Low-cost Sacramento Divorce Lawyer
Divorce AttorneyFree Case Evaluation
Mon – Sat
8 AM – 6 PM
I help clients divorce while protecting their financial future. Specifically, I help clients dissolve their marriage and secure court orders for child support, spousal support, custody, and the division of community property.
I understand that my clients need affordable representation in family court. To help my clients afford legal representation in one of the most important financial and emotional events of their life I offer free case evaluations at my office and accept payment by credit card.
Protecting Your Future
I understand that divorce and family court orders have a lifelong impact on finances and parent-child relationships. For parents, the custody order can affect their relationship with their children while the child support order will impact their financial health. For single-income households or clients with an imbalance in wealth, the spousal support order and division of community property will change their income, assets, and taxes. With so much at stake, I understand that clients need an affordable Sacramento divorce attorney who will fight for their financial and parental interests.
Mon – Sat
8 AM – 6 PM
Free Case Evaluation
If you want to hire a family law attorney and learn more about my services I encourage you to call my office at (916) 250-1610 Monday through Saturday from 8 AM to 6 PM for a free case evaluation and quote.
What Is A Free Case Evaluation?
During the case evaluation, you will explain your situation and I’ll let you know how I can help you and give you a quote. If you know that you need to hire an attorney, the free case evaluation will help you decide whether to retain my services.
Has A Case Already Been Filed?
The free case evaluation isn’t available if you already have a case filed, but I can help you during a 1-hour consultation for $250. Simply put, 15 minutes in my office isn’t enough time for you to explain your situation and procedural history, and for me to give you accurate legal advice. If you have a case already filed, I offer a 1-hour consultation for $250 that’s credited to your retainer fee if you hire my firm.
Is There Something To Fight About?
If you and your spouse are in disagreement over child custody, child support, spousal support, the division of assets, or any other issue your divorce will likely be contested. In that case, a $250 1-hour consultation that’s credited to your retainer will give you and the attorney time to explore your issues, develop a strategy, and fully inform you of your options.
$250 1-Hour Consultation
Some clients want to ask very specific questions or already have a case in family court. Since I can’t provide meaningful legal advice or review documents during a 15-minute case evaluation, I offer a 1-hour consultation for $250 that’s credited to the retainer fee.
$250 Credit To Your Retainer
The $250 for a 1-hour consultation is credited to the retainer fee if you hire my firm. For example, if you pay $250 and decide to hire me after the consultation, instead of charging you a retainer fee of $3,500 I would charge you $3,250. By giving you a $250 credit you get a more affordable retainer fee payable by credit card and I get the opportunity to better understand your case.
I Can’t Afford An Attorney
Not everyone can afford to hire even a low-cost divorce attorney. Rest assured, there are many self-represented litigants in family court. If you can’t afford to hire a $250 per hour attorney or $2,000 flat fee, but need help with your family law forms and procedural guidance, I recommend contacting the Sacramento County Family Law Self Help Center. They can help you with forms and offer general family law information.
Divorce Attorney Fees
Nearly everyone thinking about divorce wants to know how much a Sacramento divorce attorney will cost. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to give an accurate estimate of the total attorney fees, even with my comparatively low hourly rate of $250 per hour. The total cost will depend on the temperament of both parties, income and value of property. Simply put, if your ex is vindictive and you are the sole wage earner with valuable property you will pay more in the contested divorce compared to a simple uncontested divorce; one in which you and your spouse agree upon the issues, have equivalent income and little community property.
Some factors that affect the cost of divorce include:
- Children – whether the parties agree upon custody and child support
- Cooperation between the parties and attorneys
- Duration of the marriage
- Dual income vs single income household
- Community Property – Value, quantity and real estate
To help my clients afford divorce I offer a low flat fee for uncontested divorce (both parties agree on everything). The only cases I can take for a flat fee are those in which the parties have low income, few assets and most importantly can work with one another. While I can only represent one party in the divorce, my flat fee can help agreeable parties save considerable time and expense. In all other cases, I charge an affordable hourly rate payable by credit card.
Whether you need help securing a simple uncontested divorce or favorable decisions in contested matters, I make a sincere effort to add value to my client’s financial future by weighing the costs of litigation against the potential benefits.
Starting Divorce in Sacramento
To file for divorce in Sacramento you must have been a resident of Sacramento County for at least 3 months and California for at least 6 months. After filing the divorce petition and serving your spouse you must wait at least 6 months and 1 day before a final judgment for dissolution can be entered by the court.
Since 1970 California has been a “no-fault” state meaning that anyone seeking dissolution of their marriage can simply state that there are irreconcilable differences which have caused an irremediable breakdown of the marriage. The party seeking dissolution of the marriage does not have to prove mental cruelty, insanity, or adultery.
If you think your spouse will transfer assets upon learning about your plans for divorce your attorney may file the divorce petition right away to gain the protections afforded by the Automatic Restraining Order to prevent spouses from depleting or transferring marital assets the Sacramento family court imposes certain automatic restraining orders on the Summons. Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATRO’s) apply to the petitioner (person who files the divorce petition) upon signing the petition and to the respondent (person responding to the petition) once they are served with the petition.
The Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders are standard in divorce proceedings and generally require the parties to maintain the status quo. Specifically, ATRO’s prevent the parties from:
- Removing Children – removing their children from California without the prior consent of the other party
- Insurance – change, cancel, encumber or modify insurance
- Hide/Sell Property – transfer, conceal, liquidate or borrow against real or personal property
- Money – engaging in extraordinary expenditures
In the interests of both parties having access to legal representation, ATRO’s do not prohibit the parties from hiring or paying a divorce attorney. Accordingly, some parties early in the divorce will use community funds to pay their attorney a retainer which the attorney will then bill against throughout the divorce.
Default, Contested & Uncontested
After service of the Petition and Summons the Respondent may either file a response with a proof of service or simply default.
- Default – when a respondent does not file a response within 31 days after service the Petitioner may file a default which will remove the respondent as a party to the divorce proceeding.
- Uncontested – in an uncontested proceeding the parties agree to all issues such as child custody and visitation, support and division of assets and debts. If the parties agree on all issues they may enter into a marital settlement agreement.
- Contested – in a contested proceeding the parties disagree on one or more issues incident to divorce. Common contested issues include child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support and division of community property.
In simple cases with few assets and low-income cooperative parties can realize substantial savings by pursuing an uncontested divorce through a reasonable marital settlement agreement. In contrast, parties with significant assets, disparate income or children may pursue a contested proceeding to gain a favorable division of property or award of child or spousal support.
Child support is one of the most frequently contested issues in divorce proceedings. California has a strong public policy favoring “adequate” child support which often results in awards that far exceed the actual cost of raising a child. Accordingly, the non-custodial parent with high-earnings can face hundreds of thousands of dollars in child support liability. Due to the significant financial implications of child support many parents retain a child support attorney to litigate the matter in family law court.
The policies underlying California’s child support calculation favor the stay-at-home parent over the breadwinner and explain in part how child support awards often exceed the cost of raising a child. Family Code Section 4053 states that the child support calculation should be guided by these principles:
- Each parent should pay for the support of the children according to their ability
- Children should share in the standard of living of both parents. Accordingly, child support can appropriately improve the standard of living of the custodial parent to improve the lives of the children.