Family Law FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I speak to an attorney over the phone and ask specific questions pertaining to my situation?
Yes. Call our offices to speak with one of our experienced attorneys, and we will answer your phone questions at NO CHARGE. You may also e-mail us by clicking the on the ‘contact us’ link above.
How does a Court divide up our stuff?
California is a community property state, meaning that all property is considered either “community” or “separate” property. At the time of divorce, the courts will divide all community property equally between the parties. Community property is property that is acquired during marriage, other than by gift to one or the other of the parties or by inheritance. Separate property is property that is acquired before marriage and after separation and by gift or inheritance during marriage. Although these definitions may seem to be simple, characterization of property as community or separate property, on divorce — especially accounts and other property that have been comingled — can be a complicated process.
How long does a divorce take?
The soonest a married person can become single in the state of California is 6 months from the date process is served. However, if the matter is contentious it can take much longer. If this is the case, it may be possible to bifurcate the action and get your marital status terminated while continuing your divorce action in regards to all the other matters. To complete the remaining issues you will need to settle out of court or litigate the issues at trial and this can take months or even years. We realize how difficult this process is on you as a party to a divorce action and therefore, we make it our goal to finish cases promptly.
Can the other parent move away with the kids?
It is possible for a parent to move outside the county or even the state with the children if permission is granted from the other spouse or a court Order is obtained. This area of law is dynamic and has endured significant developments in recent years. If you find yourself on either side of this issue, the experienced attorneys at SLG can help you assess your options and implement your best strategy on this issue.
Can I represent myself without an attorney?
This is permitted by the Courts, but not recommended. Unless you have absolutely nothing to lose, make sure to consult an attorney and assess for yourself if going it alone is a prudent choice and is in the best interests of yourself and if any are involved, your children.
Should I mediate?
Mediation can be a very effective tool in a divorce or custody case. However, you still should never come to a full settlement or sign an agreement without consulting your own attorney. In fact, you should consult an attorney before making the important decision to mediate, negotiate, or litigate your case. If you start your case with the right game plan, not only do you give yourself the best opportunity to achieve your goals, but you will likely reduce costs of litigation and over all stress on yourself and the children.
What should I do to protect my custody and visitation rights?
You should spend time with your children. The more time you are actively parenting them, the better your chances are to maintain that role during and after a divorce. Also, do not allow yourself be removed from the children’s life by your spouse just to avoid conflict. This will only harm your interests and set you up for potentially higher child support obligation. If you are in a situation where your spouse is limiting your time with your children, act immediately to protect your interests and contact one of our attorneys today.
Can I get a modification to a divorce judgement or order?
If you have an original divorce order that establishes custody, child support or spousal support, you may be able to obtain a modification to that order based on a significant change in circumstances. Custody arrangements can be changed if one party relocates or if the child has different needs. A support determination could be adjusted based on an increase or decrease in income, such as losing a job, getting a new job with different pay, or retirement. We can help you obtain a modification or challenge a proposed modification. It is important to understand that support orders cannot be modified retroactively. Therefore, as soon as there is a need for a modification of a support order, you should immediately consult a family law specialist.
If I am not the father, do I need a lawyer in a paternity action?
If you are an alleged father in a paternity case, it is important to challenge the allegation with the assistance and counsel of an experienced attorney if you believe you are not the biological father of the child. Failure to challenge paternity after it has been presumed or established could potentially result in you having child support obligations even after paternity has been disproved.