Family Law Faq


Please keep in mind that this is general information only. We pride ourselves on giving you the personalized attention your case deserves. For a detailed answer to your specific question, please contact us for an appointment.

How much will my divorce cost?

As of 2013, filing fees are $435. However, all other costs can vary widely. There may be miscellaneous fees such as printing, courier, service of papers, court reporter costs, etc. We charge (as do most attorneys) an hourly rate, but a flat fee may be worked out for a very simple, uncontested divorce.

Do you offer a free consultation?

We do not. Each and every meeting with a client—new or existing—is an investment of our time, attention, and resources. This way, you get the full benefit of our expertise right from the start.

Do I really need a lawyer for my divorce?

Technically, no. Some folks do handle very simple divorces on their own. However, the breakup of most marriages involves complicated financial and legal issues. Just as you would see a doctor for a serious medical problem, let a legal professional guide you through your divorce.

How quickly can I get a divorce?

The shortest amount of time the process can take in California is six months from the date the petition was filed.

How long do I need to live in California to get a divorce here?

One spouse must have lived in the state for six months and in the county (where the petition was filed) for three months.

How is spousal support (or alimony) calculated?

Spouses may receive two different kinds of financial support: temporary vs. permanent. The court may order temporary spousal support, which is based on an official formula and both spouses’ incomes. Permanent support is usually given near the end of a divorce and is determined based on a wide array of factors.

How long does spousal support last?

Temporary support usually lasts from the initial filing for divorce to the final resolution of the case. Permanent support is usually dependent upon the length of the marriage.

How is child support calculated?

Just like spousal support, whether you receive child support and the specific amount depends on your situation. However, it’s calculated based on a formula that takes into account both spouses’ income and the time each parent spends taking care of the children.

How long does child support last?

Parents can expect to pay support until their child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. If the child is still in high school past 18, then the support can continue up to age 19. Support can also last longer if the parent agrees to it.

What is an annulment?

Aside from a divorce, an annulment is the only other way to end a marriage. An annulment basically erases the marriage, declaring that it was never legally valid. Either spouse can file for one. Requirements vary by state, but some of the common grounds for annulment are bigamy, forced consent, fraud, mental illness, etc.

I can’t afford to pay for a divorce – but my spouse can. What can I do?

In cases where one spouse has a lot of money while the other has very little, the judge sometimes orders the so-called richer spouse to pay all or part of the other’s attorney fees.

What is community property?

Community property is essentially any thing of financial value that you acquired (or earned) during the marriage. Some common examples include your house, cars, furniture, stocks, etc.

What is separate property?

Separate property belongs completely to one spouse. They’re usually things you purchased or owned before the marriage, but not always. For instance, if you bought a ski cabin in your single days, that would be separate property. However, if you received an inheritance during your marriage, that could also fall under the same category.

Who gets to live in the house?

Both spouses have a legal right to stay in the home. Unless you’ve worked out an agreement on sharing the house or deciding who will move out, you cannot force your spouse to move. However, if you have minor children living in the home and can show that it would be in their best interests if the other parent left, the court can grant a temporary order. If you don’t have kids, but your spouse has made serious threats, you can also appeal to the court.

Contact Irina S. Puhachevsky, Family Law Attorney

For specific answers to all your family law questions, please call us today at 415-300-0411.

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