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Frequently Asked Family Law Questions

When dealing with such personal issues as child custody and legal separation, you will need a compassionate and understanding attorney who is well-versed in all areas of family law. Attorney Dan Hunter at The Hunter Law Group has more than 30 combined years of experience in family law. He can help you deal with all of the issues you may be handling during this tough time and fight for the best solution for you and your family. If you have further questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with our firm today.

What is a legal separation? Is it different from a divorce?

Legal separation is not a divorce, but in a legal separation, the same issues still need to be determined, such as division of property, child custody, alimony, etc. In a court-recognized separation, any debts or assets accumulated by the parties are now considered separate property. A separation is not recognized by the law unless someone actually files for legal separation, otherwise, a trial separation or living apart is simply a period of time in the relationship.

While a divorce does not have to be agreed to by both spouses, both parties must agree on the legal separation. Unlike a divorce, there is no six month waiting period with a legal separation. Also, California residency is not required before filing. The main difference between a legal separation and divorce is that after getting a legal separation, the spouses may not remarry.

What happens to my finances in a divorce?

Worried about the future of your finances? There are many different facets to the divorce process, especially when it comes to assets, debts and support payments. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, you could be facing a variety of different issues, all of which could affect your financial standing. Make sure to protect what is rightfully yours and receive the spousal or child support you deserve. Find out more by clicking here.

Will I lose my kids in a divorce?

This is typically the greatest worry that a parent can have when faced with a divorce. In many cases, one or both parents can have custody over their child or children. If one parent does not receive custody, they are most likely eligible for visitation rights. The court can create a schedule for both parents that is hopefully suitable not only for the parents, but most importantly the children involved. Click here to read more on the matter.

What are some reasons for getting a legal separation?

If one or both spouses hold religious or personal beliefs that prevent them from getting a divorce, legal separation may be a solution. Legal separation is also for those without plans for remarrying. It also can be an intermediate step to getting a divorce, something that is in place as you wait to fulfill the requirements for California residency. In this state, to file for a divorce, one spouse must have lived in California for 6 months, the other spouse for 3 months. There may also be financial reasons for going with a legal separation instead of a divorce, such as health insurance, Social Security, or some other finances that a spouse will lose in a divorce. Consult with a Mission Viejo family law attorney to find out if legal separation is a viable solution for you.

Can a pre-nuptial agreement help with child custody?

No, in a prenuptial agreement, any issues that do not regard finances will not be binding in court. A pre-nuptial agreement is not the place where child custody and visitation rights can be outlined. The goal of California courts is preserving the welfare and healthy relationships of your child, and they will not allow any agreement between spouses to interfere with the child's rights.

What happens if I am the custodial parent and I want to relocate?

First and foremost in any family law situation is the welfare of your child. If you are the custodial parent, and you want to move for a job or to live in a better location, to successfully file a move-away petition, you must prove that the relocation is greatly beneficial to your child and that the move will be more beneficial than detrimental. The court takes into consideration the age of the child, the relationship the child has with their parents, how the move will affect the child, why the custodial parent wants to move, how the non-custodial parent will be affected, and more. You will need an experienced family law attorney to override any challenges from the non-custodial parent and to help demonstrate to the court that the move is good for your child.

Can I deny my ex visitation?

If the court has already issued your ex-spouse visitation rights, it is in your best interest not to deny him or her the rights. Violating a court order, such as one giving your ex-spouse rights to visit your children, can have serious consequences and lead to criminal contempt. However, for cases in which you may strongly believe that your child should not be spending time with your ex because of safety or health concerns, you should contact a family lawyer about your options to petition a modification.

What if my wife moves away with my kids?

In order for a custodial parent to move to another state or country, he or she must file a move-away petition with the court to obtain permission first. When your wife files this petition, the court will consider several factors before allowing her to do so including the impact it will have on you and your relationship with the kids. During this time, you also have the right to present your reasons for why she should not move the children away, which the court may take into consideration in their decision. If your wife attempts to move away without such a petition, you should contact a lawyer and take measures to ensure that her side of the custody agreement is enforced.

Can I still get custody if the child is not biologically related to me?

Custody is determined based on a number of factors, but biological relation is not necessarily one of them. If you are a legal parent of the child, meaning that you adopted the child as your own while you were still married to your ex-spouse, you have legal grounds to petition for child custody and the court will view you as a parent with the same claim as the biological parent.

Are there alternatives to divorce?

If one or both spouses wish to end a marriage in the state of California, they have one of three options. Whether choosing to pursue an annulment, legal separation or divorce, even if just one spouse wishes to separate, the other has no power to stop it from happening. There are certain methods of divorce that can make the process a smoother one, including mediation or seeking an uncontested divorce. Find out more about these alternatives by clicking here.

Mission Viejo Family Law Attorney on Your Side

Having the right legal counsel can lessen stress, ensure a fair result, and help you strive toward a peaceful solution for the future, hopefully one that is best for your family. Protect your family's future with skilled and passionate legal support from The Hunter Law Group. With over a decade of experience, family law attorney Daniel Hunter is prepared to protect your family and is dedicated to working toward the best resolution. To start the process of building a successful future for your family, fill out a case evaluation and contact The Hunter Law Group today!

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