Family Law Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Do all divorces end up in court?

Fortunately, no. It is certainly possible to decide the terms of divorce in mediation if both parties are willing to participate.

What is a legal marital separation?

Separation is different than divorce in that the parties remain legally married, but are recognized as not living together. Contact our office today for more information.

Do all couples separate before divorcing?

No. Many couples decide to end their marriages once and for all and move quickly through divorce proceedings.

Do I still need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce?

While there is no legal requirement for you to have a lawyer, you should ALWAYS work with a lawyer for any legal issue, no matter how amicable it may seem.


How is custody of children decided?

In California, courts are required to, among other things, determine custody arrangements based on what they perceive to be in the best interests of the child or children in question.

What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

Simply put: a spouse who has physical custody of their children lives with them and is responsible for their day-to-day well-being. Legal custody means that you have the right to make decisions regarding their care, such as determining which schools they attend and matters relating to healthcare, among others.

How can I get sole custody of my children?

If you can demonstrate that your partner is not a fit parent or is not able to provide care for your children, it may be possible to pursue sole custody. However, it is important to know that courts prefer shared custody when possible.

Is custody different for mothers and fathers?

No. Mothers and fathers are treated the same in California’s laws when it comes to custody. However, this does not guarantee that judges will never show any sort of gender bias.

Can children choose who they want to have custody?

Children can inform judges of their preferences for custody, and the judge will take it into consideration. However, courts will ultimately base custody decisions on the best interests of the child, not on the child’s wishes.

Do courts ever split up siblings?

Split custody for siblings is very rare and requires extenuating circumstances. This is because courts make custody decisions based on the best interests of the children and are overwhelmingly likely to view keeping siblings together as being in the best interests of all children.


How long does alimony last?

The duration of alimony depends on many things, including each partner’s income, custody arrangements, the duration of the marriage, and each partner’s ability to seek employment.

Does the amount of time I've been married affect spousal support?

Yes! The duration of a marriage is a major factor in the duration of spousal support agreements. In fact, in marriages over 10 years long, it is possible for alimony to last indefinitely in California.

Will I have to pay my spouse alimony?

It’s impossible to answer that question without knowing your specific circumstances, but it is important to realize not all divorces result in spousal support requirements. Contact our office to learn more.

Can I still receive child support if we share custody of our children?

If you make less money than your spouse and need financial support to care for your children, especially if you provide a larger portion of the care, you will likely still be entitled to child support even in a shared custody agreement.

Property Division

Will I have to continue working with my former spouse?

Not if you don’t want to! If you and your former spouse owned a business together, there is no law that requires you both to continue employment with one another. Whatever your situation, we can help you make a case for the outcome you want.

Will all of our assets be divided equally?

Not necessarily. Only the assets determined to be “community property” are subject to distribution, and there are many mitigating factors that play into these agreements.

Is my spouse entitled to assets I owned prior to our marriage?

Most likely, no. If you inherited land from a relative and were in possession of it before you were married, it likely won’t be considered community property. Contact our office to learn more.

Domestic Violence

What can I do if my spouse falsely accused me of domestic violence?

If your spouse accused you of domestic violence in an attempt to subvert the legal divorce and custody process, we will fight on your behalf. We can help you file the appropriate paperwork and begin the process of reinstating your rights.