Frequently Asked Divorce Questions

It is absolutely essential that before you step into any kind of family law process that you obtain the adequate legal assistance from a qualified Mission Viejo family law attorney. Working with families and individuals to come up with amicable solutions to a variety of issues, including pre-marital agreements, obtaining restraining orders and divorce as well as all the aspects associated with each item. For over a decade, Attorney Daniel Hunter has dedicated his time and efforts to obtaining the best results possible for the residents of Southern California. Below we have listed some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive accompanied by our relevant answers. If you have additional inquiries, get in touch with The Hunter Law Group today.

What does California recognize as "grounds for divorce"?

The state of California will allow persons to file for a divorce under irreconcilable differences or incurable insanity. Irreconcilable differences are disagreements that a couple is unable to resolve, which may make the marriage irretrievable. Under this, neither party is held at fault and it is one of the most used reasons to dissolve marriage. The other option is incurable insanity, which is when one spouse is medically proven to be psychologically imbalanced.

To use this, two medical professionals must attest to the spouse's mental capacity at the time the petition was filed. In addition, the couple must not have lived together for at least three years. To file for a divorce in California, it is important to note that you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months and in your particular county for at least three months. For a legal separation, however, there is no residency requirement.

How long will my divorce take in California?

Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, it could take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. The length could be affected by your personal agreement with your spouse, statutory regulations, and the availability of the court. If the divorce is contested, then often the process takes much longer. For uncontested divorce, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for the divorce to be finalized.

How can I get financial information from my spouse?

If your spouse is not complying with your wishes to obtain certain relevant financial information, then you may take legal action with the help of your attorney. One option would be to get a deposition, which is an interview that you and your attorney would administer to your spouse under oath. You might also send an interrogatory, which is a written question to which your spouse needs to respond. If you need a particular document, then you might submit an Inspection Demand, which is a legally-backed command for your spouse to give you the documents that you desire. You could also get a disclosure declaration, which will list all of the income, assets, expenses, and debts of your spouse. The court will often need proof that this was given to the other spouse in order to proceed.

How can I make my divorce simpler?

In the state of California, those who have already formed a written agreement regarding asset division may file for a summary dissolution. In order to be eligible, you must have been married for less than five years, have no children with your spouse, own no real estate property, have less than $4,000 in combined debt, except for auto loans, and waive the right to spousal support. You must also have less than $25,000 in community property and less than $25,000 in separate property, excluding motor vehicles. Even if you start a summary dissolution process, you may discontinue it at any time before it is final. If you have questions about your eligibility, then you should speak to a lawyer from our firm.

How much child support will I have to pay?

The amount of child support that a parent has to pay primarily depends on their income and how much time they spend with the child. The courts may also take into account the cost of child care expenses, tax filing status, home mortgage payments, and other expenditures that a parent might be responsible for. To accurately estimate the amount of child support, visit the California Child Support Calculator, although it is still wise to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer first.

Who will get custody of my child?

For children under 18, both parents have a chance to come to an agreement on what will happen to their children. Both physical custody and legal custody should be taken into account. Physical custody includes where the child will live, while legal custody involves who will make the decisions regarding their education, health, and other pertinent issues. You and your spouse can agree on a parenting plan and give a copy to the judge to approve. In most cases, the judge will approve of a previously agreed upon plan.

If you and your spouse cannot agree, however, then the court will try and decide in your place. First, both parents are required to meet with a trained counselor before going to the court in a last attempt to get parents to agree on the plan, which is usually more beneficial to both the couple and the child. Appointments can be made through the Family Court or Conciliation Court. In some courts, the counselor can submit a recommendation to the judge.

If that also does not work, then the court will take action. To determine custody, they will take into account the well-being of the child and the potential for continuous contact with both parents. If one parent is deemed to be safer or better equipped to care for the child, then that parent might get more time or a better chance at custody than the other parent. The court might also try to see if one parent is more willing to let the child have contact with the other parent. The court usually prefers that both parents are involved with the child, unless there is a safety issue.

The judge may give joint legal custody, sole legal custody, joint physical custody, or sole physical custody, depending on the particular situation. For more help in creating your own parenting plan or getting custody of your child, speak with an Orange County family lawyer at our firm.

What is spousal support?

Spousal support is what alimony is called in California. This is when one spouse makes payments to support the other after a divorce. A judge determines the need for these payments as well as the amount of these payments required by looking at the couple's standard of living during the marriage, the age of the parties, their health, earning capacity, and job histories. A divorce lawyer can help ensure that the terms of spousal support are fair.

How is property divided?

In California, community property will be divided, but not separate property. Separate property is what you gained before the marriage and after the separation. It also includes any inheritance or gifts that were only given to you (and not also to your spouse) during the marriage. Community property is everything that you and your spouse obtained together. This may also include debts, with the exception of student loans. Community property might be split 50/50, or it can be split into halves of equal value, though you and your spouse may decide to an unequal division. There also will not be an equal split if you and your spouse have more debts than assets. Correctly determining the types of property that items belong to can be tricky and you will want legal counsel to ensure that your separate property is correctly considered as such.

How does divorce mediation work?

An outside third party, the mediator, tries to find areas of agreement between you and your spouse. The goal of the mediator is to discuss and negotiate with both parties to find the ideal solution to what you both want. They will work with you to determine issues of property division, support, child custody, and visitation rights. After the mediator writes up an agreement, each spouse chooses an attorney to look over the settlement agreement. After this, the attorney will process the agreement through the court, but you and your spouse will have made all the decisions outside of a trial. With a mediator and skilled divorce attorney, you can often find a fair and amicable settlement out of court.

Are there benefits to mediation?

This process can lend itself toward an amicable resolution and save you time and stress in getting a divorce. You don't have to air your issues out in court, and you involve only a few other parties to arrive at a solution to which you mutually agree upon. Mediation is entered into when both spouses agree to it. Both parties have to be completely up front about their finances and desires during the mediation process. Retaining an attorney throughout the mediation process can help ensure that the settlement is a fair one. To learn more about how mediation can benefit you in a divorce, contact a Mission Viejo divorce attorney from The Hunter Law Group.

Mission Viejo Law Firm: Protecting You and Your Family

Are you looking for a family law attorney in Mission Viejo, California? At our firm, we strive to not only calm your concerns, but also to work compassionately with you in understanding the dynamics of your case before taking any steps forward. Attorney Daniel Hunter is motivated to produce the end result that will be best for you and everyone else involved, especially when it comes to children. We know that this time may be difficult and you may feel that there is nowhere to turn, but you can rely on the persistence of our legal team to get you through.

Allow us to represent your case no matter how complicated or simple it may appear. Taking over the legal paperwork, stressful tasks and all of the details, you can rest easier knowing that you are in good hands. Don't face this time alone, but enlist the help of a Mission Viejo divorce attorney from The Hunter Law Group to help save you time and money in the long run, as we work efficiently on your behalf. Fill out our case evaluation form as soon as possible!