Family Law FAQs

Family Law FAQs

General Overview and Timeline in a Dissolution


General Overview and Timeline in a DissolutionDissolution of marriage, or divorce proceeding is initiated by the filing of a Petition by one party. The Petition for Dissolution of marriage is then served to the responding party. The party originally filing the Petition is known as the “Petitioner” and the other party is known as the “Respondent”. Following receipt of the Petition, the Respondent has 30 days (unless Petitioner´s attorney grants additional time) in which to file his or her responding statement to the facts. After that time, the case may be set for a Court hearing.

Community property

Community property is a marital property regime that originated in civil lawjurisdictions, and is now also found in some common law jurisdictions.

Community propertyIn a community property jurisdiction, most property acquired during the marriage (except for gifts or inheritances) is owned jointly by both spouses and is divided upon divorce, annulment or death. Joint ownership is automatically presumed by law in the absence of specific evidence that would point to a contrary conclusion for a particular piece of property. The community property system is usually justified by the idea that such joint ownership recognizes the theoretically equal contributions of both spouses to the creation and operation of the family unit.

Spousal Support

Spousal SupportWhat is Spousal Support? Is it the same as Alimony?

Spousal support is the term for alimony in California. Spousal support is money that one spouse pays to help support the other after the filing of a dissolution. The spouse receiving such support will pay federal and state income taxes on it and the one making such payments will be entitled to a tax deduction. To determine the amount of spousal support, the judge will consider such factors as the standard of living during the marriage, the length of the marriage, and the age, health, earning capacity and job histories of both individuals. Not everyone is entitled to spousal support.

Custody and Visitation

Custody and VisitationThe judge may give custody to one or both parents, or, in some cases, to another adult based on the best interests of the child. Considerations include the child’s health, safety and welfare, as well as any history of abuse by one parent. If custody is awarded to a non-parent, however, the judge would have to believe that giving custody to either parent would be detrimental or harmful to the children.

In addition, stepparents and grandparents may be given visitation in certain circumstances.

Child Support

Child SupportChild support is the amount of money the court orders one parent to pay the other parent every month for the support of the child or children. California has a formula (called a “guideline”) for figuring out how much child support should be paid in all cases.

Child support payments are usually made until children turn 18 or 19 if they are still in high school full time, living at home, and can’t support themselves. Parents may agree to support a child longer. The court may also order that both parents continue to support a disabled adult child that is not self-supporting.

Family Law FAQ´s


California is a community property state. Under our system of law, a marriage is viewed generally as a partnership where both husband and wife have equally ownership of all assets acquired during the marriage. Typical assets include a home, furniture, automobile, boat, stocks and bonds, retirement benefits, bank accounts, and the like. Likewise, obligations incurred during the marriage are community debts and husband and wife are equally responsible for their repayment. Separate property is that which is owned entirely by one spouse. The other spouse has no ownership interest in it whatsoever. Separate property is property acquired before marriage which is still in the possession of either husband or wife during the marriage and has not been commingled.