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Division of assets, custody decisions complicate divorces

Divorces can be straightforward when the splitting parties agree on all aspects of their marital dissolution. From who will have physical custody of the kids to how retirement accounts should be divided, agreement is fundamental to securing timely divorce resolutions. While some California couples are able to accomplish such feats, others cannot come to agreement on the most basic elements of their break-ups.

Conflict is a natural part of ending a marriage. Many people rely on their lawyers to manage those contentious matters and to help preserve the peace between them and their soon-to-be ex-spouses. They also depend on their legal representatives to be experts on the diverse and sometimes complicated laws that govern how their divorces will be resolved.

Despite the benefits of working with attorneys, some people attempt to complete their divorces on their own. Some California jurisdictions have attempted to help such people through special programs that accommodate unrepresented divorce litigants. However, even individuals who take advantage of such programs must meet the filing and residency requirements imposed on all people who choose to file for divorce in California.

Generally for a one-day, unrepresented divorce to go through, the parties must agree on their division of assets, custody and other important matters. Because not all couples can realistically achieve such harmony with their future exes, many people still profit from the advantages gleaned from hiring professional divorce counsel. Divorce mediation with a neutral party is also an option for couples that simply cannot agree on anything.

Divorcing without help is possible but not always a viable option when conflict prevents a harmonious end to the marriage. Some individuals who have attempted to bring about their own divorces have in the end turned to the help of family law attorneys. Many divorce attorneys practice in California and are specifically trained to address matters related to divorcing in this state.

Source: The New York Times, "California Pioneers the Court-Aided One-Day Divorce," Ann Carrns, June 6, 2014

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