Divorce attorneys in Orange County and family law practitioners throughout California use this jargon all the time. The number refers to California Evidence Code section 730, which has to do with the court’s appointing an expert to investigate and to make a report to the court concerning a complicated issue in a case. In a family law case, a 730 evaluation is often done for child custody and visitation issues. Once a 730 evaluator (psychologist) is selected, the evaluator investigates the family dynamics and relationships between the parents and children and makes a report to the court with recommendations for child custody and visitation. In the course of their investigation, a child custody evaluator will often interview family members outside of the nuclear family and other people who may have relevant information about the parties and their children. 730 evaluators are not a paid by the courts. They are private psychologists, so the parties often share the expense of having such an expert involved in their case.
For many people, the shock of being served with divorce papers is followed by an even greater shock when they find out what it will cost them to hire a divorce lawyer. The initial shock is generally followed by a lesser (or bigger) “after shock” each month when they get the bill.
There are some options to controlling your divorce costs. Many people opt for the “do it yourself” method, or they hire a document preparer and try to stay out of court. These approaches may work well if there are truly no issues and the parties understand the nature and extent of their property and other issues. Divorce mediation is another option. A skilled divorce mediator can assist the parties in identifying and resolving the unique issues in their divorce and then help them prepare their own negotiated marital settlement agreement and cost only a fraction of what a divorce attorney might charge either party.
If indeed you decide it is best for you to hire a family law attorney to represent you in your divorce, remember they are not all the same. Many of these gunslingers enjoy a good fight, and are only too happy to brawl on your dime. They may be intentionally contentious in their dealings with opposing counsel just to force matters to be litigated. Others are negotiators who may go to court only when matters cannot be settled, most are somewhere in between. Be sure you know what kind of attorney you are hiring, as it may save you money in your divorce.
When doing the divorce accounting, do not forget to figure yourself into the equation. While an attorney’s overly aggressive tactics may be a source of high divorce costs, an unreasonable party can be even more to blame. Taking unreasonable or extreme positions that cannot be compromised forces you to litigate the issue. The more you go to court, the more your divorce will cost. Also, the level of contention has a big effect on the cost of your divorce. If you are busy adding fuel to the fire, the divorce price tag only goes up. So try to bury some of those old bones of contention.
What is a no fault divorce? Well, in some states, in order to get a divorce, you must allege some wrongdoing on the part of the person you are trying to divorce. A common ground for divorce in a “fault” divorce state is adultry, and the person making the allegations must prove the grounds for divorce. There are other grounds for divorce, such as abandonment, which aren’t nearly so emotionally charged, and the grounds for divorce vary from state to state.
California is a no fault divorce state, which means that you do not have to prove the grounds for divorce and can simply check the box marked “irreconcilable differences.” The court does not have to look past that one fact, and there will be no evidentiary hearing to force a party to explain why the divorce is happening. From a litigation standpoint, this “no fault divorce” provision saves untold time and money because you do not have to put on an evidentiary hearing. From a human relations perspective, it does not force the parties to dredge up old wounds and helps the parties move on with their lives. You may end up fighting about other issues, but whose fault it is that you are going through a divorce won’t be one of them.