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Why Choose Us
Our team of Temecula family attorneys have been resolving Family Law cases for over 10 years. We’ve experienced every situation imaginable, and can walk you through the process. We will help make the best decisions for you and your children’s lives.
The Temecula Divorce Attorneys at Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP have been awarded many prestigious honors, like being made Fellows in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, being granted the “Super Lawyers” title, and being recognized as certified Family Law Specialists.
We aim to handle your case with the absolute best service possible while also keeping the process costs down. You will not find a better value anywhere!
A divorce is an emotional process that affects people at their core because it deals with issues that matter most to people, their families, their accumulated property, and their finances. With so much at stake and so much emotion involved, it is a particularly trying time for anyone going through the process. For many, going through such an emotional process alone becomes even more stressful and intimidating. The Temecula Divorce Lawyers at Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP can help make the process simpler and easier.
Divorces range from simple cases to complex cases. Choosing the appropriate strategy may be vital to a case and its resolution. At Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, our experienced attorneys handle divorces every day and have the necessary knowledge and expertise to tailor the right strategy to any case no matter how unique. By limiting and committing our practice to family law, we have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in family law that sets us apart from other law firms.
While a divorce can be complicated, it should not be so complicated for the person that they become discouraged. Our attorneys can assist you in making the process simple and pain-free. We handle all aspects of a divorce in Temecula Valley, California including preparing and filing all appropriate paperwork, negotiation with the other spouse, filing motions and appearing in court, conducting discovery, and litigating at trial.
Before moving forward with a divorce, choosing the right process could mean the difference between spending and saving money. At the same time, sometimes a "cheaper" divorce may not be the right course of action depending on your goals. For example, it would be easy to settle a divorce case by giving up everything, but that may not be in your best interests and therefore is usually not the right move. It may be more important to be thorough and detailed, which could be costlier but could produce a stronger result. Below are the types of divorces in Temecula to help you determine which type of divorce may be the best for you and a breakdown of the pros and cons for each.
In California, the only basis for divorce is “irreconcilable differences”, which means that the petitioner must simply state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and there is no hope of reconciliation, and the Riverside Family Court serving Temecula will grant the divorce as long as the petitioner meets the residency requirement.
This type of divorce is the most cost-efficient and time-efficient for parties that are cooperative with one another and are settlement-oriented. When parties already know how they want to divide assets and debts, the terms of custody and visitation, and the amount of child and/or spousal support, this is most likely the best option. Instead of litigating all those issues, the parties can proceed with an agreement that would cover all the terms of the divorce which is also known as the Marital Settlement Agreement. See Marital Settlement Agreement (link) for more information.
Cheaper: After an exchange of financial information, the parties to an uncontested divorce sign a Marital Settlement Agreement, which is then sent for filing with the court. This reduces court time and the paperwork that “contested” divorces require, thereby reducing the cost.
Time-Efficient: For parties that are able to settle, an uncontested divorce in Temecula expedites the time it takes until the parties become divorced by the filing of a Marital Settlement Agreement and Judgment, which occurs after the required exchange of financial information.
Not Suitable if Not Certain: When you reach an agreement and file an uncontested divorce, you give up your right to a court hearing and a trial where contentious issues such as child support, custody, and division of assets and debts are litigated in front of a judge. If you are unsure that the agreement you are entering into is appropriate for your circumstances, don’t sign the agreement without seeking legal advice. Once you enter into an agreement and the Riverside family court judge approves your agreement and enters a judgment, you are (more or less) stuck with the agreement forever.
This is the most common type of divorce between parties. There may be one or more contentious issues that need to be resolved through litigation in front of a judge. However, this does not prevent the possibility of settlement at any time after the exchange of the mandatory financial disclosures (consisting primarily of the Schedule of Assets and Debts, and the Income and Expense Declaration). The parties can choose which issues to litigate and which issues to settle. Unlike an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce preserves the right of both parties to litigate issues as they see fit. In the end, either a marital settlement agreement or trial can resolve any remaining issues.
If the parties cannot mediate or settle issues, court intervention can assist the parties in obtaining a divorce. Sometimes, Temecula family court litigants just need someone to make decisions for them and a judge in Riverside County can do just that.
When you file a “contested” divorce case in Temecula or Riverside County, the parties preserve the right to have a court hearing and/or trial on any issue. This is important because sometimes parties do not have a complete agreement and need time to work on the issues. While they work on resolution to the case, the parties each preserve the right to seek enforcement of the Family Code.
Once a divorce case is filed and served in Temecula, the parties are bound by the Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders listed on the Summons. These “ATROs” as they are called help protect both parties and children while a divorce or dissolution of marriage case is pending. For example, neither party is permitted to remove a child from California, neither party is allowed to sell any items or take out loans, and so forth.
Costly: Going to court can be costly. If parties are represented, the potential legal fees can be greater depending on the parties and attorneys involved.
Time-consuming: When requesting court intervention to resolve issues, preparation of paperwork and attendance at court hearings can be an obstacle especially for parties that work. Often, hearings are scheduled months in advance so waiting for court can be emotionally draining and slow. If parties can’t agree on the most significant issues and trial is necessary, most divorce cases in Temecula, Riverside County will take one or more years to resolve.
Although not a significantly commonly used method of divorce in Temecula, California, this type of divorce is reserved for those who would like to proceed with a divorce when there has been no communication or involvement from the other side.
Many times, some parties may be out of contact with a particular spouse for a number of reasons, but this should not prevent parties from obtaining a divorce. The party seeking the divorce would still be responsible for the initial filing fee for the Petition and Summons and is still required to provide his or her preliminary declaration of disclosure (financial information).
The petitioner is required to have the dissolution of marriage petition, summons and associated documents properly served on the respondent. Usually, this means that a process server personally delivers the papers.
If the respondent cannot be served after a reasonable number of attempts at serving the other party (called "due diligence") with the Petition and Summons and the preliminary financial information, and if the responding party cannot be located and served, the petitioner can ask the court to allow some “alternate” method of service. This usually means “Service by Publication”, wherein the relevant pleadings are posted in a newspaper to give notice of the legal proceeding.
After proper service by either personal delivery of the documents or some other allowable method, the court will set what is known as a default “prove-up” hearing. Although the other party may not be participating in the divorce, the Petitioner (party filing for the divorce) must provide the court with evidence to support their claims as to support, custody, and division of assets and debts. Although the other side may not be able to oppose, what is ordered by the court must be fair and equitable based upon the circumstances and be consistent with the requirements of the California Family Code. A person cannot assert something as completely separate property if a part of the property may have a community property interest, for example. The law requires the court to equally divide community property and confirm separate property to the acquiring spouse. If successful during the default “prove-up” hearing, the only remaining step is to file the default paperwork for the court to sign.
Beneficial to those who have lost contact with their spouse.
Do not need the other party to respond and participate in the divorce.
The non-participating party does not contest any claims that the Petitioner is making as to valuations and requests.
The Family Court will grant the petitioner’s requests so long as they are permissible under the Family Code.
The court will require the Petitioner to make a good effort in contacting the other party to participate in the divorce. This may lead to prolonged divorce proceedings depending on the non-existent or sporadic participation by the respondent (party responding to the divorce). The court will ensure that the other party is deliberately refusing to participate despite being aware of the proceedings.
Requires the setting of a default “prove-up” hearing for the Petitioner to provide enough evidence to the court to support their claims.
In California, regardless of the type of divorce proceeding, there is a 6-month waiting period before the court will declare parties as officially divorced. This time frame begins when the Respondent is served with the initial paperwork of the Petition and Summons. Although this may seem unnecessary and a bit frustrating, the reality is that by the time a judge would be able to review a Marital Settlement Agreement (assuming the parties choose to proceed with the quickest means of obtaining a divorce), six months would have most likely elapsed due to the impacted court system. So, for most parties, this will not be an obstacle or even need to be considered.
Whether you need attorney representation or you merely need help preparing paperwork, Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP has the service you need. Below are the services that we offer:
This is a full service option where our office would represent you from the beginning to the end as your “attorney-of-record.” We provide you legal advice, prepare you for court, draft and file your paperwork, and attend court hearings for and with you. Although this option can be costlier than the other options, it is ideal for those who have busy lifestyles, do not have the time to commit to the process on their own, or have complex cases that may require litigation. Remember, our attorneys have years of experience that benefits our clients in court. The investment in a quality family law attorney is well worth the money as the impact of a family court judgment can and will change your life drastically.
This service is available for individuals who do not need an attorney to officially represent them in their court case but still need the assistance with preparation of paperwork and need legal advice. This cost-efficient service is ideal for those with amiable divorces that do not require litigation.
This service is similar to the Scrivener’s service above in that we can assist with the preparation of paperwork and provide legal advice but this service is on an “as-needed” and “pay as you go” service. Although individuals may need not assistance throughout the entire process of a family law case, there may be moments of confusion or necessity of assistance of legal services. This service provides individuals with ease of access to any of our services at any stage of a family law case.
Whether your family case is simple or complex, the Temecula family lawyer team at Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP has the appropriate level of service tailored to meet the needs of anyone. Please contact our Temecula office if you have any further questions about any one of these services.Online divorce mediation
Are you looking for a Temecula family law attorney? You've come to the right website. Founded with the goal of helping families in southern California navigate difficult family law issues, Wilkinson & Finkbeiner Family Law Attorneys continues to operate on the same premise with the same convictions. Even now, with years of experience and an incredibly thorough understanding of the California judicial system, our attorneys are 100% committed to our clients’ success. This is evident through hundreds of successful cases and a reputation that is only exceeded by a commitment to our own families.
When searching for an attorney in Temecula Valley or anywhere in Riverside County, don’t settle for any law office down the street. After all, you’re fighting for your family. At Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, we are proud of our status as a Certified Family Law Specialist, which is one of the highest titles of recognition bestowed by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Both David and Scott have specialization experience, have passed written exams, fulfilled continuing education requirements, and are viewed favorably in the eyes of the judges, courts, and contemporaries with whom they work.Read More+
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"I cannot recommend this firm more! From beginning to end, I was treated with respect and courtesy, every question was answered. I highly recommend Willkinson and Finkbeiner!!!"