Divorce – Frequently Asked Questions
GET ANSWERS FROM A SEASONED ATTORNEY
Each lawyer with the Law Offices of Donald P. Schweitzer focuses on the individual needs of each client. Our desire is to help you through each step of your divorce and to keep you personally informed and involved in the decision-making process. One way in which we accomplish this goal is by answering any and all questions you may have about your case or your legal options. We pride ourselves in our communication and quick responses to your calls and emails. You can always be sure that your lawyer will get back to you promptly and provide you with comprehensive answers to your questions and concerns. Read through some common divorce-related questions listed below before you contact our firm to schedule an initial case evaluation with an experienced family law attorney from our firm.
Common Divorce Questions
How do I file for divorce in California?
Divorce in California is a complex and difficult process. First you must meet the residency requirements. You and/or your spouse must have lived in California for at least 6 months and in the county in which you are filing for at least 3 months. You must then complete all the necessary paperwork for a Petition and Summons, as well as financial disclosure forms, and pay the filing fees. Only then will your divorce case be able to serve your spouse with a notice of divorce proceedings. The best way to ensure that you correctly complete all the necessary steps and paperwork is to have a capable lawyer by your side.
What are California's grounds for divorce?
California is a no-fault divorce state, which means that one or both spouses may seek to dissolve their marriage due to irreconcilable differences. Traditional divorce used to require grounds such as adultery or domestic violence, which can still be grounds for divorce in California. However, the only grounds required by the state are that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Will I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. If your divorce is a contested case where you and your spouse are unable to agree on one or more issues, then yes, you will have to go to court. If you and your spouse believe that you can draft an agreement amicably, then you may instead be able to obtain a divorce through an uncontested case, such as divorce mediation or collaborative law. You may still have to litigate, however, if you and your spouse disagree on any part of your divorce in the future. Speak with a family law attorney from our firm to find out what options are available for your situation.
How much support will I receive?
California uses a formula to calculate child support, which involves the following factors:
- The combined total of both parent's incomes
- The net monthly disposable income of the parent who earns more
- The approximate percentage of time that the high earner has or will have primary physical responsibility for the child compared to the other parent
- The combined total net monthly disposable income of both parents
As you can see, the process of calculating child support is quite complex. Spousal support is not much different and includes factors such as:
- The length of the marriage before divorce was filed
- Each partner's income and ability to pay
- The age and health of each partner
- The education of each partner
- Each partner's debts and property
Only a lawyer with extensive experience in child and spousal support cases will be able to estimate how much support you deserve to receive or pay. Hire an attorney from our firm today to ensure that you receive what you deserve, or that you are not required to pay more than you can afford.
What property can I keep in divorce? What will I lose?
California has strict community property laws, which state that any assets and property acquired during marriage belong to both parties equally. Therefore, marital property will be distributed equally upon divorce unless the two spouses explicitly state otherwise in an agreement. There is also such thing as separate property, however, which includes any assets or property obtained by one spouse during or after a marriage, including gifts. To protect your separate property and to ensure a fair, 50/50 distribution of your marital property, hire a skilled lawyer from our firm right away.
What is a Family Law Specialist?
Members of our team are California attorneys who are certified by the State Bar as a Family Law Specialists. They must have:
- Taken and passed a written examination in Family Law
- Demonstrated a high level of experience in Family Law
- Fulfilled ongoing education requirements
- Been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judged familiar with their work.
This process is extensive and extremely difficult, which is why few family law attorneys are certified as specialists. At the Law Offices of Donald P. Schweitzer, you can rest easy knowing we understand how to maximize the results of your individual case.
What are the benefits to hiring a firm with certified specialties in Family Law?
- Make certain marital settlement agreements are properly prepared
- Identify tax issues which may affect distribution of property and the payment of child, spousal or family support
- Help you effectively deal with complex legal issues involving community property
- Protect clients who need restraining orders for domestic violence
- Handle matters related to modification of child custody, spousal support or child support
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