Frequently Asked Questions
Answers from an Experienced Attorney
What are grounds for divorce in the state of California?
California is a “no-fault” state, meaning that a divorce may be granted if the court finds that irreconcilable differences have caused an irrevocable disintegration of the marriage.
How long do I have to wait before my divorce is final?
Your divorce can be finalized in a few months if everything goes well but your marital status cannot be terminated any earlier than 6 months and one day after the service of your divorce documents upon your spouse.
What is “legal custody?”
“Legal custody” refers to the right to make decisions regarding your child’s welfare, including education, medical care and religious instruction.
What is “physical custody?”
“Physical custody” involves decisions regarding where your child will live and who will be responsible for his or her daily care.
How does the state of California define visitation?
Any time a court makes a determination of custody, they will also establish a visitation plan (or time share arrangement) which provide a schedule for the child or children to spend time with the other parent. This visitation schedule includes details regarding the arrival and departure locations for visits, transportation obligations and a specific schedule for holidays, birthdays and/or vacations.
How do California judges decide custody disputes?
Under California state law, judges issue custody decisions based on what is in the best interest of the child or children and rely on the input of child custody recommending counselors. Contrary to popular belief, no preference is given for a mother or a father. In other words, both parents are given equal consideration.
What is stepparent adoption?
Simply defined, stepparent adoptions are those in which the spouse of a child’s custodial parent adopts said child.
Do you have contact information for an immediate crisis involving domestic violence?
YES. You may contact the WEAVE crisis line at 916-920-2952 for intervention and support by trained peer counselors, as well as the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or PEACE for Families.
How do California courts decide how much I or my spouse will owe in child support?
Both you and your spouse must submit income information, including salary, bonuses, commissions, rental income, dividends, interest, pensions, annuities, trust income, disability insurance benefits, workers compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits and/or social security benefits. The courts will assess your respective financial situations to calculate a support amount that is in the best interest of your children.
How can I modify a child support agreement?
A child support agreement may be modified if the parent requesting the modification demonstrates a change in circumstances necessitating the alteration. Common reasons for modifying child support agreements include a change in income, loss of employment, change of custody and/or incarceration, among others.