Frequently Asked Questions about filing for divorce
Q: What can I expect during my first meeting with the attorney?
A: During your initial consultation with the attorney he will discuss the issues concerning your case, answer any questions you may have and give you legal advice. Once you and the attorney have discussed your case in detail he will quote you with the retainer fee to handle your case. Make sure you read the retainer fee agreement or contract for legal services carefully to make sure you understand it in its entirety.
Q: Will the attorney I initially meet with be my attorney throughout my entire case?
A: If there is more than one attorney in the office, this should be clarified when making the appointment. Before leaving your appointment you should find out whether or not the the attorney that you met with is the actual attorney who is going to represent you.
Q: What should I do to prepare for my first meeting and why is it important to be prepared?
A: Write down the facts related to your legal problems and list any questions you want answered. If you have support questions, bring pay stubs and tax returns. If there are property questions, bring documents pertaining to the property involved. By being prepared this will allow you and the attorney to make better use of the time you have together.
Q: How long does the divorce process take?
A: If you and your spouse agree on all issues, a divorce can be completed within six months and one day after the divorce Petition has been served. If you do not agree, the time required depends upon the discovery process and the Court’s schedule.
Q: Where should I file for divorce?
A: You can file for divorce in any County you or your spouse have lived in for at least ninety days, so long as that same person has lived in the State of California for at least six months.
Q: Who determines how property is divided between spouses in a divorce?
A: The California Family Code requires that the Court divide community property equally. However, this does not mean that every asset will be divided equally, nor does it require that assets be sold.
Q: How is child support determined?
A: Child support is calculated by using a formula in the California Family Code. This formula requires information regarding each spouse’s net monthly disposable income, the amount of time the children spend with each parent and other factors which are a part of the calculation.
Q: What are temporary orders?
A: Temporary orders are issued after the case is filed and before a final Judgment is entered. These may include such things as child custody, child support, spousal support, use of a residence or vehicle, and attorney fees.
Q: If my spouse and I agree on all items, what do we need to do to finalize our divorce?
A: If all items are agreed to in advance, one spouse can file a Petition and the other spouse can either accept service or provide a written acknowledgment of service. The filing spouse then drafts a final Judgment and other documents which are reviewed and signed by both parties. The other spousal can hire or consult with their own attorney if they choose. Once the necessary documents are signed by both spouses, the filing spouse can proceed to have the Judgment entered.
Q: Do I have to show that someone was at fault in order to get a divorce?
A: It is not necessary to show that anyone is at fault. It is only necessary to show that there are irreconcilable differences. However, fault issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, and breaches of fiduciary duty can be important in cases involving child custody, spousal support, attorney fees and some property issues.