A Personalized Approach To Divorce Counsel
Filing for divorce is a big step – and it’s never easy. At my law firm, Judy L. Ford Attorney at Law in Sacramento, California, I only do family law. This means my mind is always focused on the situations my clients find themselves in at home – and how I, as your attorney can make things better. I am a solo practitioner. For you, this means only dealing with me – not support staff or inexperienced attorneys.
Find the intimate professional legal counsel you should expect from a small local firm with all the resources and experience you would find at any major multi-partner firm. I take the time to get to know every client’s situation in extreme detail to provide a closely personalized legal counsel in every case we accept. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated as you begin divorce proceedings. Attorney Judy Ford can provide the clarity and support you need as your Sacramento divorce attorney.
Answering Your Questions
Knowledge is power. When you are facing an uncertain future, you need answers and reassurance. With a background in nursing, I know this more than most attorneys. My clients come to me with big questions:
- How long will my divorce take?
- How much will it cost?
- Will I have to sell my home?
- Who will pay for my children’s college education?
My job is to answer them – with care and compassion. By analyzing your legal position quickly, I can advise you on the steps you need to take. Time is a critical factor in any divorce case, so you can expect a swift and comprehensive review of the facts in play to determine the best approach to your case. Mediation is typically the preferable route if you want a speedier, less expensive end to your marriage. However, some divorce cases demand litigation. This can be incredibly challenging without the right kind of professional legal counsel on your side.
A Tough Advocate In Court, In Negotiation
It makes sense to reach an agreement with your spouse. You have control over the final terms instead of a judge, and you will avoid the expense of a fully contested divorce hearing. Unfortunately, sometimes a settlement is impossible to find.
Whatever the circumstances, I am always willing to fight for you, whether in court or in the negotiations that precede a family court hearing. Common issues that arise include:
- How to divide your property
- Fixing alimony payments
- Child custody and visitation arrangements
- Responsibility for child support payments
It’s essential to understand how these issues will unfold during your divorce proceedings. As your Sacramento divorce attorney, I can provide you with a clear and honest breakdown of what to expect in your impending divorce case.
What Is the Main Cause of Divorce?
While it is possible to cite a specific reason for your divorce, California state law does not require a married person to provide a specific reason or name a fault to file for divorce. Ultimately, the main cause of any divorce is an irretrievable breakdown of the relationship. Some divorces unfold from acute situations like infidelity, spousal abuse, or criminal activity. Others manifest from long-standing issues between the couple that never resolve and ultimately boil over into conflict.
As your Sacramento divorce attorney, I can advise you whether filing for no-fault divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences makes the most sense in your case. In some situations, it may be in your best interests to name a specific fault that led to the breakdown of your marriage, if any.
Do I Really Need a Sacramento Divorce Attorney?
It’s natural to wonder whether you really need legal representation for your divorce. While it may be technically possible to navigate divorce proceedings without an attorney, doing so is very risky. You could miss a filing deadline with the court and significantly delay your proceedings, or you might make a mistake on court paperwork that leads to additional obstacles. Ultimately, hiring an experienced Sacramento divorce attorney is one of the best ways to ensure your divorce case does not experience any unnecessary interruptions. I will also help ensure your divorce decree is fair and reasonable and that the included terms align with your best interests.
Does My Attorney’s Gender Matter?
Many men and women throughout the Sacramento area practice family law. Some potential clients might wonder whether they should hire a male or female attorney. Ultimately, the best option for anyone comes down squarely to personal preference. It’s natural to feel more comfortable discussing sensitive aspects of your divorce with someone of the same gender, but don’t limit yourself by restricting your search for a Sacramento divorce attorney to only male attorneys or only female attorneys. You are not investing in your attorney’s gender; you are paying for their legal experience and guidance and their ability to professionally handle your case.
Why Is Divorce So Expensive?
It’s natural to be anxious about a divorce. Even the most straightforward divorces can affect divorcing spouses’ lives in many unpredictable ways, from their living situations to the time they have to spend with their children and their personal finances. One of the biggest concerns many have when searching for divorce representation is the overall cost of divorce. There are many different variables to consider if you want to weigh the overall cost of your divorce, including the legal fees for your attorney’s services and the impact of your divorce on your personal finances. A divorce can influence your life in many ways for years to come or even the rest of your life in some situations.
Property Division in California
One of the biggest hurdles any divorcing couple in California is going to face is the state’s relatively strict community property statute. This law states that all property obtained during the marriage, including income earned by both spouses during the marriage, is the community property of both spouses in divorce. This same rule applies to debts the couple accrues while married. When you divorce, you can expect to receive a share of both the community property remaining in your divorce as well as the debt you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse share.
It’s vital to have an experienced Sacramento divorce lawyer assist you as you prepare for property division proceedings. Some of the property you own may qualify as separate property that remains yours after your divorce, such as property owned prior to your marriage, inheritance from blood relatives, or gifts. Some of this separate property could potentially “transmute” to community property if your spouse had any hand in maintaining, improving, or appreciating the value of an asset. For example, if you owned a home worth $500,000 prior to marrying but your spouse handled renovations that boosted the property value to $1,000,000 by the time the two of you decide to divorce, the house would likely transmute to community property due to their clear contributions to bolstering the home’s value.
Child Custody and Support
If you and your spouse have children together, determining care and custody of your kids should be both of your top priorities in divorce proceedings. Every family court judge in Sacramento and throughout California has a duty to protect the best interests of any child involved in a divorce case. If you and your spouse litigate your divorce in family court, you both can expect an extensive court review of your lifestyle, living arrangements, and relationships with your children.
It is possible to negotiate a parenting plan privately through mediation. This can allow you and your spouse to keep control of your custody terms in your own hands rather than leaving the decision up to the judge. The two of you can eventually work out a mutually agreeable child care and custody arrangement that suits your family best. A judge will ultimately need to approve and sign off on this proposed parenting plan. Still, it’s vital to remember that mediation provides much more flexibility in this regard than litigation.
Maintenance and Alimony
California law strives to ensure the fairest possible outcome in any divorce case, regardless of why the divorce came about in the first place or who initiated divorce proceedings. In some divorces, the court will award alimony or spousal maintenance to one spouse, typically the one who earned less than the other or who depended on the other for financial support. In either case, the spouse who receives alimony or spousal support can expect consistent payments for a predetermined amount of time, or even indefinitely.
You and your spouse can also negotiate alimony or spousal maintenance in divorce mediation if you would rather not leave these decisions in the hands of a judge. An experienced Sacramento divorce attorney can help you prepare for these negotiations and help you determine the best approach to securing a fair alimony arrangement with your spouse.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Your divorce does not need to end with a protracted, expensive court battle. Many California couples choose divorce mediation instead of litigation because of the time and money it can save. Additionally, divorce mediation is more relaxed and allows a divorcing couple to maintain more control over their divorce agreement.
I have the experience and resources you need if you are bracing for divorce in the Sacramento, CA area. Whether you think mediation is a possibility or you are certain your soon-to-be ex-spouse is spoiling for a court battle, you can rely on Judy Ford Attorney at Law to navigate your case and guide you to a positive outcome.