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Divorce Guiding You Through Difficult Times

Ventura Divorce Attorney

Highly-Rated Divorce Lawyers Serving Ventura County, Oxnard, & Surrounding Areas

Divorce is a complicated process to go through, mentally, emotionally, and financially. However, you can take on some things with the proper legal counsel and representation. At SANTO MEHAS, A Professional Law Corporation, our divorce lawyers pride ourselves on providing compassionate and comprehensive divorce services serving Ventura, CA, with a holistic approach.

With an unwavering dedication to our clients, our Ventura divorce lawyers go above and beyond to ensure we exceed our client’s expectations at every step.

Contact Our Attorneys Online or Call Us at (805) 222-7818 and Let Us Know How Our Family Law Lawyers Serving Ventura County Can Assist With Your Divorce!

Ventura couple in disagreement sitting on opposite sides of a bed

Do You Need a Lawyer for Divorce in Ventura?

Hiring a Ventura County divorce attorney is not a requirement to divorce. There are ways to file on your own and represent yourself. However, retaining the right services of an experienced family law attorney proudly serving Ventura, CA, is always recommended. A skilled family law attorney can help you navigate the complex areas of law that pertain to any divorce.

It is a common misconception that hiring a family law attorney will cause your divorce to become lengthier and more costly. On the contrary, our certified family law lawyers have compassion and respect for all our clients who are going through this difficult time. Therefore, we examine opportunities that will help expedite your divorce without overlooking critical steps.

How Can a Divorce Attorney Help Me?

  • We can handle all the excess paperwork and legal documents that may seem overwhelming
  • We develop strategies that tailor to your priorities and needs
  • We will recommend which family law issues are worth your time pursuing
  • If there are assets that your spouse may be hiding, we can help discover them

Our objective is to save you time and headache. We will work with you every step of the way to achieve both short and long-term results.

Adversarial, Litigated Divorce Services

Although the collaborative legal process can be an effective resolution for some clients, it is only suitable for some cases. For some divorce cases, an amicable resolution is not possible. Litigated dispute resolution is sometimes the only option that can overwhelm a family.

This is when it becomes critical to retain an experienced family law attorney you can trust if your spouse tries to take advantage of you.

Our family law attorneys have more than 70 years of legal experience representing clients with all their divorce and legal separation needs.

Sophisticated Representation for High-Asset Divorces

If your divorce involves a considerable amount of wealth or high-value assets, it’s important to seek the right kind of legal representation that can take these factors into account. Rest assured that SANTO MEHAS A Professional Law Corporation has the legal experience, knowledge, and skill to help you protect your financial interests.

Identifying Community and Separate Property

California law requires an equal split of all community assets and debts. With this in mind, we must assist you in identifying which property is yours to take separately and which belongs to the community for equal division. We can use the services of consultants like forensic accountants and tax professionals to help us make these distinctions and argue for your right to a specific property in your divorce.

California Child Support & Alimony in High-Asset Divorce

Likewise, child and spousal support might play a role in your divorce. High-income earners like you and your spouse can face a more complicated legal process when calculating these support payments. Our attorneys, however, can help you identify and consider multiple income sources to get a fair and accurate picture of what you are owed or should pay.

What Is the Process for Getting Divorced in California?

If you do not qualify for a summary dissolution, a typical divorce consists of the following steps:

  1. One spouse will file for divorce and serve the other divorce papers.
  2. The spouse who was served has 30 days to file a response.
  3. One spouse may request a temporary child custody, child support, and/or restraining order if needed.
  4. The spouses go through a discovery period where they prepare the Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure, disclosing information about their finances, assets, property, and debts.
  5. 5. If each spouse has an attorney, they will all discuss a settlement.
  6. If the case is resolved with legal agreements, one attorney will prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement and each spouse, along with their attorneys, will sign this.
  7. If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will be taken to court.

Once a settlement has been reached – whether by a Marital Settlement Agreement or court order– a judge will issue a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.

How to Get Divorce in Ventura County?

You have to file signed and dated documents at the Ventura County Clerk. First, pay the filing cost and take copies of the submitted divorce papers. Then, ask a family member or a friend to complete the service process. They can hand-deliver or mail the legal documents and additional forms to your ex-spouse throughout Ventura County, CA.

Is It Better to File for Divorce First in California?

It does not matter who files first for divorce in California because it is a no-fault state. Considering no spouse needs evidence of any "cause" for divorce aside from "irreconcilable difference," there is no impact or challenges either party faces filing for divorce first.

How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced/End a Domestic Partnership in California?

The CA divorce process takes at least six months to finalize and starts once one spouse files for divorce and serves the other party with divorce papers. Therefore, it may take longer to finalize a divorce in California, but it will not be shorter than six months to complete.

Is California a Community Property State?

When it comes time to divide property during a divorce, all community property will be divided equally, or 50-50, in the state of California. California is a community property state, meaning all property and debt acquired from the date of marriage until the date of legal separation is subject to this type of division.

All community assets will either be divided according to the couple’s agreement, or, if they cannot reach an agreement, by the court in CA.

Mediation Services

At SANTO MEHAS A Professional Law Corporation, we also offer mediation services led by attorney Donna Carol Santo, a certified specialist, Family Law California Board of Legal Specialization and certified mediator through the Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law.

Known as alternative dispute resolution, divorce mediation is led by a neutral, third-party individual who helps you and your spouse come to legal agreements regarding any issues you have about spousal support, child custody, and more.

Divorce mediation can offer several benefits for couples who are seeking an amicable and cost-effective way to end their marriage and resolve related issues. Here are some of the advantages of divorce mediation:

  • Reduced Conflict: Mediation encourages open and constructive communication between spouses. It can help de-escalate conflict, which is often essential when children are involved.
  • Control and Flexibility: In mediation, both parties have a say in the outcome and can work together to create a customized agreement that suits their unique needs and circumstances. This is in contrast to litigation, where a judge makes the final decisions.
  • Cost-Effective: Mediation is typically less expensive than a contested divorce that goes to court. It usually requires fewer billable hours for attorneys and avoids costly litigation expenses.
  • Quicker Resolution: Mediation tends to be a faster process than litigation. It allows couples to reach agreements more efficiently, potentially saving months or even years of legal proceedings.
  • Privacy: Mediation is a private process, unlike court proceedings, which are generally a matter of public record.
  • Child-Centered Focus: Mediation often places a strong emphasis on the best interests of the children involved, helping parents develop a co-parenting plan that benefits their kids.
  • Preservation of Relationships: If there are ongoing relationships that need to be maintained (e.g., co-parenting or business partnerships), mediation can help preserve these relationships more effectively than adversarial litigation.
  • Higher Compliance: Parties are generally more likely to comply with the terms of a mediated agreement since they had a direct hand in crafting it.
  • Legal Guidance: While a mediator cannot provide legal advice, they can facilitate discussions and provide information about legal issues, helping both parties make informed decisions.

When both spouses are willing to work together to find common ground and reach agreements, mediation can be a highly beneficial and efficient process for resolving divorce-related issues.

Commonly Asked Questions

What are the grounds for divorce in California?

California is a no-fault divorce state, which means that you do not need to provide evidence of any specific cause for divorce. The most common ground for divorce is irreconcilable differences, which means that you and your spouse have experienced a breakdown in your marriage and cannot resolve your differences.

Do I need a lawyer to get a divorce in Ventura?

Hiring a lawyer is not a requirement to get a divorce in Ventura. You have the option to file on your own and represent yourself. However, it is always recommended to retain the services of an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer can provide guidance, handle legal documents, and ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the divorce process.

What can a divorce attorney help me with?

A divorce attorney can assist you with various aspects of your divorce, including child custody and support, division of assets and debts, spousal support, and legal documentation. They can provide legal advice, negotiate on your behalf, and represent you in court if necessary. Their goal is to help you achieve a fair and favorable outcome in your divorce case.

How long does a divorce process take in Ventura?

The duration of a divorce process in Ventura can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the issues involved, the level of cooperation between the spouses, and the court's schedule. On average, a divorce in Ventura can take anywhere from several months to over a year to be finalized. Working with a skilled divorce attorney can help expedite the process and ensure that all necessary steps are taken.

Helpful Resources

Our Promise as Your Ventura Divorce Lawyers

Our Ventura divorce lawyers can handle all aspects of a divorce, whether collaborative or adversarial in nature. We can litigate with aggression, or negotiate with compassion, employing whatever method is in your best interest.

Protect your children. Protect your family, now.

Contact us online or give our law offices a call at (805) 222-7818 and let us know how we can assist with your divorce or separation.

An Emphasis on Strong Family Values

Our firm places a strong emphasis on the importance of family values. The balance between maintaining these family values and generating a better future for you and your family is one we strive to achieve with each case. Our values consist of:
  • Holistic Approach

    We aim to resolve conflict so you and your family can move on peacefully. We approach all aspects of a case, including the emotional, financial, and mental components, and advocate with you throughout.

  • Collaboration

    Collaborative divorce can be a great option for spouses looking to share joint custody of their child/children and the court looks favorably on this decision. When possible, we strive to come to a resolution that will benefit both spouses.

  • Children Come First

    We respect the fact that our clients trust us with important life-decisions. We strive to be as understanding and empathetic as we can with you and treat you like we would treat a close family member.

  • Compassionate Legal Services

    We respect the fact that our clients trust us with important life-decisions. We strive to be as understanding and empathetic as we can with you and treat you like we would treat a close family member.

Our Satisfied Clients

Real Stories from Real People
  • “Donna is the consummate professional and I would recommend her to anyone with divorce or family law issues.”
    “I came to Donna due to her strong reputation and extensive understanding in the area of family law. Based upon her very knowledgeable advice, I was able to settle my case without the time and expense of having to go to court.”
    - Dave D.
  • “Santo Mehas what a great team”
    SANTO MEHAS WHAT A GREAT TEAM ,VERY CARING, GOT THE JOB DONE IN A TIMELY MANNER .I WOULD RECOMMEND TO MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
    - Alice D.
  • “Donna Santo is a no nonsense, highly professional family attorne”

    Donna Santo is a no nonsense, highly professional family attorney. She has many years of experience which I found to be critical when it came to working in the family court system. She has had experience with all the judges and therefore quickly formulates a plan that is realistic, and has the best chance of success. You could not make a better choice to help you through this incredibly difficult situation.

    - Scott
  • “The level of honesty and professionalism is beyond compare, not to mention compassion.”
    “The level of honesty and professionalism is beyond compare, not to mention compassion. I feel that any attorney that can show compassion to their client as well as represent them is by far the best attorney.”
    - Erin H.
  • “I highly recommend Donna Santo and the Santo Mehas law firm.”
    “I highly recommend Donna Santo and the Santo Mehas law firm.”
    - John J.
  • “I’d choose her services again without hesitation”
    “I’d choose her services again without hesitation”
    - Parker C.
  • “Donna is amazing! Very supportive, quick with response and willing to fight for you.”
    Donna is amazing! Very supportive, quick with response and willing to fight for you. She made my proceedings go so smoothly, provided all information and options I needed to decide what was best for me, and is there if I'm in need of any other information. Highly recommend!
    - Anonymous
  • “She and her staff are professional with decades of experience.”

    I recommend Donna Santo and her staff. She and her staff are professional with decades of experience. They understand the law and how family law cases are heard in the courts. I had an extremely complex custody case with dozens of health professionals, collateral contacts, and opinions floating around. There were so many accusations, crisis, and charges; and every one of them felt extremely important to me. My concerns were serious, and the innumerable quantity along with counter accusations overwhelmed the courts. Donna's office was able to sift through and make sense of things to help get things on track. Donna's office took the time to relate this to the courts in a logical digestible manner for the best possible outcome. It took time. I needed to trust. She knows her stuff, and is strong at the right times.

    - Jason