Orange County Divorce Attorneys

A divorce is always a difficult process, but an experienced lawyer can guide you through it. Contact the Orange County attorneys at Irwin & Irwin for a consultation.

If you are going through a divorce, or are preparing to, you face challenges ahead. The terms of your divorce reflect your parental rights and will guide your financial future, which makes having professional legal guidance on your side critical. Negotiating favorable terms while protecting your rights – with an eye toward the future – within the context of a legally complex process is a lot, but help is available. One of the most important moves you can make prior to divorce is consulting with an experienced Orange County Divorce Lawyer. 

In the course of your divorce, you will be required to determine the same basic terms – as applicable – that every other divorcing couple faces, but they will be unique to you, your family, and your circumstances. Consider the following:

Any one of these can have a profound effect on your future, which makes affording each the professional legal guidance it requires paramount. The fact is that your rights and best interests can get lost in the emotional shuffle of divorce. Finding a middle ground on your own can be next to impossible, and moving the matter forward without making concessions that fail to serve your best interests is similarly challenging. With a seasoned Orange County divorce attorney behind you, you’ll be far better positioned and prepared to proceed toward divorce with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your rights are well protected. 

Types of Divorce Cases

Regardless of the type of divorce you are seeking, having an attorney on your side is well-advised. Such is the nature of divorce that even one that begins quite amicably can go sideways in the blink of an eye, which makes having a good handle on the legal proceedings from the start the best policy. 

Contested Divorces

If your divorce is contested, it means that it is going to court, which makes proceeding with an accomplished attorney essential. Couples rarely set their sights on a contested divorce, but sometimes they are unavoidable. If one or more of the divorce terms that you and your divorcing spouse need to resolve become a sticking point that no amount of negotiation or mediation is going to change, your divorce will be contested, and the unresolved terms in question will need to be determined by the court.

In a contested divorce, you and your soon-to-be ex abdicate your decision-making power over matters that directly affect your futures, which makes contested divorces among the most challenging. Without a formidable Orange County divorce lawyer who has the legal knowledge and insight to navigate the litigation process skillfully, your ability to obtain beneficial divorce terms can be jeopardized.

Uncontested Divorces

An uncontested divorce means that you and your divorcing spouse ultimately found a way to hammer out the terms of your divorce without requiring the court’s intervention. An uncontested divorce does not, however, mean that you had an easy time of it. 

The Process

Uncontested divorces often require a good deal of focused negotiations as well as considerable discovery – when each side provides the other with critical information that is generally focused on financial matters – and they often become heated. In fact, the threat of going to court is often the catalyst for resolving challenging divorce terms.

Uncontested divorces typically begin with negotiations between the spouses themselves – with the skilled guidance of their respective divorce attorneys. If negotiations between the spouses break down completely, the lawyers can proceed on behalf of their clients’ best interests.


From here, there is also the option of mediation, which is a less formal approach than a court in which both parties and their attorneys come together under the guidance of a professional mediator who serves as a neutral third party. At mediation, both parties consider their best options, take into account how the court is likely to rule, and attempt to find common ground in the process. Mediation is often the last stop before divorce court.   


Annulments refer to the rare instances when the court finds that a marriage or domestic partnership is neither valid nor binding. Annulments are predicated on primary factors like the following:

  • Force, fraud, or incapacity played a role in the marriage.
  • At least one of the parties to the marriage wasn’t old enough to legally marry in the first place – anyone who is under the age of 18 needs the consent of at least one parent to marry in California.
  • One of the parties to the marriage was already legally married.
  • The marriage or domestic partnership was either incestuous or bigamous.

Although annulments are infrequent and legally challenging, they serve an important purpose when applicable.

Dissolution of Domestic Partnerships

Domestic partnerships are not immune to breakups, and the legal process in which the parties assert their rights and go about protecting them is called a dissolution. The applicable terms and the legal process is almost identical to divorce and is just as legally challenging.

Legal Separations

Some couples who do not want to continue living together in marriage do not consider divorce a viable option. In these instances, a legal separation, which means living apart and separate in the eyes of the law, is possible. While the marriage remains intact, matters related to finances, such as the division of community property and spousal support, can be addressed legally. If there are minor children involved, the issues of child support and child custody can also be resolved. Ultimately, the process is very much like a divorce, but the end result is that the parties live legally separate lives without divorcing, and as such, neither spouse can remarry. 

Selecting an Orange County Divorce Lawyer

When it comes to finding the right Orange County divorce lawyer for you, there are some important factors to keep in mind. To begin, divorce is a very personal matter. In the process of obtaining yours, you’re going to need to open up about a wide range of very personal topics, meaning that – first and foremost – you need a divorce lawyer with whom you are comfortable doing so. A second primary concern is that you feel heard by your lawyer – you’ll proceed forward as a team, and if you don’t feel this kind of connection, you might need to keep looking.
From here, there are certain primary concerns you should take into careful consideration during the selection process. Consider the following questions:

  • Is the lawyer you’re considering part of a firm or a sole practitioner?
  • Does the firm or lawyer have the time necessary to give your case all the careful attention it requires?
  • Does the firm in question have a group of lawyers who operate in solo capacities, or do they take a formal collaborative approach that will allow your case to benefit from each lawyer’s unique experience?
  • Does the firm or lawyer focus specifically on Orange County divorces like yours?
  • How long has the firm or lawyer focused solely or primarily on family law matters?
  • Is the lawyer you’re considering active in Orange County’s legal community, including being a member of various committees and bar-affiliated groups, and are they well acquainted with the happenings in the courthouse and courtrooms?
  • Does the lawyer you’re consulting with have a significant amount of experience successfully handling cases with the kinds of challenges that are specific to your case?

Working closely with a trusted divorce lawyer who has a wealth of experience handling challenging divorces in Orange County itself is always to your advantage.

What Not to Do During a Divorce (and Some Things You Should Do)

Your divorce will be your own unique journey, which means there is no blueprint to follow. However, there are certain things that no one going through a divorce should consider. 

What Not to Do

There are certain actions that everyone who is going through a divorce should completely avoid. 

Do Not Put Your Kids in the Middle

While your divorce is undeniably hard on you, it is even harder on your children. They look to you and their other parent to provide stability, love, and understanding throughout this difficult process. By putting your children in the middle – as go-betweens for you and your divorcing spouse – or by weaponizing them to leverage your divorce priorities, you do them a serious disservice that can have lasting emotional repercussions. Additionally, your actions can come back to haunt your child custody arrangements. 

Do Not Hide Assets

The financial terms of your divorce are predicated on financial transparency, which California takes very seriously. Attempting to hide assets can negatively affect the division of property in your divorce and can lead to criminal charges. Conversely, if you have an inkling that your spouse is up to shifty financial practices, discuss the matter with your attorney asap. 

Do Not Post on Social Media

Posting about your divorce directly on social media is a terrible idea that makes the information public knowledge, which can backfire spectacularly. The best practice is to take a social media break while your divorce is pending. 

What to Do

Some things that are universally beneficial to anyone going through a divorce include:

  • Find a focused Orange County divorce attorney and work closely with them from the start.
  • Carve out some time to enjoy your life a bit while your divorce is pending. If you don’t take a breather from the stress of divorce, it can take a serious emotional toll.
  • Don’t look at your divorce as a failure. Divorce can happen to anyone, and what’s most important is your ability to proceed with purpose into what comes next.
  • Don’t stoop to your spouse’s level or succumb to the pressure they’re putting on you. Keep your appointments – whether they relate to your divorce, your responsibilities as a parent, or your job – show up organized, prepared, and ready for the commitments you’ve made.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster, and everyone who goes through it stumbles a time or two. The bigger issue is that you pick yourself up and continue moving forward.

Should You Separate Before a Divorce?

Many couples separate prior to divorce. The stress of living together while hammering out terms that will end your marriage may simply be too much. Before making a decision of this magnitude, however, it’s important to discuss the implications with your dedicated divorce attorney. For example, if your goal is to become the primary custodial parent who will remain in the family home with your children, moving out during the divorce process is unlikely to do you any favors. 

Reach Out to an Experienced Orange County Divorce Lawyer Today

If you are facing a divorce, the outcome is too important to your future to proceed without savvy legal counsel on your side. A practiced Orange County divorce attorney will help you prioritize your divorce goals, will fiercely advocate for advantageous divorce terms, and will skillfully guide you through the challenging divorce process from start to end with your rights intact. 


What is the average retainer fee for a divorce lawyer in California?

The average retainer fee – or the fee you pay to initially retain the attorney’s services throughout your divorce – is generally between $5,000 and $10,000, but the amount can vary according to the level of services your case requires.

What is a wife entitled to in a divorce in California?

There are no legal distinctions between wives and husbands in California divorces, but in traditional divorce terms, the wife may be entitled to half the community property along with up to 40 percent of their spouse’s income for spousal support and child support as the primary custodial parent.

How do I know if a divorce lawyer is good?

Once you’ve done your research as discussed above, you’ll know that you’ve found the right divorce lawyer for you when you find one with whom you’re comfortable opening up and with whom you’re prepared to get down to work.