Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce and Family Law in Walnut Creek, CA
At Hannon Family Law, we know that divorce and family law matters can be confusing and overwhelming. That’s why we have compiled a list of some of the most common questions we get from our clients and potential clients. If you have a question that is not answered here, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation at 925-658-3500.
What are the grounds for divorce in California?
California is a no-fault divorce state, which means that you do not have to prove any wrongdoing by your spouse to get a divorce. You only have to state that you have irreconcilable differences that make your marriage impossible to continue. However, fault may still be relevant for some issues, such as spousal support, property division, and child custody.
How long does it take to get a divorce in California?
California has a mandatory six-month waiting period for divorce, which means that you cannot finalize your divorce until at least six months after you file the petition or serve the papers on your spouse, whichever is earlier. However, you can resolve all other issues and obtain a judgment of dissolution before the waiting period is over. The actual duration of your divorce will depend on several factors, such as the complexity of your case, the level of cooperation between you and your spouse, and the availability of the court.
How is property divided in a divorce in California?
California is a community property state, which means that all property and debts acquired during the marriage are presumed to belong equally to both spouses, unless they are separate property. Separate property includes anything owned before the marriage, inherited or gifted during the marriage, or agreed to be separate by the spouses. Community property and debts must be divided fairly and equitably in a divorce, which may not necessarily mean 50/50. The court will consider various factors, such as the duration of the marriage, the contributions of each spouse, the needs of each spouse, and the tax consequences of the division.
How is child custody determined in a divorce in California?
Child custody is one of the most important and sensitive issues in a divorce. There are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make major decisions for the child, such as education, health care, religion, and extracurricular activities. Physical custody refers to the actual time and place where the child lives. The court will decide custody based on the best interests of the child, taking into account various factors, such as the age and preferences of the child, the relationship and bond between the child and each parent, the ability and willingness of each parent to care for the child, the health and safety of the child, and the history of domestic violence or substance abuse by either parent. The court will also encourage frequent and continuing contact between the child and both parents unless there is a reason to limit or restrict such contact.
How is child support calculated in a divorce in California?
Child support is the amount of money that one parent pays to the other parent to help cover the costs of raising the child. Child support is determined by a formula that takes into account various factors, such as the income of each parent, the amount of time each parent spends with the child, the number of children, the tax filing status of each parent, the health insurance and child care expenses of each parent, and any special needs of the child. The court can deviate from the formula if there are special circumstances or needs. Child support can be modified or terminated if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income, custody, or the needs of the child.
How is spousal support determined in a divorce in California?
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is the amount of money that one spouse pays to the other spouse to maintain the standard of living that they enjoyed during the marriage. Spousal support is not automatic or guaranteed in a divorce, and the court has discretion to award it or not, depending on the circumstances of the case. The court will consider various factors, such as the duration of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, the income and earning capacity of each spouse, the contributions of each spouse to the marriage, the needs and expenses of each spouse, and the ability of each spouse to pay. Spousal support can be temporary or permanent, and it can be modified or terminated if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income, remarriage, or cohabitation by the supported spouse.