11 Common Family Law Questions

Below are some of the most common questions we answer at our family law firm, Kathleen K. Reeves & Associates.

1. How long does a divorce take?

California law states that there is a mandatory waiting period for a divorce to be final of six months and one day after the service of the Petition on the respondent. Your case may be finalized prior to that date; however, your marital termination date will not be before six months and one day.

2. What is the best approach for high-asset divorce?

While spouses facing high-asset divorces might want to take the case straight to court, it is better to work with an experienced attorney to determine the best possible strategy. With division of pensions, the valuation of business interests and professional practices and other complex assets in these divorces, it is often better to handle these issues outside of the courtroom.

Since there is so much at stake and a good chance that a judge will not want to take the time to truly understand the nuances involved, it is often better to use mediation and other nonlitigious means to resolve these issues. Just make sure you have an experienced lawyer protecting your interests throughout the process.

3. How do I know whether or not I am legally separated?

It depends. The date is based on certain criteria that our attorneys can assist you in determining. It is an integral part of your case.

4. Do I need to move out of my residence before I can file for divorce?

You need to speak with our attorneys and discuss, in depth, what rights may be affected by your actions prior to filing.

5. Am I required to continue providing health insurance to my wife/husband once the divorce paperwork has been started?

Yes. You must maintain your spouse on any medical coverage until a Judgment has been filed with the court.

6. I want to file for divorce before my spouse can. Do I have an advantage if I do so?

No. California is a no-fault state, which means that it doesn't matter who files first, who wants the divorce, or why either side wishes to have one.

7. I live in California, but was married in another state. Do I need to file for divorce in the state I was married in?

No. If you, or your spouse, have been a resident of California for at least six months, and three months in your current county, you may file for divorce here. If you have lived here less than six months, you may need to file in your prior state of residency. Our attorneys will assist you in determining the appropriate jurisdiction for filing.

8. My spouse and I are in agreement with ending our marriage. Can we work with the same attorney to complete our divorce?

Our attorney is a certified mediator. In instances such as yours, she can assist the two of you in preparing the required paperwork to be submitted to the court, and provide mediation on any contested issues.

9. I have been told that if you are married over 10 years, I can receive life-time spousal support. Is that true?

No, not necessarily. There are many variables with regard to spousal support and the amount and length of receipt.

10. I have been told that the court always sides with the mothers when it comes to child custody. Is that true?

No, it is not true. The court utilizes Family Court Services mediation to assist parents in preparing a co-parenting schedule that is in the best interest of the children. Each child has a right to a relationship with both of his or her parents. At the Law Offices of Kathleen K. Reeves, we will meet with our clients to prepare them for the mediation process and assist them in determining a parenting schedule that will benefit their children.

11. What is the age limit that a child can decide which parent he/she wants to live with?

As long as the child is under the age of 18 years, he or she is still a minor, and as such, cannot choose between one parent and the other. Even divorced and separated couples should support healthy contact with the other parent for the child's emotional and developmental well-being. Of course there may be situations where contact is not in the best interest of the child. Our attorneys can assist in determining if this is an issue.

Is Your Question Missing?

Read our other FAQ pages:

Then, contact us for a consultation to discuss your family law questions. At Kathleen K. Reeves & Associates, we have more than 30 years of experience serving clients in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Call us at 510-957-9658.