California Divorce & Family Law FAQs
Get Answers from Our Orange County Divorce Lawyers
If you are considering divorce or are already in the midst of divorce proceedings, you may have a number of questions about what to expect, how to address specific challenges, and how long it might take until everything is finalized. Many of these answers will vary depending on your unique situation, but we have included some answers to key questions about divorce, from divorce attorneys who have more than 175 years of collective family law experience to draw upon.
In addition to reviewing the following questions and answers, do not hesitate to call our offices at (714) 909-2561 to talk to a professional about your unique case. We offer a free initial consultation.
How do I pay for my divorce if I’m a stay-at-home parent or have limited income?
We represent many parties who focus their efforts during their marriage on taking care of their home and children. In other cases, our clients make substantially less than their marital partner because of efforts to support their spouse’s education and career. Our attorneys routinely seek an advance of legal fees from the other party when representing the lower wage earner. California law empowers a judge to order the higher earning spouse to make advances toward an economically disadvantaged spouse’s attorney fees. The court also can order that some or all the lower earning spouse’s attorney fees be paid by the other party. When we are retained to represent a spouse in this situation, we routinely file for a Request for Order (RFO) hearing where we can pursue “pendente lite” (interim) orders regarding relevant issues like attorney fee advances, spousal support, child custody/visitation, temporary possession of the family residence, and child support.
Can I move out of the family home if things have become tense and uncomfortable?
While it might be necessary to move out to protect yourself from domestic violence or false allegations of abuse, there are risks associated with taking this step. If you do not obtain temporary custody or visitation orders from the court or a written agreement with the other parent, your access to your children might become subject to the whim of an uncooperative spouse. Further, your lack of contact after moving out might be creatively interpreted by the other spouse as “disinterest.” The best option is to speak with an experienced Orange County divorce lawyer about your specific situation, available options, and the potential consequences of vacating the family home.
Can I pull my kids out of school if I decide to move out of the family home?
Parents should never pull their children out of school or the family home without a written agreement with the other party or a judge’s order. Courts value stability and try to mitigate the impact of the enormous changes that affect children during the divorce process. If you unilaterally remove your children from the family home or their school without the other parent’s consent or permission from the judge, you will likely be ordered to return the children if the other parent challenges your decision. Further, courts view this type of action very negatively, so it could damage your position when seeking parenting time.
How long will it take for my divorce to be final?
Every divorce is different, but California law imposes a six-month waiting period from the time of filing for a divorce to be final. The actual duration of your divorce process will depend on the issues involved and the extent to which you and your spouse can reach agreements on these issues. A divorce where you and your spouse have no significant property issues, no children, and no alimony issues can be over in six months through an uncontested divorce. If your divorce involves complex issues or a high degree of conflict, such as a contentious high-net-worth divorce or a high conflict custody dispute, the divorce could take a year or significantly longer.
Should I wait to file for divorce until I determine if I can reach an agreement with my spouse?
The best practice is to file for divorce even if you are discussing a global settlement of all issues. If the petition for divorce is filed and served on your spouse, automatic temporary restraining orders (ATROS) take effect. These orders provide protection if your spouse attempts to start liquidating bank accounts or selling off property to insiders in sham transactions. ATROS also prohibit the other party from taking your child and moving to another state without your consent or a court order granting permission.
More Questions? Call for a Free Consultation!
If your question wasn’t answered or you are seeking additional guidance, Moshtael Family Law offers a complimentary 30-minute consultation to talk about your situation, needs, and concerns. We can help you get a better understanding of what you’re up against so you can make informed choices about your case. Call (714) 909-2561 or contact us online to get started.
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