Family Law FAQ
Get Answers from Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC
Navigating the legal system can be daunting for anyone, but it can potentially be even more stressful when coupled with the deeply emotional aspects of divorce and family law matters. We understand that you may be going through as challenging time, and we’re here to help in any way we can. Below, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about divorce and family law in San Diego. If your question isn’t answered here or if you would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact our firm to request an initial case evaluation with a member of our team.
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Are there residency requirements to get a divorce in California?
Yes – if you wish to get a divorce in California, you must first meet the residency requirements. You must have been a resident of California for at least six months and a resident of the county where you plan to file for at least three months. Once you have met the residency requirement, you are eligible to file your petition and all other required forms.
What are the grounds for divorce in California?
California is a no-fault state, which means that it isn’t necessary to cite a reason for the divorce beyond “irreconcilable differences.” You don’t have to prove whose fault it was that the marriage didn’t work – however, it isn’t entirely irrelevant. For example, if your spouse was violent, committed adultery, or abandoned your family, the courts may consider this when making decisions about spousal support and division of property.
How much does divorce cost?
The cost of a divorce depends on a variety of factors, but ultimately depends on the complexity of the divorce, how much time is required to handle the divorce properly, and whether the divorce is resolved with or without litigation. An uncontested divorce, for example, will typically be less costly than a high-conflict divorce requiring litigation. Other things to consider include whether children are involved, whether business or professional practices are involved, and if there is a large amount of assets involved. It is important to discuss costs with your attorney so that you know what to expect throughout the entire process.
How do I get full custody of my child?
Gaining full custody of your child is a matter of demonstrating to the court that it would be in your child’s best interests. In other words, a parent must show that a different custody arrangement would negatively affect their child.
Courts will consider the following when it comes to protecting a child’s best interests:
- Any history of neglect or abuse
- Any history of drug or alcohol abuse
- A parent’s mental fitness to care for a child
- Existing parent/child bonds
- The child’s age and specific needs
Although the courts favor shared custody arrangements that allow the child to be raised by both parents, the courts will ultimately award custody to the parent deemed most able to provide a stable environment for the child.
How is property divided in a divorce?
There are two types of property: separate property and marital property. Put simply, separate property is property owned before the marriage or acquired as an inheritance or gift, while marital property is property acquired during a marriage using marital funds. But assets aren’t the only things that need to be divided in a divorce – debt are, as well. The same principles of separate and marital apply here too. It is important to work with a qualified attorney to ensure that all assets and debts are divided fairly, especially in cases where one spouse contributed to a significant amount of the marital property or debt.
Am I eligible to receive spousal support?
The court considers several factors when making a decision about whether to order spousal support, including whether you have a legitimate financial need for the support and whether your spouse has the ability to pay it. If you plan to request support, you will need to be prepared to show the court your income and expenses. The court will then also consider things like the length of your marriage, your earning capacity, your education and employment, your age, and your health.
Can my child support obligation be modified?
Yes, there are certain circumstances in which you may request a modification of your child support obligation. For example, if you lose your job, suffer a substantial reduction of income, or are diagnosed with a serious illness, you may request a modification. Other qualifying circumstances include a change in the child’s residence (i.e. if they now reside with the paying parent) or if they child’s needs change (for example, the child’s medical needs change). Keep in mind that you can’t just stop making payments, even if you think the current amount you owe is incorrect or unfair. If you have questions about child support modifications, please contact us.
Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC is here to answer any further questions
you may have.
We invite you to call our office at (858) 492-7968.