal separation. This is a less final option than divorce, and it allows couples to retain some of the benefits of marriage, such as family insurance plans. However, it also allows couples to live separately, and it enables them to qualify for things like child support and spousal maintenance. Legal separation also can make the divorce process easier in the future, if that is the ultimate goal.
In summary, divorce and marriage dissolution are two ways to end a marriage and they have different legal meanings. No-fault divorce is a simpler way to end a marriage. Legal separation is a less final option than divorce and it allows couples to retain some of the benefits of marriage.
In California, domestic partnerships are not considered the same as marriage under the law. However, the state provides domestic partners with the same rights and protections as married couples, such as family health insurance coverage, bereavement leave, and hospital and jail visitation rights. Federal law does not recognize domestic partnerships. The process for ending a domestic partnership in California can be simpler than a divorce, with the option for summary dissolution for couples who meet certain eligibility requirements, such as no children together, no property, and no more than a certain amount of debt. However, if these requirements are not met, the couple will have to go through a regular divorce process, which can involve preparing paperwork, going to court, and possibly working with a lawyer.
In short, whether or not you need a Los Angeles divorce lawyer depends on the complexity of your case. If you have a simple and uncontested divorce, you may not need a lawyer. However, if your divorce involves high-value assets, contested terms, child custody or spousal maintenance, it is recommended that you hire an attorney to navigate these complex factors and negotiate a settlement on your behalf. Additionally, if your spouse has hired a lawyer, it is a good idea to do the same to ensure your rights and assets are protected. A divorce attorney can help make the process as efficient and easy as possible.
Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers
The Spodek Law Group is a premier, divorce law firm, with an emphasis on positive outcomes for their clients. Todd Spodek has a reputation for handling tough cases, and getting the best possible outcome. His cases have captured the media spotlight. His experience handling tough and difficult to win cases has distinguished him from his peers all over the country. Our goal as your divorce law firm is to help you get through this difficult time in your life – with as much customer service, honesty, and efficiency as possible. We constantly share our experience and expertise with you – so you can make the best possible decision for your family.
What are grounds for divorce in California?
California has drastically simplified the divorce process by establishing two legal grounds for divorce:
- Irreconcilable differences, which have caused a breakdown in the marriage
- Permanent incapacity to make decisions
Bottom line, these are two general and vague concepts which divorce lawyers in Los Angeles can use as basis for a divorce. This is sometimes called a no-fault divorce. Whether we’re talking about contested, or uncontested divorces, these are grounds which can be used to grant an order of divorce. In some states, adultery and other grounds still exist for divorce. California has decided that its best that the reason for divorce is not in contest — and that the state simply accept that the divorce is happening, and instead the state should focus on more important matters like property, assets, and children. In California/Los Angeles, fault is not considered in property division and alimony. Some states award a greater amount of alimony to a spouse who has been wronged as a result of adultery. As your Los Angeles divorce lawyer will tell you, this approach is not followed in California. The only factors that weigh into alimony and property division are financial issues. Spouses don’t get punished by the court for adultery.
In California, a divorce can be offered for irreconcilable differences. It essentially means, circumstances that a judge determines have ended the marriage. It can be virtually anything from a disagreement that spouses cannot resolve, to adultery, or abuse.
In some instances, California laws will let your Los Angeles divorce lawyer offer a divorce if there’s a permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. It means the doctor has determined that your spouse is incapable of making decisions. This can be the result of illness, psychological disorder, or injury.
Are there rules that my spouse and I must follow during the divorce process?
Even though divorce is common in the USA, the process will vary. Short term marriages without children or property, can result in a less complex and time consuming divorce than marriages which are long term marriage. For example, divorce couples who have child custody, property division, debt, and spousal support, will have a less stressful divorce than couples who agree/refuse to work together on the divorce proceedings.
The first step is filing the divorce petition. Regardless of whether both spouses agree to it or not, one spouse can file a legal petition to ask the court to terminate the marriage. The spouse who files the petition has to include some preliminary information, such as:
- statement which tells the court that at least one of the spouses meets the state’s residency requirements for divorce
- legal reason for the divorce
- any other statutory info that the state requires
Residency requirement vary, depending on where you live. States require that at least one spouse live in the state anywhere from 3 months to 12 months. Divorcing spouses have to meet the state’s residency requirements before the court is allowed to legally accept the divorce case. Bottom line, your divorce attorney can help you.
Grounds for divorce will vary from one state to the next. Many states offer a no-fault divorce.
Can I get a legal separation or an annulment instead of a divorce?
If you’re unhappy about being married, but don’t want to get divorced, whether for legal reasons, or religious reasons, there might be alternative methods. Depending on your situation, an annulment or separation could be better.
Annulment: This is different from a divorce. While both end a marriage, the two do not accomplish the dissolution of the marriage in quite the same way. Divorce legally ends the marriage, but it recognizes the existence of the marriage. An annulment has the effect of erasing the marriage. An annulment can only be granted on legal or religious grounds. Generally, states only grant an annulment in certain situations. One reason, is to prevent couples from going around the divorce laws – because these laws were meant to protect spouses. There are grounds for annulment. In an annulment, there generally has to be someone whose at fault. For example, a reason for annulment can be fraud or misrepresentation. You cannot get one, just because your husband/wife has a drinking problem and goes to the liquor store too often, and needs a hangover cure. In oder to get an annulment on this basis, one of the parties has to have lied about something material, such as whether they were married to someone else already. The lie has to be significant. Fo example, it must be something you should have known about – and if you had known this information, you would not have agreed to marry the spouse.
Another basis for annulment can be concealment. This involves hiding material information, instead of lying about it. Concealment is when someone discloses to fail something about themselves that is major. One example is having a criminal record.
Is there a simplified process for getting a divorce?
If you decide to get a divorce, there are a few ways to get a divorce in a simple manner. You may be worried about legal costs, how much time it’ll take, and whether you’re making the right move. But not all divorces have to be expensive, or last for years. There are simple ways to get a divorce. The process doesn’t have to take years, or even months. If you’re able to come to an agreement with your spouse, your divorce can happen quickly.
The easiest type of divorce, is called an uncontested divorce. This is a relatively fast divorce because all of the major issues have been agreed upon by you and your spouse right at the beginning. In contrast, a contested divorce is one where all the parties cannot agree on some, or all, of the issues. It may require going to trial, and could require lengthy settlement meetings. It may also involve digging into your spouse’s personal info, like finances, which can take time and energy.
Uncontested divorces are simpler ways to get divorce, and take less time, because you and your spouse have already agreed on how to handle things like:
- Child Support
- Spousal Support
- Division of Property and Debt
How do I file for divorce?
There are a few ways to handle divorce in Los Angeles. If you’re representing yourself in a divorce, you’ll need to complete standard forms to begin the process. You can find these forms on the California Courts website online. The Courts website provides instructions on every single form. Typically, it’s a good idea to review the free information provided as you work your way through the divorce process in Los Angeles. Each of the courts use the same basic divorce forms, but some people might have to complete other forms depending on where they live. California has a lot of self-help centers throughout the state. If you have questions on which form to use, you can visit one of the self-help centers, or talk with a court clerk. The Los Angeles superior court website is a is a great website where you can find info.
How can I get information from my spouse about our property and finances?
It’s unfortunate, but often spouses attempt to hide assets before, or during, a divorce, in order to avoid splitting them with their spouse. However, spouses in all states have legal tools available, to help them “discover” hidden income and assets. For example, if a Phoenix personal injury lawyer helped your spouse get a personal injury settlement, this could be part of your joint finances. The first step in dividing assets during a divorce is painting a financial picture of all the assets owned by each spouse. You should have an idea of what assets you have, and categorize them as marital assets and separate assets, and tell your divorce attorney about it. Using the “discovery,” legal process, you can discover assets that the other spouse has. If your spouse handled all the bookkeeping of the assets during the marriage, and you played no part in finances, then you are an “out-spouse.” It means you have no access to, or knowledge of, your financial information – but your spouse does. If you’re the “out-spouse,” then your first course of action is to ask your spouse for copies of all the financial records. If your spouse is willing to produce and gather documents, then this process won’t be too painful. This is rarely the case. With online access to everything nowadays, it’s easy to get accounting records. Many spouses refuse to provide info because they’re hiding assets. Finding hidden assets can be challenging. The process of finding assets, when your spouse isn’t voluntarily disclosing them, is known as the discovery process. This provides you with methods to get information.
Document Demands: Your attorney can ask your spouse to produce information and documents, like tax returns, financial statements, etc.
Interrogatories: Your spouse must answer questions in writing, or admit specific remarks.
Inspection demands: You can ask to inspect property.
Testimony under oath: You, and your spouse, and lawyers, will appear before a court reporter. Your spouse is sworn, under oath, and must tell the truth, and is asked questions by your attorney.
Bottom line, the discovery process is an invaluable way of getting information from your uncooperative spouse, because the court has the power to compel the spouse. If your spouse fails to produce documents, the judge can order your spouse to do so. If your spouse disobeys this order, then the judge will punish the spouse by imposing a sanction, such as a fine, or judgement.
How will our property be divided?
Debts, finances, property, everything is divided in the divorce. Couples must agree to divide marital property and debt, before the judge grants the request for a divorce. Couples usually have two choices: work together to determine who gets which property, or ask the court to divide it for you. If you live in a community property state like California, the court assumes that any assets, or debts, accrued during the marriage belong 50/50 to both spouses. If you have property that belongs to you, whether you brought it with you to the marriage, or acquired it on your own – during the relationship, you’ll need to ask the court to award the property to you.
Will the judge consider our children’s wishes?
The court will consider a number of different factors when deciding custody of the children. Depending on the age of the child, or the children, the child’s opinion could be one of the factors that the judge considers. It is not necessarily the determining factor, in terms of who gets custody of the child. Courts prefer parents create a child custody agreement on their own, or with the help of a mediator. When this isn’t possible, states have guidelines on how a judge can decide child custody. The best interests of a child is the widely accepted practice. It means that a judge is going to decide custody of the child by deciding what is best for the child. There’s a host of other issues that go into deciding what is in the best interest of the child. The opinion of the child is one of these factors, if the child is old enough. Children over the age of 12 are considered to be old enough to have some say in the matter. Children sometimes do not actually know what is in their best interest. For example, a child might decide to stay with a parent who spoils them, instead of the disciplinary parent. As such, the court considers other things besides what the child is requesting from the judge.
What can I do to make my case faster and cheaper?
If you are anxious to get your divorce over, and done with, there are things you can do. There are many reasons why a divorce can take longer than you thought. The most obvious reason is you hired the wrong Los Angeles divorce attorney. Sometimes, it’s more, and the reason the divorce is taking forever is a combination of you, your spouse, and your spouse’s lawyer not behaving. Here are some common reasons, and potential solutions.
- Horrible Child Custody Demands: Spouses who request ridiculous child custody demands can cause immense delays. If you want to finish your divorce ASAP, it’s important to be reasonable. If you infuriate your soon to be ex-spouse, it could result in other issues and delays.
- Waive Mandatory Waiting Periods: In some states, couples can petition the court to have the waiting period waived. This type of petition is more likely to be approved if you have an uncontested divorce.
- Move Fast: If you think a divorce is going to happen, move fast – gather the financial documents, and meet with a lawyer early in the process to determine any info you might need.
- Cooperate: Cooperating with your spouse can help immensely towards speeding up the divorce process. Cooperation doesn’t mean sacrificing yourself as a martyr. It means following deadlines, responding to info requests, and being communicative.
- Pursue Mediation: If you think there will be issues in the divorce process, try to eliminate this via divorce mediation. Litigation can take a long, long, time. It’s important, if you can, hire a divorce lawyer who understands divorce mediation. This can iron out differences beforehand, and reduce the billable hours the divorce attorney might charge you later.
What is spousal support? Is it the same as alimony?
There are many issues you will deal with, when getting divorced. Often, this will include issues like child custody, support, property division, alimony, and spousal support. Spousal support and alimony are the same thing. Alimony is a more ancient term which means the ex-husband/ex-wife maintains the lifestyle of their former spouse after marriage for a period of time. Spousal support is a more gender-neutral term which means the same thing. In general, the higher earning spouse is required to pay the lower earning spouse some form of monetary relief during, and after, the divorce. The qualifications for spousal support differ by state. Judges usually give the final ruling on how much, and for how long, the spousal support will be given. There are three commons types of spousal support which can be requested/awarded.
The first is temporary spousal support. This is a regularly payment, made by by one spouse to the other during the divorce proceeding. It ends when the divorce is settled.
Permanent spousal support is referred to as long term support. This is paid to the lower earning spouse, in order to help them maintain a lifestyle comparable to their standard of living that was during the marriage. While this is long term, it doesn’t mean it’s forever. The judge can limit the length of how long support is granted.
The third form of spousal support is called rehabilitative alimony. This is given when one spouse stopped, or lowered, the amount of time they worked during the marriage. This was done so that one spouse could care-giver of children in the home, etc. There is an expectation by the judge that the spouse will eventually find work again, and not depend on their spouse forever.
How are high net worth divorce cases different?
High net worth divorce cases pose some unique challenges. With so much on the line, it’s common for the divorce process to be more complicated and challenging. All aspects of a divorce from custody to division of assets may be more involved and difficult when there are a large amount of assets in the case.
Finding hidden assets
The first question for dividing assets in high net worth cases is identifying the assets and determining whether they are marital. In high net worth cases, the parties often have a lot to gain by hiding assets. They might try to change the title of an asset in order to keep it from the reach of divorce court. They may try to downplay the value of a closely-held business. They might even give items of personal property away in the months leading up to the divorce.
Your divorce attorney can work to track these assets down. They can issue subpoenas and prepare interrogatory requests in order to identify and document the assets. If a party gets caught trying to hide money or property from the court, the consequences are often steep.
The traditional rules for child support don’t apply in high income cases. The court may continue to apply the standard percentages of a parent’s income in order to determine a child support amount. However, the court is also free to look at the high income of the parents and choose to set a different amount for a support award. The theory is that at some point, a child’s needs are met. While a child has a right to enjoy their share of a parent’s success, they don’t have a right to a flat percentage of a parent’s income that goes beyond their reasonable needs.
In high income cases, it’s up to the parents to make arguments to the court about why a certain child support amount is the most appropriate. You might do this by working with your attorney to present and gather evidence of the children’s expenses. This might include special needs expenses, reasonable extracurricular costs and even costs for private school attendance. The court can consider the lifestyle of the parents when it makes its decision.
Division of the assets and alimony
When the court divides property in a divorce, it’s their job to do what’s equitable. In high net worth cases, a party may need alimony. They may need time to reenter the workforce, or they may not be able to return to work at all. In that case, it’s important to work with your attorney in order to build the case for alimony. Alimony can be temporary while the divorce is pending, it might continue for a short time after the divorce, and in some cases, alimony is permanent.
The court needs to have the right evidence before it in order to make the right decisions in a high net worth divorce case. It’s up to each party to present this evidence. That means carefully taking the time to methodically prepare the case.
What happens to retirement funds and 401(k) plans in a divorce?
Divorces are often complicated and have the potential to get quite messy. When children are involved, you and your spouse will be forced to try to come to an agreement over custody, child support and visitation rights. However, even if you have no children or they are grown up, you will still need to figure out how to divide your property and assets including any retirement funds or 401(k) plans that you or your spouse have. Unfortunately, figuring out exactly how retirements benefits are divided can be tricky, which is why it’s important to look at the subject in greater detail. Having a top divorce lawyer on your team can help make this process easier for you.
State Laws for Division of Property and Assets
Each state has its own specific divorce laws, which means that the way your assets are divided can vary dramatically depending on where you live. The majority of states work under the equitable distribution method, which means that your marital property and assets will be divided in whatever way that the responsible judge deems to be fair or equitable. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the assets will be divided equally and, in fact, they almost never are.
There are also some states that operate under community property principles. In this case, all assets, property and debts that you accrued as a married couple are considered joint property and divided equally (50:50) between you and your former spouse.
All states also have laws that allow couples to reach their own divorce agreement and this agreement then takes precedent over the other divorce laws. In this way, you and your spouse can come to an agreement over how to divide all of your property or assets, including retirement funds, in a way that makes the most sense.
Dividing Retirement Funds and 401(k) Plans
The majority of couples use mediation to reach an agreement instead of letting the court decide for them how their assets should be divided. This often makes much more sense, especially when retirement funds are involved. The reason is that dividing a 401(k) or other retirement plan tends to be quite costly.
Therefore, instead of simply trying to divide these retirement funds down the middle, it is usually a much better idea to negotiate in an attempt to offset or balance the retirement funds with some other asset. In this way, you can still achieve the same desired outcome in terms of the total division of assets while also avoiding having to go through the process of splitting your 401(k). For instance, if you have other retirement accounts, bank accounts, stocks or other monetary assets, you can attempt to exchange some of these assets to ensure that you remain in sole possession of your personal retirement savings.
Just like marriage, divorce is all about compromise. The problem is that attempting to divide your assets and retirement funds in an equitable manner can be incredibly complex. For this reason, it is essential that you seek the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney to help you navigate through this most complicated time of your life.