Negotiations between divorcing spouses over how their marital assets and debts will be divided can become particularly contentious in community property states like California. While judges in most states have a certain amount of discretion when making these decisions, courts will divide marital property equally unless the parties can otherwise come to an agreement. Couples may hope to avoid the publicity of an open courtroom, but reaching an amicable resolution can be challenging when emotions run high.
When divorce cases are heard by family law courts in California, the arguments often focus on when assets were acquired and how much they are worth. Attorneys may prepare their clients for court by explaining the procedural rules and going over the type of questions that they will likely be asked. Judges like courtroom proceedings to move along at a brisk pace, and contentious matters are often addressed during the discovery and deposition processes to prevent drawn-out legal battles.
The parties to a legal action share information and documents with one another during the discovery phase of the proceedings, and they answer questions about the information that they have provided during depositions. Depositions are generally held at the office of the attorney who will be asking the questions, and the answers provided are recorded and become part of the official record.
Experienced family law attorneys may work tirelessly to help their clients reach a mutually acceptable agreement and avoid the high costs and publicity of courtroom proceedings. When efforts to reach a consensus prove unsuccessful, attorneys may recommend alternative dispute resolution strategies like arbitration or mediation.