Divorce FAQ’s

What should I do if I have been served divorce papers?

If your spouse has filed for divorce, you cannot ignore the situation. If you fail to respond to the papers, they will eventually be able to divorce you under a default process, which will not be to your advantage. The best thing to do is contact a divorce attorney to help you respond to the papers.

Do I need an attorney for a non-contested divorce?

It is possible to file for divorce without the assistance of an attorney, provided that you get along with your ex and you are able to cooperate in drafting a mutually acceptable divorce agreement. However, for the best understanding of your rights, it is best to consult a divorce attorney before you make any decisions. This may help you avoid making concessions you regret later on.

What is summary dissolution?

Summary dissolution is a simplified divorce process that is available to couples who have been married less than 5 years, have no children, and have limited debts and assets. Spousal support is not available in summary dissolution cases.

How are assets divided in divorce?

If you are drafting your own divorce agreement, you can divide assets and property however you and your ex want. However, if your divorce is contested, all your community property will be divided 50-50. It can be tricky to untangle all your finances and properly identify community property so you will definitely want a divorce attorney to assist you.

What is community property?

Community property includes any money, property, or other items of value earned or obtained during the marriage (and before the separation). The main exceptions to community property are gifts and inheritances belonging to one spouse.

How are debts divided?

Debt acquired during the marriage is treated just like community property—it will be divided equally between the spouses. This is true even if the debt is only in one spouse’s name.

Can I challenge a pre-marital or post-nuptial agreement?

Yes, especially if the agreement was not properly drafted or contains provisions that are unconscionable or extremely one-sided.

Will adultery affect my divorce agreements?

California is a no-fault divorce state, meaning there is no need to prove wrongdoing on either spouse’s part in order for divorce to be granted. If one partner has been unfaithful, this will not affect their right to their share of community property and to spousal support if appropriate. However, if the unfaithful partner spent a significant amount of funds on his/her affair, this could be deducted from their share of community property.

How is spousal support calculated and how long will it be paid?

Spousal support is designed to help the supported spouse maintain a standard of living similar to what they enjoyed during the marriage. The court will look at a variety of factors when calculating spousal support, including the earning capacity of both spouses, their assets and obligations, the extent to which the supported spouse sacrificed their career to support the other spouse during the marriage, and more. In marriages lasting 10 years or less, spousal support is typically ordered for half the length of the marriage. Longer marriages may justify lifetime spousal support. In any case, spousal support can be terminated if either spouse dies, if the supported spouse remarries, or if the supported spouse gets a job and becomes self-supporting.

How is child support calculated and how long will it be paid?

Child support is based on the results of the California Guideline Calculation Formula. This formula takes into account the child’s needs for housing, clothing, education, medical care, etc. as well as the parent’s ability to pay. Child support will be paid until the child turns 18 or is emancipated. However, as the family’s financial circumstances change, child support can be modified.