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
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
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 have more than 15 years of experience helping individuals
with legal separations and divorce. 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 and schedule a consultation!