Los Angeles PACT Class Now Online | Santa Clarita Divorce

Los Angeles PACT Class Now Online | Santa Clarita Divorce


On July 31, 2012 the Los Angeles County Family Law Courts announced that the mediation program is now available online.  Called the”Our children First” program is the Court’s new orientation mediation class.

Taking the class online satisfies the Court’s requirement for parents to complete a mediation orientation.  If you have already attended the in-class PACT class, you do not have to take the online class.

Parents are required by law to attend the mediation orientation also known as parent education program and a mediation session prior to appearing at an Order to Show Cause or a Trial regarding the custody or visitation of their children.

Parents only have to complete this online program once.

The online PACT class must be completed in one sitting to ensure that you receive the required information in the clearest possible manner.  It is the expectation that after you have completed this program you will have all the answers and information necessary to attend your mediation session.

The online Our Children First Program will take approximately 60 minutes and will include a variety of activities.

This class is required prior to attending your mediation and prior to attending any hearing.  So this PACT class should be the first class you take prior to both.

We are a licensed and bonded legal document preparation service that specializes in the divorce process.  For more information about our divorce services please give us a call.  We provide a 100% online divorce process, the first to do this in Los Angeles County.


How To Start A Divorce In Santa Clarita

 How To Start A Divorce In Santa Clarita

There are two parties to a divorce.  The person who initially files for divorce to get the case started is called the Petitioner.  The other party who is served the divorce papers is called the Respondent.  Watch our video on how to prepare the divorce petition.

Note that the party names are different in a family law matter than a typical lawsuit.  In traditional lawsuits, the parties are referred to as Plaintiff and Defendant.

The Courts do not give any preference to one party or the other.  The Respondent has just as many rights and legal standing and either party can avail themselves of any legal steps.

When you want to file for divorce, the Petitioner will need to prepare the appropriate divorce documents and file them with the court.  Then you need to serve the petition on your spouse.  Filing of the initial paperwork notifies the court and other party of your desire to get divorced.

When you serve the Petition to divorce, a couple of important things happen.

First, the service of the divorce petition starts the clock on the 6 month waiting period in California.  Second, the petition helps to determine a date of separation.  Third is that automatic retraining orders take effect upon service of the Petition, (known as ATRO’s).

Of course, there is always the downsides of serving the divorce papers.  There is always going to be some upset upon being served with divorce papers.  It is important that you try to soften the blow by advising your spouse that there are some divorce papers they can expect.  There are also some alternative methods of serving your spouse that are less stressful which can be used instead of hiring a process server.

We are a licensed and bonded legal document preparation firms that specializes in the divorce process.  Please give us a call for more information about our services.

Are There Any Good Divorce Attorneys In Santa Clarita

Are There Any Good Divorce Attorneys In Santa Clarita

I get asked this question from time to time.  People calling me, knowing that I am a neutral third party and don’t have anything vested in giving an answer to this question.

My answer is, “of course”.  Of course there are good lawyers in Santa Clarita.  In fact, we probably have some of the best attorneys in Los Angeles County.

I think the questions people should be asking is whether there are any attorneys that will represent them without stirring the post, so to speak.

You see, there are plenty of bulldog lawyers out there that will fight to the death for you.  And you will pay for it.  We don’t advocate that here.  We advocate for a compromised, uncontested and cooperative divorce process.

So when someone asks me if there are any good lawyers in Santa Clarita, my first question is, “why do you need a good lawyer in the first place”?

See, if you are asking for a good lawyer, that most likely means that your are already heading down a path of conflict, issues and plenty of attorney fees.

Here is an interesting thing about those that hire attorneys and want to crush their opponent. Once they start getting billed by their attorneys and really see how high the cost of having that “good attorney”, they quickly realize it may be better to settle than a drag out fight.  Because in the end of a drag out fight, nobody wins.

I have seen it a million times when I worked for a law firm.  A client comes in and wants slam their spouse.  Usually, because there is so much emotion and anger at first.  Then they start getting billed and realize that might not have been the best course of action.  Sometimes the bill they got from the law firm was the only thing to knock some sense into them so they will begin to work on the real issues of the divorce instead of the plan to insult and injure their spouse.

The only winners in these cases are the attorney involved.  Think about what your going to do to your family before you retain a divorce attorney.

What It Means To Retain An Attorney | Santa Clarita

What It Means To Retain An Attorney | Santa Clarita

We do not want to advise anyone not to get legal advice when they need it.  However, most people never need to retain a divorce lawyer during their divorce unless there is a good reason that you need to.

First, what is a “retainer agreement?”  A retainer agreement is where the attorney takes on your case and now has a professional responsibility to act on your behalf.  They have now been hired to represent you in your divorce.

The retainer agreement spells out the agreement between the party to be represented and the attorney of law firm.  The retainer will advise you what the law firm will do to represent you and what you can expect during the divorce process.

The retainer agreement is also about the fees do to the law firm for the work they do on your case.  It will detail the amount of money you are to leave as a deposit and spells out how the fees will be charged against your deposit.

What a lot of people learn to late is that the amount an attorney asks you to leave as a deposit to retain their firm, is not the total amount for your divorce.  They call it a retainer fee or deposit.  It is simply the amount of money you are giving them to retain them.  You will be responsible for any work done on your case that exceeds the deposit or retainer amount.

So many of my clients started off with a divorce lawyer, plopped down $5,ooo thinking that the deposit amount was the full amount to be represented during their divorce.  Later they get a bill for the charges incurred and don’t know why.  Even though it was expressly stated in the fee agreement, they are shocked to find out that their bill has doubled and they are not even close to being divorce yet.

Read my article on the costs of divorce for more information.

We are a licensed and bonded legal document preparation service that specializes in the divorce process.  Please give us a call for more information about our divorce legal services.

What Do Your Own Divorce Means | Santa Clarita

What Do Your Own Divorce Means | Santa Clarita

So what does it really mean to do your own divorce?  There are actually two answers to this questions.

First, there is the paperwork part of the divorce.  The paperwork of a divorce can be confusing and difficult to figure out. What with all the different forms that need to be completed.  And don’t forget about the fact that certain forms need to be served and filed and it all has to be done correctly and in a certain order.

Then there is the part of the divorce where you need to make decisions about certain aspects of the divorce.  This means making informed decisions, exploring options, compromising with your spouse and taking responsibility for your divorce case, all the decisions and what happens in your life.

This means having frequent and detailed discussion with your spouse about the terms of the divorce.  So while the paperwork issue of the divorce has its own challenges, the decision making process comes with its own host of challenges

Doing your own divorce means that you do so without hiring or retaining an attorney.  When you file for divorce, your filing fee pays for the use of the courts facilitators and mediators to help you come to agreements when you need help deciding what to do.

We continue to say that there are only a handful of reasons you truly need a lawyer during a divorce.  First, is to obtain legal advice and the other if to represent you in court.  Other than that, you should be the one making the decision on the terms of your divorce.  This is why we say you should consult with a divorce attorney but not retain them.

When it comes to the paperwork part of the divorce process, that is where a legal document preparation firm such as us can step in.  Don’t let all your hard work of negotiating and compromising with your spouse go to waste by not preparing the divorce paperwork correctly.

We specialize in the divorce process.  Let seasoned divorce specialists step in and prepare your divorce paperwork for you.

Santa Clarita Divorce | Consult But Don’t Retain A Lawyer

Santa Clarita Divorce | Consult But Don’t Retain A Lawyer

As a proponent of doing your own divorce, I am always glad to find someone who shares my thoughts on the issues of divorce.  To do your own divorce means to NOT retain an attorney.

There are a few reasons to retain a divorce attorney.  Simply because you are getting divorced is not reason enough to retain an attorney

What does it mean to “retain” an attorney?  When you retain an attorney, you are giving that attorney to act on your behalf.  Because the legal system is an adversary system, getting an attorney involved almost always causes more trouble and raises the level of  conflict in the divorce.

So what we argue is that you do not need to retain a lawyer, but use them on a consultative basis when you have questions about your legal rights during the divorce process.  You can continue to meet with and consult divorce attorneys without having to retain them.

Divorce attorneys do not want you to know this.  They want you to retain them so they can rack up the fees and charge you for every step of the way.

When you use an attorney on a consultation basis, you maintain control of what happens during the divorce process and can ensure that it does not go off the rails.

There are two ways you can view attorneys and how they work.  First, you have to understand that when you hire them, they are going to do whatever it takes to win and represent your best interest.  They have to, otherwise risk a possible malpractice suit which means sometimes doing things in their best interest and not yours.

But on the other end, doesn’t this seem a little convenient?  I mean, to represent your best interest, they have to act in a way that can complicate your case and make it worse instead of better.  The more trouble you have, the more money the attorney makes.

Do you think this is an incentive for them to keep things simple?

We are a licensed and bonded legal document preparation service that specializes in the divorce process.  We are a neutral third party who’s only purpose is to get your through the divorce process.  Please give us a call for more information about our services.


Attorney’s Say Do Your Own Divorce | Santa Clarita

Attorney’s Say Do Your Own Divorce | Santa Clarita Divorce

I do a lot of reading about divorce, especially the self help divorce books, books about marriage and the like in order to better understand the process and keep up to date with changing laws, etc.

I also read these books for fodder for my blog articles, such as this one.

That said, every book I read is typically written by a lawyer.  And what I find in these self help divorce type books is that every one of them says that you should do your own divorce and not use an attorney.

The current book I am reading on page 1, chapter one starts off with the heading, “Can you do your own divorce?  Should You?”  Followed by bold capital letters, “YES!  YOU CAN!”

As a legal document preparation firm that specializes in divorce, I find it a bit of fresh air that there are attorneys out there that realize that they are unnecessary in the divorce process in most cases.

It is true that over 60% of California divorces are now done without either side being represented by an attorney.  This saves California divorcing families between 500 million and a billion dollars every year in unnecessary legal fees.

In fact, this book encourages you to do your own divorce.  Reasons given to do your own divorce are that by taking charge of your own divorce case will lead to a smoother, faster, less painful and less expensive divorce experience.

Here is a quote right from the book:

Most people would be better off if they reduced or eliminated their use of attorneys, because the legal process and the way attorneys work in it tends to cause trouble, raise the level of conflict, and greatly increase your expense. (“How to do your own divorce in California” NOLO Press)

There are attorneys out there that are willing to put it in writing that you can and should do your own divorce.  And when you do decided to do your own divorce, you should make sure to use the professional services of a licensed and bonded legal document preparation service like us to make sure you get your divorce documents done correctly so you can move on with your life.

Please give us a call for more information about our divorce self help services.

Telling Your Spouse You Want A Divorce | Santa Clarita

Telling Your Spouse You Want A Divorce | Santa Clarita

Once you decide you want to get divorced, how do you go about telling your spouse and when should you do it.  There is probably not any one-size-fits-all answer.  But sooner versus later is probably sound advice.

Besides, if you are trying to decide when to tell your spouse you want a divorce, then things have probably been kind of rocky for a while.  Perhaps your spouse already knows, is expecting it or thinking of doing exactly the same thing.

When and how you decide to tell your spouse you want a divorce is a personal decision that only you can make.  But when you do get around to it, it is important to sit down with them and work towards a compromise so that your divorce can be as amicable as possible.

It would be a good idea to come up with a plan on how your want to deliver your message and perhaps make some notes about what you want to discuss.  In addition, try to do it with respect for the other party and take the high road to divorce.

Unless there is some concern of violence or other issues that could arise from breaking the news, this is probably one of those occasions where writing an email, sending a text or leaving a voice mail is probably not your best option.

Making the decision to finally tell your spouse that you want to get divorced is hard.  Even if you have decided a while ago.  Telling your spouse brings about the reality that you are actually going through with it and that it is no longer a questions or contemplation.

Communication throughout the divorce process will be essential to ensure that it ends amicably.  Make sure you start off right by advising your spouse in an appropriate manner that will hopefully set the tone for the remainder of the divorce process.

We are a licensed and bonded legal document preparation service that specializes in the divorce process.  We serve all of Los Angeles County.

Take The High Road During Divorce | Santa Clarita

Take The High Road During Divorce | Santa Clarita

Whenever I speak to new clients, I make sure to tell them that it is all about give and take.  And you are going to feel that you are giving more than you are taking.  But just so you know, your spouse feels exactly the same way.

There is no winner when it comes to divorce.  Even if you technically come out on top, you have not “won” anything.  Divorce is ugly no matter what happens.

You will be faced with making all sorts of decisions throughout the divorce process.  And each time you have to make a choice you are going to have to either give in a little or hold your ground on a particular issue.

In the long term, the best thing you can do for your family and yourself is to try to compromise at every turn.  If you have children, think of what the best decision is for them as opposed to what the best decision is for you.

Whatever you do, try not to make things worse or make turn a simple issue into a major conflict.  Will this be hard, of course it will be.

In the end, everyone wins when you compromise.  Compromise means that you spend on less on legal fees.  Work hard and possibly you won’t have any legal fees.

Turn the divorce into a major conflict and you will certainly be reeling for years trying to pay for all your attorney fees.  Taking the high road can help prevent all that and leave you in a better state when the divorce is over and done.

Try and think of your decisions from the perspective of a third party.  You know how easy it is and how simple other peoples problems seem to solve, right?

We are a licensed and bonded legal document preparation service specializing in the divorce process.  We provide a fixed fee divorce solution.  Please give us a call for more information about our services.

No Fault Divorce | Santa Clarita Divorce


When folks call me, the conversation usually tends to go in the direction of what happened to cause the current marital issues that are going on.

In some cases, this conversation leads to me being asked if there is any point in bringing up what the other party did to cause the marriage to end.

For instance, where one spouse cheats on the other.  Does the non-cheating spouse have any upper hand during the divorce?

To answer that questions, we turn to the phrase called, “No Fault Divorce.”

California is a no fault divorce State and as the name suggests, no fault divorce permits the termination of a marriage without the finding that either party has violated one of the rules that are the grounds for a fault-based divorce.

So in essence, not only do you not have to have a reason to get divorce, but if someone could technically be blamed for the marriage ending, the California Courts are not interested in hearing it nor is any position gained or lost for either spouse.

Typically, states require only that the marriage be demonstrated to have been broken down irremediably.  Put another way, that the spouses are no longer compatible and that irreconcilable differences exists.

Thus, when it comes to filing for divorce, it does not matter who is the Petitioner and who is the Respondent.  It does not matter who files for divorce.  It could be the one who caused the breakup or the one who feels they were not at fault.  The court only uses the terms to distinguish between the spouses.

This is probably why they use the words Petitioner instead of Plaintiff and Respondent instead of Defendant.

We are a licensed and bonded legal document preparation firm that specializes in the divorce process.  We are the only divorce service that offers a 100% online divorce service in Los Angeles County.  Please give us a call for more information.